Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, played host just to top celebrities penultimate Friday, as Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF, unveiled its 2016 festival activities, ahead of the event slated from November 13 to 20, 2016.
Among the stars at the event are veteran actresses; Joke Silver and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, both of whom stepped out with their husbands at the launch party.
Others are, filmmaker Kunle Afolayan, notable actress Hilda Dokubo, Beverly Naya, Adesua Etomi, Kemi Lala-Akindoju, Emeka Osai, filmmaker Victor Okhai, and President of African Film Consortium, Mr. Mykel Parish, among others.
Announcing the festival programmes at a press conference that preceded the launch party, founder and Executive Director of AFRIFF, Ms. Chioma Ude said AFRIFF was back with an impressive line-up of movie premieres, film screenings, industry sessions, master classes and other festival activities.
According to her, “Lagos will, once again, wear the tourism ambiance, playing host to filmmakers and actors from around the world, with over 100 films showing at the newly opened Filmhouse-IMAX and Genesis Cinemas, both in Lekki.” Ude appeared to have struck the right cord when she announced Nate Parker’s Oscar hopeful, The Birth of a Nation; and Izu Ojukwu’s celebrated film on the first Nigerian military coup, ’76, as the opening and closing films, respectively, a disclosure which was received with loud ovation.
Canon Central and North Africa, leading provider of imaging solutions, and Diageo Nigeria, world’s premium beverage company were at the press parley and cocktail launch. They were joined the list of resourceful partners and developmental agencies, like Ford Foundation, British Institute, Lagos State, Africa Magic, MultiChoice Nigeria, Access Bank, Bank of Industry, Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN), Afrinolly, African Film Consortium (AFC), Filmhouse-IMAX, Genesis Cinemas and Silverbird Group.
According to the AFRIFF boss, festival guests are up for the best of times during the festival, as all the films in official line-up are products of the new narratives for African cinema and Black films world over.
The selection includes, 93 Days (Nigeria) by Steve Gukas; The CEO (Nigeria) by Kunle Afolayan; Vaya (South Africa) by Akin Omotoso; The Cursed Ones (U.K) by Nana Obiri; The Wedding Ring ( Niger) by Rahmatou Keita; Kati Kati (Kenya) by Mbithi Masya; If Tomorrow Never Comes
(Ghana) by Pascal Amanfo; Remember Me (Nigeria) by Izu Ojukwu; Breathe (South Africa) by Mark Dornford-May; The Missing God (Nigeria) by Ubaka Joseph; Unspoken (Nigeria) by Remi Vaughan-Richards; Green White Green (Nigeria) by Abba Makama; The Unseen (Namibia) by Perivi Natjavivi; N.G.O (Uganda) by Arnold Aganze; Gidi Blues (Nigeria) by Femi Odugbemi; Daggers of Life (Ghana) by Paapa Otoo; Shadow of the Passion (Burkina Faso) by Ado Bambara; Ojukokoro (Nigeria) by Dare Olaitan; Bala Bala Sese (Uganda) by Lukyamuzi Bashir; and The Arbitration (Nigeria) by Niyi Akinmolayan.
In addition to the wide range of films, the festival, according to Ude, will also offer industry platforms for skill acquisition,
financing, pitching, symposia on alternative revenue streams and piracy.
Ude noted that one of the core objectives of the festival is the talent development where AFRIFF has been engaging with its partners in creating opportunities for young people to explore filmmaking.
“Amongst our Shorts programmes are films made by young people, selected from last year’s training and talent development programmes,” she said.
Speaking on Canon’s partnership with AFRIFF, Managing Director of CCNA, Roman Troedthandl, said: “It is incredible to see how far AFRIFF has come in the past six years in terms of receiving acknowledgement within the international film industry. The festival has grown from strength to strength in these years. CCNA is proud to partner with AFRIFF and contribute to this success. We are looking forward to this
year’s festival and the world-class cinema that will be screened.”
Executive Producer of ‘76, Prince Tonye Princewill, who responded from London where the film is being screened at the London International Film Festival said, “The honour of our film being chosen to close the Africa International Film Festival cannot be described with words. The film has been honoured around the world, but recognition at home means everything to us. The field for Nigerian films is very strong this year, so it is especially rewarding for ‘76 to receive this nod. We are proud of the AFRIFF organizers and hope we can do them justice.”
Kene Mkparu, who spoke on behalf of Filmone-IMAX, 20th Century Fox and The Birth of a Nation, noted that “FilmOne Distribution & Filmhouse Cinemas are truly honoured to be a part of bringing this amazing re-telling of a remarkable piece of African history to the continent of Africa. And Nate Parker (writer, director, producer and star of the movie) said, “What better platform to present The Birth of a Nation to the continent than the biggest African film festival, AFRIFF, here in Lagos Nigeria. We are also delighted that this movie is so important to our partners 20th Century Fox that senior executives of Fox, including Paul Higginson, Executive Vice President, EMEA, as well as stars of the movie will be here in Lagos to launch the Birth of A Nation. This is a movie all Africans must get to the cinema to see. It is our story we never knew, action packed, resilient spirit of man, godliness, hard-hitting, tear-jerking, emotional, thought-provoking and very, very well-made.”