By Ayo Kehinde
Beginning from tomorrow Sunday, November 10, 2019 to Saturday November 16, the entertainment industry will be abuzz as Africa International Film Festival hosts one of the most celebrated events in filmdom in Nigeria. In what is expected to be “a full cinematic experience,” there will be film and documentary premiers/ screenings, workshops on film, industry sessions and master classes.
But the highpoint of the event will the Globe Awards for excellence in diverse aspects of film making.
Ever since it organized the first show in 2010, AFRIFF has consistently pooled together those in the film industry, the corporate world and the international community to be part of what has become one of the most important days in the film industry in Nigeria. This year’s is the 9th edition, and it promises to be better than before, and or for good reason.
First is the commitment of the US Consulate, Lagos, to be part sponsors. Second is Access Bank’s role as co-sponsors. A lot more companies in Nigeria have also shown their readiness to be part of AFRIFF 2019. Participants will also avail themselves of the business networking session during the period.
With all that support, it was no surprise when the founder and Executive Director of AFRIFF, Chioma Ude, chest-thumped to reporters last October at Radisson Blu Hotel, Victoria Island, that “International film matters more than ever,” insisting that “our varied programme of the very best of cinema has the power of allowing us to understand how people with very different circumstances from all over the globe live, work and play.”
In Ms Ude’s words, the theme for AFRIFF 2019 is “SHEROES, those who enable us to dream and to celebrate story telling which challenge society. We are very much focused on training and supporting more female filmmakers this year and beyond.”
National Film & Video Censors Board, Nvivo TV, Film House Group and Century Group have also gotten on board AFRIFF train as festival sponsors. In its 9th year, AFRIFF 2019 will hold in the newly built Film house Cinemas at Landmark Retail Village in Lagos.
As it is, AFRIFF is fully set to roll the red carpet from tomorrow for the hundreds of stakeholders in the film industry, film buffs, the business and international communities. On the opening day, for instance, there will be a premier of For Sama, a documentary about the odyssey of female experience during wars. It is directed by Waad Al-Kateb and Edward Watts. Another film The Ghost and the House of Truth, by a Nigerian filmmaker, Akin Omotoso, will be screened on the last day. But in-between have been slated a number of activities.
AFRIFF 2019 has received a total of 4000 entries from 130 countries. “It is the highest number of entries we have received to date,” a source with AFRIFF said, “and they are features, short documentaries and much more.” Of that, AFRIFF programmers have watched more than 150 of the entries with over 2000 hours of footage.
Awards will be given to respective winners in categories, which include best director, best actors – male and female – producers, etc.
AFRIFF has been described “as a world class showcase that presents a complete immersion into the world of film making with participation from local and international actors, directors, scriptwriters, cinematographers, sound engineers, musicians, editors, light engineers, students, equipment manufacturers and businessmen.”
More important is the festival’s objective “to develop the film industry to a level where the products compete favourably with their contemporaries all over the world; provide a growth opportunity for these film industry professionals to eventually export their products to the world.”