Organisers of the Africa International Film Festival have unveiled plans for its 12th edition geared at expanding indigenous movies to the global market.
The week-long event opens on Sunday night with the exclusive premiere of ORAH, directed by Lonzo Nzekwe.
The festival is scheduled to be held from November 5 to 11, 2023.
The closing night will be equally enchanting as it features the highly anticipated premiere of the inspirational movie “Breath of Life” directed by BB Shashore and produced by Eku Edewor.
At a media parley heralding the festival at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos, Founder and Director of AFRIFF, Chioma Ude, reaffirmed the organiser’s readiness to improve the festival’s capacity towards global expectations.
She said: “We are inspired by the passion and dedication of filmmakers and film enthusiasts in Africa, and we are committed to providing a platform for their voices to be heard.
“This year, the theme is ‘Indigenous to global 2.0’, which is in continuation of last year’s theme, but I learnt a lot about how unready we are.
“To be very prepared, we expanded our panel, our judges, and masterclasses to prepare us more for the global market.
“We are focused on improving capacity building and positioning the industry further for more opportunities. Next year will be Indigenous to Global 3.0 until we get it right.”
Ms. Ude added that the festival will present a selection of noteworthy films, including “Queen of Adire – A Story of Nike Davies Okundaye” by Titi Ogunfere and “Funmilayo Ransom-Kuti” by the visionary Bola Austen-Peters, among others.
The AFRIFF jury boasts of local and international members headed by Stephen Dr. Love.
Others are Abby Ajayi, Nicholas Weinstock, Geneva Wasserman, Wafa’a Celine Halawi, Greg Odutayo, Ranada Shepard, Tsitsi Dangaremgba and Nollywood greats, Kate Henshaw, Desmond Elliot, as well as Multichoice Nigeria’s Bisola Tejumola.
Head of Media and Public Relations, Latasha Ngwube, said the 12th edition of AFRIFF will uncover new talents, create insider opportunities and screen hundreds of films for free.
“The world is coming to Nigeria as AFRIFF looks internally to strengthen and grow in preparation to take African stories made by Africans to the world,” she said.
According to her, AFRIFF will showcase indigenous narratives from women who have made a national impact.
She said the festival will be adorned with diverse activities, including panel discussions, and networking sessions, leading to the prestigious AFRIFF Globe Awards.
“This year’s edition will also unveil three exciting new categories sponsored by MTN Nigeria. These additions include the Honouree Award, offering N2 million to each recipient; the Viewer’s Choice category, allowing viewers to vote for their preferred movie of the year, and the Fan Favorite Award, enabling fans to vote for their beloved actors and actresses.
“The Awards will be presented to selected actors at the Globe Awards Nigh, on November 11th during the festival.
“Actors to be honoured include Richard Mofe Damijo (The Black Book), Blossom Chukwujekwu (The Trade), Chidi Mokeme (Shanty Town), Funke Akindele (Battle on Buka Street) and Femi Adebayo (Jagun Jagun).
“Others are Chioma Akpotha (Gangs of Lagos), Kunle Remi (Anikulapo), Ini Edo (Shanty Town), Nse Ikpe Etim (4-44-44), Lateef Adedimeji, (Jagun Jagun), and Tobi Bakare (Gangs of Lagos).
“The N.E.F.T.I. (NEFT emerging Film Talent International) competition in collaboration with LG Electronics and AFRIFF will also be selecting and rewarding new young talent with prize money of $5000 for the creativity while embracing their uniqueness.”
Ngwube stressed that AFRIFF will celebrate the diverse and vibrant African film industry, highlighting the cultural richness and storytelling of African talents while underscoring the importance of continued collaboration, innovation, and investment in the region’s cinema.
“The 2023 edition is partnered and sponsored by Lagos State Government, Access Corporation, MTN, Prime Video, Paramount, Mikano, HOW Foundation, WIGWE University, PAC Capital, The Refinery, Martel, US Consulate Lagos, French Embassy, DSTV, Showmax, Africa No Filter, NEWF, NEFTI, Spcine, and UCA University for the Creative Arts UK,” she added.
Also present at the parley were MarCom & Sponsorship Director, Ebuka Ude; Programme & Artistic Director, Ikenna Ezenyirioha; AFRIFF Jury President, Stephen Dr. Love; Folake Steaze Johnson, representing Chief Creative Officer of NEFTI Paul Robinson, and Middle Eastern filmmaker Samir Abdel Nasir.
AFRIFF, conceived by Ms. Ude, is a world-class showcase that celebrates Cinema and filmmaking talent from Africa and the diaspora.
It consistently delivers a rich programme to foster invaluable exchanges of ideas, production connections, and business relationships.
It creates an energetic and exciting hub for entertainment industry professionals to make rewarding connections and has gradually gained a reputation for delivering Africa’s most vibrant film festival experience.
Its objectives are to develop the film industry to a level where the products compete favourably with their contemporaries all over the world; provide a growth opportunity for these film industry professionals to export their products to the world; facilitate access to investors, equipment, technical and skill acquisition through Festival-organised fora and several capacity development workshops.