By Nehru Odeh
Popular Nollywood actress, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, is a woman with a mission. An internationally-acclaimed actress, she has won many local and global awards in a career spanning 25 years. In 2013, she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential persons in the globe, alongside Beyonce, Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton.
However, Omosexy, as she is fondly called, has moved niches higher, as she is transforming the entertainment industry in Africa. She is set to host his year’s edition of The Entertainment Fair and Festival, TEFFEST, an annual fiesta she set up in 2019 to turn the entertainment industry in Africa around.
The second edition of this innovative annual summit, the first of its kind in Africa, comes up between 20 and 23 November 2020, though virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic. And it is geared towards not only making entertainment business-oriented, but also making it a veritable platform under which creative and those involved with the entertainment industry will create remunerable niches for themselves. The theme for this year’s edition is: What Next.
Indeed, what’s next for the entertainment industry? Infinite possibilities. For one, it is expected to create a solid foundation for the business of entertainment in Africa and focus on investment procurement and empowering talented Africans in the entertainment and creative industries. Simply put, it is geared towards finding ways through which creative can create platforms and make income for themselves.
“My goal with TEFFEST is to help sanitize the industry by helping those in the profession, to understand the business better, and ensure that we have structure and infrastructure that helps us to be at par with our international counterparts. And to do so, we need to start to work together and collectively understand what exactly needs to be done. And for that to happen, there needs to be a platform,” Omotola once said in an interview.
Omotola bemoans the lack of structures and conducive business environment in the entertainment industry, an anomaly TEFFEST is set to correct. “When most of us were just starting out, there was not much knowledge about where we were really going. We were just working because we loved to act, and we were earning a living from it. Today, Nollywood is a full-blown industry, which supports a lot of families, and the art has changed,” she maintained.
However, TEFFEST 2020 will focus on women as “it will explore the business of entertainment from women’s perspective and the role they have and can play in changing the narrative through creating and sustaining businesses. It will explore the ways women are perceived using the medium of entertainment.
“In commemoration with the 2030 agenda for the sustainable development goals #sdg2030, TEFFEST 2020 will use the medium of entertainment to make sure no woman is left behind by leveraging on the potency of entertainment for women’s development. Where growing innovative businesses in entertainment can present their growth plan to a panel of judges (investors) to access money for their business expansion plan and the investors can be part of the business.”
The three-day event will include panel discussions, master classes and exhibitions, the TEFFEST pitch competition, showcase training and an exquisite gala and awards night. And its strategy is based on three key principles: Dialogue, Training, and Trade – DTT.
It will also be an opportunity for creatives to network, have access to finance, the core market and a large audience. It will also enable them acquire knowledge and develop their businesses and capacities.