Life and Style

Callywood Board and Cross River State – A continuing tradition of distinction and exemplary feats

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actress shawn george callywood
Shan George

By Lawrence E. Paul

The rays of sunshine that accompanied the breaking of dawn on the morning of February 21st, 2020 shone ever more brightly upon the state of Cross River as it heralded the dawn of a new day for the entertainment and tourism sector of the state.

Prof Ben Ayade, the executive governor of Cross River State, appointed Shan George, a legendary movie maker, veteran actress and producer as Callywood Board chairman, to the state version of Nollywood.

The internationally acclaimed and multiple award-winning Nollywood legend in tearful appreciation stated.. _”I pray for God’s guidance so that I can do this job and not disappoint my Governor, my people, and my God, Amen.”

With those humble but distinct words and though enormously daunting as the task ahead seemed, she took it in her usual stride with dogged resilience and so far the results have been positively staggering.

The Cross River State government took a cue from the Nigerian film industry, known more as Nollywood in setting up a film, music and arts board called Callywood which has the sole aim of promoting the indigenous talents of Cross River State to the entire world.

A shimmering new dispensation was ushered in with the appointment of a new DG who immediately hit the ground running and set up several structures with an aim to help discover talents and create stars in the State through the promotion of culture and the arts. Already, there have been multiple auditions and movie projects where the incumbent DG has thrown open the gates and invited just about anyone who thinks he or she has an acting talent to come over.

In a statement, Shan George set out her mission:

“I intend to use all the resources made available to me to build fresh actors, cinematographers, producers, artisans, scriptwriters, etc to the highest international standards and this is a casting call for everyone in Cross River State who is talented and has never been given an opportunity. With the support of the distinguished Governor of Cross River State, prof Ben Ayade, this enterprise is here to give you that life-changing opportunity and set you on a profitable course for yourself and the community at large. If you are that individual, Callywood will fully train you and make you shine as a beacon for the world to see. All that is expected from you is talent, determination and a desire to be star and myself and my talented team will do the rest.”

To further expand the depth and reach of the arts both professionally and creatively, Callywood board is presently collaborating with several prominent state-owned and privately-owned film institutes and academies nationwide that will ensure that Callywood stars stand out and are recognised and acknowledged nationally and internationally.

With several films already written, produced and released into the entertainment mainstream, Callywood is already blazing the trail and setting the bar almost unreachable as multi-talented Cross Riverian stars are springing up like supercharged sprouts ready to take the indigenous arts and cultures of Cross River to the world.

From the soaring plateaus of the mountain tops of Obanliku to the Rain forests of Afi, from the Waterfalls of Agbokim and Kwa to the spiralling ox-bow Calabar River which provides sights and images of the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina, Calabar Residency Museum and the Calabar Slave Park along its course, the Ikom Monoliths (a series of volcanic-stone monoliths of unknown age), the Mary Slessor Tomb, Calabar Drill Monkey Sanctuary, Cross River National Park, Afi Mountain walkway canopy, Kwa falls, Agbokim waterfalls, Tinapa Business Resort, Mono railway and the annual Calabar Carnival that takes place during the Christmas period, Cross River State is a splendid blend of a magical land and realistically distinct cultures that can be accessed by air through the Margaret Ekpo International Airport at Calabar and the Bebi airstrip at Obanliku for trips to the Obanliku Mountain Resort and several land boarders.

The dazzling Calabar Carnival festival in Nigeria, also tagged “Africa’s Biggest Street Party”, was created as part of the vision of making Cross River State, Nigeria, the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and tourists from all over the world. The carnival which begins every 1st of December and lasts until 31st December has boosted the cultural mosaic of Nigerian people while entertaining millions of spectators within the state, outside the state and foreigners, hence boosting industry for all stakeholders. Truly there is always a thrilling adventure and a beautifully unforgettable experience awaiting the tourist visiting Cross River State.

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