Historically, since the mid-1970s the emerging infant film industry had its growth truncated with the emergence of the military in government in most African countries. The resultant crushing effects on social and night lives killed the cinema industry; and it is yet to recover. For the pioneer filmmakers, particularly in Nigeria, the popular option was to switch to television production; and later to Home-Video genre. As for the die-hard celluloid fanatics, the future became uncertain; and since there has been no source of finance for commercial film making, one can only make celluloid film with personal savings. Rather than go under, LADEBO FILMS LIMITED chose to remain; but with a slant to local and non-commercial social development films. Hitherto, all such films were language dubbed samples from other developing areas, especially, the Latin America, utilized by the international agencies engaged in assisting Africa in social development. We, however, retain the western film technology; adopting guerrilla film making style, but faithful to local culture, to produce functional films, with contents dictated largely by the target audience for our productions. It is gratifying to note that our African perspective stylized social development docu-soaps have won international recognition for educational excellence among international researchers and donor agencies engaged in assisting in African social development, and at international film/video festivals.
LADEBO FILMS LIMITED is an independent international film production company, which has been engaged in making advocacy-type docu-soaps since 1984. Motivated by our desire to provide the much-needed African perspective especially in social development topics, our productions have become authoritative media resource visual materials for National Orientation agencies, Museums of Ethnology, Departments of Black & African studies, and of Social-Anthropology in educational institutions worldwide, International agencies, and Non-Governmental-Organizations. Indeed, some of our productions for the United Nations Agencies are available for qualified users through the Media Bank of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
The way the African sees his world and his arts/culture is different from the way the African is seen through Western eyes. The way each group lives and sees life is the sum total of culture. It is incumbent on the African film maker, and indeed other artistes, to present us the way we see ourselves; the way we really are; to the rest of the world. To try to smoothen the edges of his culture in order to fit into some global style would be to dig the grave of our cultural existence as distinct cultural beings. Does Hollywood not tell the story of America? Why do Indian film makers tell their stories in the choreographed spontaneity of songs and dances? The most competent one to talk about distinct us should be us. It is the face that compels identity because of its uniqueness. Each culture is unique. This is reflected in our themes, and dictates our present approach to making social development films with the very little cash and almost non-existent film making resources to work with.