During a courtesy visit to the Lekki, Lagos head office of The Filmhouse Limited, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that Filmhouse Cinemas is about to launch the first 4 cinemas in its planned chain of 25 cinemas in 6 years. These 4 cinemas will soon open their doors at The Leisure mall Surulere; Marina Resort Calabar; The Heritage mall Ibadan and 1st Avenue mall Asaba.
The Top Man
The Managing Director/Chief Executive of Filmhouse, Mr Kene Mkparu, is someone the industry knows very well. A few years ago he and his team left Odeon Cinemas (Europe’s largest cinema chain) to redefine the Nigerian cinema space. Mr Mkparu, “what we created a few years ago was only a prelude. Filmhouse Cinemas is now about to raise the bar and set new standards for modern cinemas in Nigeria. Surulere, Calabar, Ibadan and Asaba will never be the same again”.
$200million US Dollars Intervention Fund
It would be recalled that late last year Mr Mkparu made the revelation that Filmhouse was a beneficiary of the much debated $200 million USDollar Creative/Entertainment Industry Intervention Fund from the Bank of Industry. Several industry practitioners doubted Mr Mkparu’s claim. Some even questioned his mental state for claiming that he had benefitted from something they believe does not exist. When he was reminded of these statements by practitioners, Mr Mkparu simple answered, “there are those that make things happen, others watch things happen while some others are not even aware things have happened. Filmhouse Limited makes things happen. We aim to be the no.1 cinema chain in West Africa, to be a major employer of the youth and to provide a commercial home for Nollywood films (not just Hollywood ones)”. He continued, “the Train that is the Nigerian Film Industry has since left the station. Question is, are you on board? Filmhouse is not just on board, we are in the driver’s seat and playing an important role in steering the course of the film industry Train. I very much thank the Bank of Industry for supporting our business strategy and vision”.
Looking around the Filmhouse office, one senses the buzz and excitement around the place. Interacting with the Filmhouse personnel in the office you could feel that something big, something different and something fun is about to be unleashed in Nigeria. From the Finance department, marketing, HR, admin, business development, design & build projects to cinema site operations teams, everyone was youthful and full of passion for cinema business, and proud to be a part of what is about to land very soon.
When asked how Filmhouse would fare competing against the existing cinemas in Nigeria, Mrs Ozy Sammie-Okposo, HR Manager, explained that “Filmhouse management and development teams have over 100 years combined experience in cinema operations and cinema design & build, gained from the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, USA and Nigeria. This experience stands us heads and shoulders above any other cinema operator in Nigeria.
Mr Kene Okwuosa, Deputy Managing Director, then added:
“There is enough space in Nigeria today for many cinema players. After all there’re over 150 million potential cinemagoers to satisfy. Nevertheless, we’re setting new standards that our competitors can only attempt in vain to follow. Our cinema guests will not only experience the difference, they will experience that the difference is clear”.
Mrs Ade Mogaji, who just returned to Nigeria in May from Odeon Cinemas in the UK to join Filmhouse, briefed on the 4 cinemas opening soon. “Filmhouse Surulere is at The Leisure mall, Adeniran Ogunsanya street, Surulere, Lagos. Its features include Digital 3D, iScream cafe brand, soul food brand, luxury seating and surround sound. The Marina Resort cinema is a Filmhouse partner cinema with the Cross River State Tourism Bureau. This will be the first cinema in Calabar and it’s an exquisitely sited sea-view cinema with an iScream cafe view of the marina, soul food, luxury seating and surround sound. Filmhouse Ibadan is the showpiece of The Heritage mall, Cocoa Place, Dugbe, Ibadan (first cinema in Ibadan) with iScream cafe, soul food brands, luxury seating and surround sound. Filmhouse Asaba 1st Avenue cinema is on Okpanam road, part of a mix-use leisure shopping mall (first in Asaba) and is a full Gold Class VVIP cinema with automatic reclining five star seats (as if in a first class cabin on a plane), Gold class lounge, iScream cafe and soul food brands, Digital 3D, luxury seating and surround sound.
Wow! With all these five star features coming soon, these cities will indeed never be the same again. In fact, cinema-going in Nigeria will never be the same again thanks to Filmhouse.