Edo State International Films Festival Draw Curtains for maiden Edition
After four days of consecutive showcases of creativity and capacity building, the maiden edition of the Edo State International Films Festival has drawn to a close. The festival-themed ‘Edo to The World’ is an initiative of the Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs) to promote creativity in the arts, provide an avenue for creative skills development, job opportunities, and enhance capacity building for young Nigerians.The festival was officially flagged off on September 1, 2022 by Betsy Obaseki, first lady of Edo State, at the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub, and Sound Stage in Benin.
During the opening event of the festival, Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo State, reiterated the government’s commitment to investing in the creative industry towards making it a haven of tourism.
’’Over the centuries, we have been the cradle of culture, innovation, and creativity in this part of the continent. What you see here today is believing in our arts. Edo State has taken the lead in working with our partners to strategically invest in the creative industry. We have taken our time to take advantage of our unique opportunity in terms of our creation and our endowment. Our goal is to be the hope of culture and tourism in West Africa’’, Governor Obaseki said.
The four-day event featured masterclasses with industry experts, panel discussions, movie premieres, virtual sessions and networking opportunities with local and international industry participants. Some of the masterclasses were also facilitated by celebrity actors including; Mercy Aigbe, Linda Osifo, Etinosa Idemudia, who shared their approaches and experiences in various areas of acting and production.
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Ukinebo Dare, managing director, Edo State Skills Development Agency, said: “The EDO State International Film Festival is one of the hallmarks of celebrating the ancient city of Benin. We are proud to stagethe festival and look forward to receiving guests across the world for this historic event. With this platform, we hope to improve arts in Edo state and extend to the country. We appreciate the support from industry practitioners and the belief vested in us to deliver an amazing event that will drive growth”.
Over 1,500 movies submitted from 90 countries, 150 movies were carefully curated from the entries to screen at Kada Cinemas and Victor Uwaifo’s Creative Hub and Sound Stage throughout the festival. Trailblazers putting Edo State on global spotlight were also recognised during the event including; MercyAigbe, Linda Osifo, Nosa Rex, Etinosa, Mr. Billy King, Yvonne, Adesua Etomi, and Toyin Aimakun.
Also, winners emerged for various movie categories announced by a selection Jury. The winners include; Best Actor Male won by Ben Oyaye; Best Female Actor by Victory Idahosa; Best Director won by Joseph Okwoli; Best Short Film by Tare; Best Documentary won by Palm For Crude, produced by Directors Guild of Nigeria; Best Use of Tech in film by Battle of the West; Best Self-Owned Film won by Zara and Best Student Film, which was won by The Funeral.
Others are: Best Film Costume won by Osasyi Blessing; Best Cinematography won by After A While, a movie from Egypt; Best Indigenous Film won by On This Mountain with a $5,000 prize.
There were also Heartbeats of our time awards: Awards for Legends and Trailblazers and the legends awarded include; Alex Usifo, Victor Okhia, Ambassador Lancelot, Charles Inojie and Billy King. Best Film shot in Edo Film with 5,000 dollars cash prize Omoatama won Governor’s Award and the Governor’s Award for Best Overall Film was clinched by Onaiwu.
The Edo State International Films Festival was sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.