Accelerate Filmmaker Project 2024 Press Conference with Colette Otusesho | Nollywire

The Accelerate Filmmaker Project 2024: Nurturing the Future of Nigerian Filmmaking

With its expanded programme and unwavering commitment, The Accelerate Filmmaker Project is poised to make even greater strides in 2024.

The Accelerate Filmmaker Project 2024, a powerful initiative, is transforming the dreams of young filmmakers into reality. Born out of a passion to support and nurture the incredible talent among Nigeria’s youth, it offers a platform for emerging filmmakers to sharpen their skills and receive essential training to succeed in the film and television industry.

Building on the success of previous editions, which have set novices on the path to becoming professionals, the Accelerate Filmmaker Project is set to embark on another transformative journey in 2024. This award-winning training and mentoring programme aims to teach budding filmmakers all aspects of television and film production.

At a recent press conference, Accelerate TV CEO Colette Otusesho, along with other prominent figures such as Esse Akwawa, Head of Accelerate Studios; Amaechi Okobi, Chief Brand and Communications Officer for Access Corporation; Jide ‘JBlaze’ Oyegbile, AFMP Alumnus and Filmmaker; Seyi Babatope, Filmmaker and AFMP Facilitator; Chioma Ude, AFRIFF Founder; and Theo Ukpaa, COO of AFRIFF, gathered to discuss the project.

Esse Akwawa opened the event, highlighting the role of Accelerate Studios as a hub for premium entertainment and a driving force in empowering young creatives. “Over the years, Accelerate Studios has carved out a niche as the hub for premium entertainment,” Esse Akwawa began.

“With millions of views across our platforms, we have continually set the pace as the go-to platform for catering to the entertainment needs of our vibrant young population. We have made a significant impact by providing cutting-edge entertainment, training, and empowerment for young creatives, helping to keep the creative system alive.”

Colette Otusesho spoke passionately about the project’s beginnings in 2017, emphasising its focus on mentorship. “The Accelerate Filmmaker Project was born in 2017, and it’s at the forefront of our efforts to empower, educate, and entertain through innovative initiatives. Our widely acclaimed success with past editions shows the impact of everything we’ve done to discover and groom young talent within Nigeria. One of the key elements of our project is our mentorship programme. As you train with us, you receive guidance from a mentor who supports you through your first short film and beyond,” she explained.

Amaechi Okobi, Chief Brand and Communications Officer for Access Corporation, added, saying, “At Access, we have a passion for Africa and a desire to change the narrative. We are committed to supporting anyone who can help us achieve this goal. The people in this room are just a snapshot of those who, through their storytelling, will help change the narrative.”

Jide ‘JBlaze’ Oyegbile, an AFMP alumnus and filmmaker, shared his personal experience, crediting the Accelerate Filmmaker Project with providing the direction and support he needed to advance his career.

“I came into the industry as a young, budding filmmaker without direction. I was just someone who wanted to make films. Registering for Accelerate gave me the guidance I needed. I got to speak to people like Kemi and Seyi Babatunde, and they provided the direction I needed to further my dreams. Without Accelerate, I probably would have been another clueless filmmaker in Nollywood, as many still are today. One major thing Accelerate did for me was give me that backing. Anywhere I go, as long as I mention the Accelerate Filmmaker Project, doors open easily because they can vouch for the quality,” he said.

Seyi Babatope, filmmaker and AFMP facilitator, emphasised the importance of a sustainable industry. “The people involved in this project are creating a foundation on which the industry can be built. A true industry is self-sustaining, meaning it’s not just fluff—it earns money. Giving young people this foundation means everything is already laid out for them. All they need to bring is their work ethic, skill, talent, and passion. But passion is just part of the equation; it’s not all of it,” he stated.

Colette Otusesho reinforced the collaborative nature of the project. “At the end of the day, it’s about how we all win collaboratively, right? How do our students win? How does Accelerate win? How does Access win? We’re all working together to build an industry. We didn’t just start yesterday. We’ve been seeing these opportunities for a long time, and now we’re coming together to ensure we provide all the tools needed to be part of this industry,” she said.

Esse Akwawa concluded with exciting news about the project’s expansion. “One significant change this year is that training will now last for two weeks instead of one. We’ve always trained for one week, and while it’s been impactful, we realised we could do more. The number of entries we receive each year is overwhelming, but we’ve been limited to 25 participants per time due to capacity. This year, we’ve decided to double that number and train 50 students for two weeks. It’s a big step, and it will be challenging and expensive, but we believe it will lead to even bigger successes. When we gather again next year, we’ll have even more achievements to speak about,” she announced.

>>> Watch trailer and see more details about titles from this story:
>>> Learn more about the people mentioned in this story: Amaechi Okobi, Theo Ukpaa, Chioma Ude, Seyi Babatope, Jide JBlaze Oyegbile, Accelerate TV, Esse Akwawa, Colette Otusheso
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