Nollywood finds ties with Hollywood

The Screen Actors Guild has launched an informal partnership with the Actors Guild of Nigeria, meeting with leaders of the African group in Hollywood.

SAG president Ken Howard and national exec director David White headed a series of confabs Wednesday with AGN president Segun Arinze, national secretary Emeka Rollas, filmmaker Kingsley Ogbanna, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Bob Manuel Udokwu, Obi Osotule, Uchenna Nnanna and Ejiro Okurame.

The visit came as the Nigerian film industry — known by the Nollywood label — is turning out hundreds of films per year. Filmmakers tend to shoot productions in a few weeks and self-distribute titles; hit films can post sales of 200,000 units.

“This is Hollywood welcoming Nollywood,” Howard said at a lunch at the Marmalade restaurant in Hollywood. “We look forward to a long-term dialogue.”

Howard said the relationship would continue after the planned merger vote with the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists next spring.

“I wish you luck with the merger,” Arinze said

Rollas, who has acted in more than 60 Nigerian films, said he believes the 13-year-old Nigerian guild will be able to use SAG’s help to expand as the Nigerian film business evolves. The ANG joined the Intl. Federation of Actors earlier this year.

“Whether it’s championing the audiovisual performances treaty at WIPO or working to exchange ideas and best practices, the guild’s collaboration with unions like the Actors Guild of Nigeria is crucial to advancing the cause of all actors,” said Duncan Crabtree Ireland, deputy national exec director and general counsel. “Screen Actors Guild values our relationships with our sister unions around the world, and joins them in the fight to improve the work lives of actors everywhere.”

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