The coronavirus pandemic has made film companies “scared” about taking risks, according to a producer.
Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, who has worked on films including gang drama Blue Story, said there is a “Catch-22” where companies feel they should be investing in more diverse talent at a time when they are also being more risk averse.
Gharoro-Akpojotor is currently serving as a jury member for the 16 Days 16 Films festival, which explores gender-based violence.
“We are at a time where we talk about wanting and needing new voices, but also we are at a time where people are scared of putting money into new things because of what’s going on,” she told the PA news agency.
“It’s a Catch-22 because on one hand, it is like ‘We need all these new voices. We can’t give you money’.”
She said 16 Days 16 Films is giving a platform to underrepresented groups within the film industry.
“There’s always this thing when the awards season comes and everything else comes and we always talk about the lack of female voices or voices of other people, so I think it is important to be able to have these festivals,” Gharoro-Akpojotor said.
She said the festival shows there are talented women in the film industry, but you have to “nurture them” and “give them more money”.
“They are making work that is incredibly good, they are making work that is incredibly important, while they are not on a big platform,” she added.
Gharoro-Akpojotor said 16 Days 16 Films is significant because of the focus on gender-based violence during the pandemic.
“I think it is something that we don’t talk about enough and I’m a big believer in art being a conversation starter,” she said.
“I don’t ever expect a film… to solve anything in the world but I do expect it to have a conversation.”
16 Days 16 Films runs until December 10, with one film being released per day.
At the end of the festival, viewers will be able to vote for their favourite.