Actor, executive producer, and talent manager Demi Banwo shared his thoughts on the significance of documenting Nigeria’s rich film history in a captivating interview during the Losing Daylight exhibition on October 1, 2023. The exhibition, dedicated to showcasing the evolution of Nigeria’s film industry, has garnered attention for its meticulous curation of artefacts and information.
Banwo commended the initiative, stating, “I think it’s a great idea that we are documenting a huge part of Nigeria’s history and culture, which is our film industry.” He emphasised the importance of preserving this history for future generations and guiding aspiring filmmakers. “You can’t know where you are going unless you know where you are coming from,” Banwo asserted.
Among the exhibition’s highlights, Banwo was particularly drawn to the banner roll featuring posters of notable Nollywood titles. Reflecting on his own career, he mused about the films he had been a part of and expressed admiration for the kinetoscope experience. The display of scripts from acclaimed movies such as ‘Eyimofe’ and ‘King Of Boys’ also captured his attention.
Recalling his early encounters with cinema, Banwo shared a personal revelation: “Going to the cinema at four years old made me decide to work in film.” He marvelled at the progress of Nigerian cinema since then, citing films like ‘When Love Happens’ and another horror film by James Omokwe as milestones in the industry’s development.
Addressing the current state of the Nigerian film industry, Banwo acknowledged the need for structural improvements. Comparing Nollywood to other successful film industries, he stressed the importance of having the necessary frameworks to attract and maximise investments. Banwo highlighted talent management as a crucial element in this equation, emphasising the need for structured negotiations between actors and productions.
“The progression of our films in the technical aspects is mirrored in the progression of the structure of Nollywood,” Banwo asserted, expressing optimism about the industry’s potential for growth and development. He underscored the importance of being prepared for potential investments to ensure they are utilised effectively.
Closing the interview, Banwo shared a nostalgic moment from the exhibition, where a recreation of the Nollywood film club evoked childhood memories. He listed some of his favourite films from that era, including ‘Thunderbolt (Magun),’ ‘The Return of Jenifa,’ ‘Omo Getto,’ ‘Oluomo,’ ‘Apaadi,’ and ‘Aki Na Ukwa.’
The Losing Daylight exhibition continues to be a beacon of reflection on Nigeria’s film history, with Demi Banwo’s insights shedding light on the industry’s past, present, and promising future.