The President/Founder of D- Peterson Foundation, Dr. Donald Peterson spoke exclusively to a team of reporters from Ewere Okonta Blogs (EOB) at his Orikeze Avenue residence on his interest in movie industry (Nollywood), his vision, and why he is investing on it. He also spoke on how technology can be used to curb piracy in the sector.
EOB: Sir, why the sudden interest in Nollywood?
Dr. Donald Peterson: My interest in the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) is not sudden.
I started taking special interest on Nollywood in 2015 when it’s valuation was reported to be about Six Hundred and Ninety-Five Million US Dollars ($695m) in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
But in 2018, it was valued at Two Billion, One Million US Dollars ($2.1b).
I observed that it’s growth was exponential.
More so, it could help to address twin challenges of unemployment and underemployment in Nigeria, and help in building human capacity in Ika Land.
EOB: How personally involved are you?
Dr. Donald Peterson: I act as the coordinator and motivator of the youths from Ika land by bringing them into camp where they are taught the rudiments of Acting and Productions of Movies.
EOB: Where is the Camp located?
Dr. Donald Peterson: The Camp is located in Ime-Obi, Agbor, Delta State.
EOB: What is the criteria for the youths to be admitted into the Camp?
Dr. Donald Peterson: Just three criteria:
You must be an Ika indigene. You must have interest in Acting/Movie productions. Lastly, you must be law abiding.
EOB: How much should a youth pay before he/she will be admitted into the Camp?
Dr. Donald Peterson: They pay absolutely nothing. The Foundation takes care of them throughout their stay in the Camp.
EOB: How long are they staying in the Camp?
Dr. Donald Peterson: For now, 10 days.
EOB: What is the benefit of Ika Youths that are involved in this project?
Dr. Donald Peterson: The benefits are quite enormous: One, they acquire the skills of Acting/Movie productions. Two, self-reliant/ employment opportunities/income generation. Three, Exposure. Making their faces known in the industry. You never can tell, some could turn out to become global ambassadors like Omotola, Mercy Johnson, Genevieve Nanji, Yul Edochie, Jim Iyke, I go die, Francis Duru, Aki & Pawpaw, Nkem Owoh and the rest of them.Four, making them acceptable in the Industry. Five, to enhance their value.
These are the kinds of currencies required for beginners in that industry.
EOB: Any on-going production for now?
Dr. Donald Peterson: Yes.
Some video skits, short stories, series/opera has already been released on the social media channels. Some productions are still going on at the moment.
EOB: What do you mean by video skits?
Dr. Donald Peterson: Video skits are extremely short videos or performance to bring about laughter and create awareness on social issues.
EOB: How prepared are you? In other words, do you have what it takes to be in this Industry?
Dr. Donald Peterson: Yes.
We are prepared and ready. We have the manpower. We have seasoned and experienced directors, producers and editors. We have seasoned behinds the scene/ studio hands. We have the graphics technologist. Above all, we have the interest and the zeal to take it to the next level.
EOB: What is your projection for the Nollywood Industry in the next few years?
Dr. Donald Peterson: It is on record where I was quoted by saying that, “Earnings from the Nollywood Industry could surpassed that from the Oil sector in a few years from now”. I stood by that statement. That is why:
We are preparing our youths for the post oil economy. Getting them ready to be self-reliant and giving them the necessary skills needed for tomorrow’s world. Moreso, we are looking at before the end of next year to build a Movie Academy in Ika land were our youths will be trained in movie productions, acting, editing, voice over, marketing, graphics technology etc. All of these at no cost to them.
EOB: What plans do you have in exposing these youths to seasoned Actors/Actress?
Dr. Donald Peterson: By the time our Movie Academy is ready, we have plans to bring in A-listed Actors/Actress to feature with our Rookie Actors/Actress to serve as a morale booster to our youths that are members of the Academy.
EOB: Any major ongoing movie production for now?
Dr. Donald Peterson: Yes.
EOB: How do you intend to address the issue of piracy in the Nollywood Industry?
Dr. Donald Peterson: The issue of piracy will be curb with technology and the soon to launch 5G technology, most videos and channels will become OVER THE TOP (OTT).This is where streaming services and pay per view on downloads will finally addressed the challenges of piracy in the movie industry.
EOB: What is your motives for doing all these? Or are your motives political?
Dr. Donald Peterson:
Let me ask you Mr. Ewere Okonta: In the past, have aspiring politician done these kind of thing or things similar to this?
For this long?
And in this magnitude?
Now back to your question: I AM NOT DOING IT FOR POLITICS.
The purity of my motives is always my strength.
We do what we do not for praises or to score political points, but for true service to humanity, developing our youths and in securing our future.