10 Minutes With Uche Cynthia Onwuka
By Jemi Ekunkunbor
Recently, film producer and director, Jade Osiberu, invited members of the press to the preview of her newly released film, Isoken. Amongst the many guests that attended the event at the Silver bird Galleria in Lagos was the group head of the creative desk of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Mrs Uche Cynthia Onwuka. The Bank of Industry as we know in recent times, have been very much involved in supporting the activities of the creative sector.
Allure caught up with her after the event and she spoke on the banks involvement and how artists can access funds.
How do people get support from bank of industry?
For those in the creative industry, you must first of all have a need. And if you have a need, you should be able to present to us what you need the fund for. If you are in the film industry, we want to see your script; we want to be sure that we are comfortable with the story line. We have a team of advisory members that review the script along with the officials of the bank, and in this team, we have a mix of industry practitioners in all aspects of film production, casting and distribution. They review the script with us and we advise the producers rightly.
Do you give full support from start of production to the end?
Yes, of course. We also request for a budget for the film. Based on the budget, we fund you. So, the funding is based on the budget presented by the producers.
So what was your particular interest in Isoken?
The story line, the message, and the interest, especially the zeal from the producer Jade.
Certain fundamental issues on marriage and culture were raised in the film. As a person, how would you address those issues?
In a few words, I would say ladies or women or girl child, should not succumb to pressure to get married but should understand that everything comes from God and at his own time, it will come to be. However, the girl child should not be distracted also by peer groups because distraction can make them derail from the right path.
Would you say you are satisfied with the quality of movies being churned out by the movie Industry in Nigeria?
Yes, we are getting g there. We’ve started. I know we would get there. The quality has changed and it will continue to change.
Do you also give direction to these producers?
What we have done in the Bank of Industry, apart from providing funds for producers, we also funded four major studios to support production. We have two funding windows; one with collateral and one without collateral. The one without collateral is Nollyfund and for that we have four special studios that we funded to buy state of the art equipment to be able to upgrade the quality of films produced.
In what specific way is bank of industry supporting the fashion industry as one of the arms of the creative industry especially those who cannot write proper proposal?
The bank has already put in place a team of consultants that will assist such customers or prospects when they come to the Bank of industry.
Are they accessing the fund?
Yes, they are. We have so many people that have been coming from all our state offices as well as head office. We have a special desk at the head office known as the gender desk where such customers can be attended to. We are actually out there, doing a lot of marketing drive to win more customers for the fashion industry.
From your experience, what is the main challenge that women face?
I think it is more of fear; inability to take the next step. Naturally, women are afraid of borrowing.
What message would you like to leave with the women?
I’d just say that women should just decide on what they want to do, go out there and learn more, even partner with the men to see how they are doing it because I believe women can manage better if you ask me. So we should be bold to take the next step to the next level.