• Monday, April 15, 2024
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iREP: Reconnecting Africa’s identity


The annual iREP Film Festival kicked off last Thursday at the Kongi Harvest Art Gallery situated at Freedom Park, Marina, Lagos, with a key note address titled ‘Reconnections: Africa’s Post-Colonial Journey to Identity,’ delivered by US-based scholar, Awam Ampka.

In his address, Ampka offers ways to enhance Nollywood as a platform to change the way people perceive the movie industry. He argues that the only way to understand the future is to always connect history, that is the past, with the present.

“We must try to sustain social humanity in order to be able to stay together,” he argues, saying “we are not to limit ourselves to Nigeria alone but Africa also. We should endeavour to look at the value of Africa, look at the people who made it possible for us to get to where we are. We should understand that whatever technique we choose to use is about what we represent. Whatever film we make is going to be irrelevant if we don’t make stories. Therefore, we should all try to contribute to a new Nigeria.”

During the question and answer session, a member of the audience, Patience Imoblio, praises Nollywood for the improved quality of content in particular, and picture and sound quality. According to her, Nollywood will grow better with time. “I see the Nigerian movie industry doing better production,” she observes, “better picture, better sound quality and many more improvement with time. Today’s producers are not just concerned alone about the movie quantity, but are more concerned about the movie quality. I know that the movie industry will grow further. They are doing so well already.”

In addition, there was also the launch of books – Behind the Screen: Real Veel and Motion picture: Compilation of Winning Essays – by the Nigerian Film Corporation.

“Usually, when people are in government the public think they are doing anything. But Adesanya has been able to document what he has done at the Nigerian Film Institute for posterity,” says Victor Okhai, a film maker, who anchored the book presentation. “What he has done will speak for him because he has been able to lay a foundation for others to build on. Adesanya could not have been able to do everything, but he has done a good job for all to see. Some of them are documented in the books presented.”

At the festival, there was also a training session for students in film making. Also, short films that won at the Afrinolly Film competition were also screened alongside other international documentary about the Africanaars living by themselves in South Africa.

Ifediora Okiche, a visitor at the festival, says she gained a lot by interacting with film makers and other stakeholders in the film industry, saying “I have gained from today’s experience in the sense that as a first time to be able to meet and interact with the major people in our movie industry . Whereby, it has increased my interest in film making and now I would like to engage more in short film making.”

Five of the 10 shortlisted short films for iREP Film Festival that were screened included: ‘Jagbe’ by Godwin, and ‘The Bell Hood,’ by Stanley. In addition, the winning movie titled: ‘Hustle on a Mile,’ by Bermingo Lawal, was also screened.

According to Lawal, it took him a month and half for the pre- and post-production process to make the film. He also says it was not an easy task for him to work with the cast, as the main character had no home or mobile phone for him to be able to contact him. Hence, he started shooting three hours behind schedule.

While Femi Odugbemi, the festival director, also notes: “Today has definitely created an impact upon me and I can see clearly now that the Nigerian movie industry is not asleep. I am highly impressed.”