VILLAFEST: Arts and film festival light up Imo State


The quiet city of Owerri, the Imo State capital, recently had an army of filmmakers, painters, sculptors, and culture enthusiasts storm the maiden edition of the Village Arts and Film Festival, VillaFFest.

The festival, which climaxed with a colorful awards night, held at Beland Hotel, signaled a revival of the moribund cultural activities in the heartland state.

The film and arts festival held between December 16 and 18, at the state’s center for Arts and Culture.

Expectedly, the festival opened with the screening of films from eight countries including Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United States. The event also witnessed art exhibitions, workshops, networking, and masterclasses. It continued the following day with many aspiring filmmakers and stars taking advantage of the event to sharpen their crafts. There was also an art exhibition, which spiced up the event and helped to discover some of the untapped artists at the grassroots who are begging for a space to showcase what stuff they are made of.

Film industry veterans like Francis Duru, and Andy Boyo among others took turns to train the participants on scriptwriting, editing, and directing.

The festival climaxed with an awards night, which left many memories in the minds of those who graced the occasion. The night was stolen by the beauty queens in the state, who graced the venue of the venue.

At the end of the show, participants walked home with trophies for their contribution to the film industry across Africa. Andy Boyo walked home with the Best Director award for his film “ Secrets of the Gods” while Cameroonian Kang Quintus won the Best Actor award for his role in the film, “Fisherman’s Diary.” Others that won awards on the night were Naboth from Uganda(Best Documentary Short), Firka Chanya from Tanzania (Best Narrative Short), and Onyentakuko from Nigeria(Best Original Soundtrack). Best Documentary Feature award went to Senegal while Cameroon and Nigeria took home the award of Best Costume and Best Screenplay respectively.

Speaking after the show, Eke, who’s also the founder of the annual The African Film Festival, TAFF, in Dallas, Texas, the United States expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the festival.

He described the festival as a great success, saying, “It came with great challenges, but every day for three days, we had a great turn out of the young people, participating in art, exhibition and in the film screenings.” Speaking further, Eke said due to the ravaging COVID-19, many filmmakers who would have wanted to attend the event couldn’t make it because of the impediments.

“We have started working ahead of this year’s edition. I had limited assistance in organizing the 2020 edition,” he added.

According to the founder, VILLAFFEST seeks to celebrate Africa’s cultural vibrancy through indigenous Arts and Films for the preservation of the people’s culture.

“From film making to visual arts and performances, VILLAFFEST seeks to encourage African Youths with an interest in arts and film providing them a unique platform to harness and push the boundaries of their creativity; challenging them to not only dream, but find like-minded mentorship opportunities which is much needed for their career growth while maximizing the avenues for networking opportunities,’ Eke said.

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