– Yinka Olatunbosun

The three-day documentary film tradition in Lagos, iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival (iRep) is set to take place from March 22 to 25 at its regular venue, Freedom Park, Lagos. The festival has been a convergence point for documentary filmmakers and enthusiasts from around Africa and parts of Europe and the West since 2010 when it was established.

Produced by the Foundation for the Development of Documentary Film Festival in Africa, the 2018 festival will explore the theme, “ARCHIVING AFRICA II: Frontiers and New Narratives.’’ The bulk of Nigerian historical reels are domiciled outside the country. It is unimaginable how the Nigerian archives are locked in different museums outside the continent with evident little efforts or willpower by African political leaders to rightly request for the repatriation of such archives. That explains the rationale for selecting this theme for this edition of the festival.

The list of the Festival Special guests is mouthwatering. One of the best insights into movie production in Nigeria was made by the renowned documentarist of the Nigerian film industry, Professor Jonathan Haynes and he will be visiting from Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York City to present his new book, Nollywood: The Making of Nigeria’s Film Genre. The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Paul Ugor from the Illinois State University who will also review Jonathan Haynes’ new book.

Chairman of the iREP Board, Professor Awam Amkpa from the Tisch School of Arts, New York University, and Dr. Paul Nwulu, Programs Manager, Ford Foundation West Africa will also be key speakers.

A new feature for the festival will be a special artiste showcase that reflects on the works of artists drawn from theatre, cinema, new media and academia. This edition, Professor. Niyi Coker, E. Desmond Lee Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Media Studies at the University of Missouri, St. Louis will inspire aspiring young filmmakers, to make a career in the arts, especially the Film and the new Media. Prof. Coker has directed over 50 major stage productions around the world. His film credits include; The Black 14 (for FERPA PBS in 1995); Black Studies USA, Pennies for the Boatman, etc. His latest documentary film “Ota Benga: Human at the Zoo” like his previous works, has won serial awards at international film gatherings.

A second showcase will focus on the life and career of famous filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, who turned 70 on February 26. Founder of the production outfit, Mainframe Opomulero, Tunde Kelani’s award winning works include Ti Olu Ni Ile; Ayo Ni Mo Fe; Saworoide; Arugba; Thunderbolt; Abeni; Maami; and lately Sidi Ilujinle, devised from Wole Soyinka’s classic, The Lion & The Jewel.

A three-day training programme will precede the formal opening the festival. Starting on Monday March 19, the training will focus on Storytelling, and will be conducted by Mr. Yinka Ogun, a well-known television, radio content provider/consultant and producer, whose film credits include Abeni, directed by Tunde Kilani; Prince of the Savannah, directed by Bayo Awala, and Maroko, directed by Femi Odugbemi. His television credits include Doctor’s Quarters, and Edge of Paradise, both MNET productions. He is the creator of the award-winning MNET soap opera ‘Tinsel’, and the multiple awards winning ‘Dear mother’.