The Lagos State government will be doing the groundbreaking of the proposed $100 million African Film City before the end of this month.

The project, which will be sited in Epe, is intended to enhance originality in content creation in Nollywood – Nigeria’s film industry.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, made the announcement on Thursday, at the 12th African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) press briefing held at the Lagos House in Marina.

It will be recalled that the state government in October last year, announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Del-York Group for the construction of the project.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the state government would be doubling the capacity-building support for talented young industry players to enhance their skills in modern filmmaking.

He said: “We will be doing the groundbreaking for the African Film City before the end of this month. It is a $100 million project to be sited on 100 hectares of land in Epe. Lagos is taking the lead in promoting sustainable growth in the creative industry. The first set of studios will be up on the site in the next 24 months after the groundbreaking.

“We are also going to be doubling the State Government’s support for the training of young industry players. We will also double the grants being given to creative young talents for the production of short stories. We have supported over 5,000 people in the creative sector with different kinds of capacity-building opportunities and film production grants to scale up the numbers in the sector.

“I am excited that the 12th AFRIFF is around the corner to further showcase the original local content to the world. The festival has offered a platform for young talents to flourish. I believe this year’s event will be the biggest. We are excited as a Government to be part of it. We believe this is the right thing to do. It is only when we can hold ourselves together and tell our stories that the world will understand our history.

”The governor urged the practitioners to use their ingenuity to create Africanised content that would change the continent’s socio-cultural narrative, adding that through this, the world would know Nigeria is ready.

He said: “We should take the world in an ingenious local way that will be original, content-driven and Africanised. I believe the 12th edition of AFRIFF will be a platform to leapfrog all shortcomings we have had. What you did not do yesterday, you have today to correct it because tomorrow is not promised.

“Lagos State Government, by itself, bears all the hallmarks of excellence in all aspects. Excellence starts from everything we can imagine; the creative community sits right in the middle of that. As a Government, we have committed to anything puts Nigeria on the global map and supports our creative citizens on the world stage.

”Also speaking, the Consul General of United States Consulate in Lagos, Will Stevens, said digital technology had transformed Nigerian film industry over the last decade, stressing that it was time for practitioners to fully benefit from Nollywood.

The envoy hinted that with the quality of content and advanced production capabilities of African films, the second half of the 21st century would be “African moment” to fully expand the growth of its cinema industry.

On her part, AFRIFF founder, Chioma Ude, said the film festival would be held next month to celebrate African cinema and promoting original storytelling.