Africa international film festival opens in Lagos

Chiamaka Okechukwu, Lagos

Filmmakers and actors around the world have converged on Lagos for the sixth edition of Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) with cinematic celebration.

The week-long festival has an impressive line-up of movie premieres, film screenings, industry sessions, master classes and other programmes.

At the opening ceremony, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed reiterated that the nation is turning her attention to the creative industry.

“The film industry has proven to be a great employer of labour. Therefore, it is important for us to take necessary steps to grow the industry,” he said.

The minister further said that the Nigerian government would ensure that filmmakers are equipped with facilities that will enhance their jobs.

“Nigeria is making efforts to transit from an oil driven economy to a creative economy. This is because of the great impact the film industry is having on our society and globally. We will provide professional studios and other facilities to encourage you and make your work easier,” said Mr Mohammed.

The event started with the premier of the movie “Birth of a Nation” produced by Nate Parker and centered on social injustice and the quest for a better tomorrow.

It also reinforces why humans should be bound together in peace and unity irrespective of their tribe or ethnicity.

Nate Parker 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). 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.”

A hundred films will be showing at the newly opened Filmhouse-IMAX and Genesis Cinema, both in Lekki, Lagos during the festival.

Izu Ojukwu’s celebrated film on the first Nigerian military coup, ’76 will be closing the film session.

Executive Producer of ‘76, Prince Tonye Princewill 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.”

In addition to the wide range of films, the festival, will also offer industry platforms for skill acquisition, financing, pitching, symposia on alternative revenue streams and piracy.

The core objectives of the festival is talent development where AFRIFF has been engaging with its partners in creating opportunities for young people to explore filmmaking.