‘We want to transform Nigeria's creative industry'

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Staff member
By Onyinye Muomah

What is Del-York International all about?

In a nutshell, Del-York International is a media and broadcast consultancy with a vision to transform the look and feel of the creative industry in Nigeria. Being in this industry as an international media consultant, I saw that there were talents that could be honed and that I could provide an opportunity for people who have skills within this area to be trained. We are starting out with capacity building within the creative industry and also to address some of the key challenges the industry faces.

Do you have a background in film or the film industry?

No. I am an international media consultant who has produced commercials for a number of companies and people who want to maximise their visibility. I have worked as a public relations professional for about nine years prior to doing this.

Tell us about your partnership with the New York Film Academy?

The dream was to get a school that was not just going to teach us the theories of filmmaking but one that is reputed to be a hands-on film training school. We did not want a school that would come and give us just details about how movies are done without offering us firsthand training on the equipment that you need to make these movies.

After all our research, the New York Film Academy was that school and that was our rationale for approaching them; to come in here and partner with us to build a new generation of filmmakers. So far, the partnership has been beautiful.

How did you manage to convince them that you could be trusted, especially with the international perception of Nigeria and Nigerians?

It was very difficult especially as it was during the time when we had the [late President] Yar-Adua's illness and then death. People in the country and outside were in limbo and there was advice from embassies to avoid coming to Nigeria. We had to first convince them Nigeria was safe. However, if you are driven by passion, people look through you and see beyond what you are selling. They see that this person is not motivated by reward but has a very clear picture of what they want to do.

It was not a hard sell because of how convinced they were by our proposal. We were also not particular about partnering with them just because they are Americans. There are things they also can learn from us like how we are able to produce movies in such a short time. As we learn from them the technical skills needed to produce movies, they learn from us how we are able to use little or no budget to produce the kind of movies that we produce.

What is the structure of the partnership?

The NYFA is a school like any other school in the world. You need their training facilities, you want their entire faculty, you pay for it.

Tell us how you got Stephanie Okereke involved in this project.

Stephanie Okereke was an alumnus of the school [NYFA]. We were looking for people who had experience in the industry. Also, people who can tell Nigerians the kind of teaching experience they got while they were in the school and how the model worked for them. There was no other better partner [than Stephanie]. She is a formidable voice. She understands how the industry works. So it made perfect sense.

What were the criteria for getting admitted into the programme?

Passion for the arts! You have to be passionate about the filmmaking process. You want to create change.

And how was this determined?

We had a selection committee. Students were given forms to fill and we asked all the questions in the world. We had pictures of what they had done before and on the basis of that we made our selection.

How do check up on the progress of your alumni?

We have a database where they are all registered. And when we have jobs to do we call them. We know one month is not enough but that is all we can afford for starters as a company. We plan to set up a film academy that will enable us run long-term programmes, six months to one year.

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