The first China film festival kicked off in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, on Monday.
Established by the city’s Chinese Consulate and running for five days, the festival aims to provide Nigerians with insights into Chinese culture, history, and society, fostering future cultural collaboration and exchange.
During her opening address, Yan Yuqing, the Consul-General of the Chinese Consulate in Lagos, highlighted how film acts as a unique bond that brings people together.
"Both China and Nigeria are ancient civilizations, with abundant historical and cultural heritage, providing fertile soil and vitality for the two countries’ artistic and literary creation, including filmmaking," explained Yan Yuqing.
Estimates suggest that China's cinema revenue will reach $13.2 billion by 2027, whereas Nigeria's film industry is currently valued at $6.4 billion.
"The Nigerian film-making industry, also known as Nollywood, has risen rapidly. Nigeria’s production of films ranks among the top in the world, creating a huge economic miracle, but also providing an important window for the world to get to know and understand Nigeria," added Yan Yuqing.
The screenings drew over 200 guests on its first day including business leaders, government officials, educators, and students.
“I do remember with nostalgia in the '70S, we used to have the Chinese films; Bruce Lee, Chang Lee, and the rest of them, you know the kung fu fighting and everything, and Nigerians keyed into it. But today, we can see where we are, The Chinese is becoming our greatest ally because what the Chinese represents in Asia, is what Nigeria represent in Africa. So, bringing these two economies together, it would be a unique brand of developing the world," shared Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture.
Lagos played host to a joint performance by the China National Traditional Orchestra and Huaxing Arts Troupe Nigeria to celebrate the culture of both countries.
The Huaxing Arts Troupe Nigeria is a disseminator of Chinese culture, promoting the relationship between Nigeria and China
At the event, which took place in Lagos on Monday, the Arts Troupe performed three major traditional Nigerian traditional dances on stage for the first time.
Bilateral trade between the two countries has grown from approximately $300 million in the 1990s to over $20 billion in recent years.