#AFRIFF2017 is connecting Africa through film

The excitement continued Tuesday, as the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) entered its third day, opening with a lighting design masterclass facilitated by the Embassy of The United States. The six-hour long session which was held at the Ultima Studios, Lekki, Lagos, had interested delegates converge under the mentorship of veteran, Christian Epps.

Delegates, following the money trail, gathered at the Eko Hotels and Suites for a high powered business clinic on co-financing and co-production opportunities with South Africa, facilitated by ‘Tango with Me’ director, Mahmood Ali-Balogun. Presentations were made by Zama Mkosi, Chief Executive Officer of South Africa’s National Film and Video Foundation, as well as representatives from the KwaZulu Natal Film Commission as both countries explored avenues for smoother collaborations.

It was a British takeover at the Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, as the British Council presented the Film Connections, a project that seeks to increase partnerships between Nigeria and the UK. Nadia Denton, who curated the films selected for the showcase, had the audience spellbound as she presented useful tips for filmmakers, preparing their strategies for hitting the international festivals circuit.

The British Council Film Connections was headlined by the documentary, WHITNEY, can I be me, the latest from acclaimed British director, Nick Broomfield. A tour de force on the life of beloved singer/superstar Whitney Houston who passed away under tragic circumstances in 2012, the documentary was warmly received in its first Nigerian screening. Other films in the Film Connections selection include BAFTA winner, ‘Under the Shadow’, ‘The Hard Stop’, ‘A Moving Image’, ‘Robot & Scarecrow’, ‘Tower XYZ’ and ‘Mrs Bolanle Benson’.

Over at the Afrinolly studios in Oregun, the acting, screenwriting and Canon DSLR classes continued with mentors; Hilda Dokubo, Victor Sanchez Aghahowa and Leke Alabi-Isama.

At Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, the ultraviolent Haitian short film, ‘Kafou’, a bloody, depiction of gang life and jungle justice in inner city streets got positive responses. So did the Moses Inwang directed Omotola Jalade Ekeinde star vehicle, ‘Alter Ego’. ‘The Whale Caller’ (South Africa), the big screen film adaptation of Zakes Mda’s fantastical novel also screened.

The cautionary tale, ‘Las Gidi Vice’, about a lady sexually molested by an acquaintance and feel good drama, ‘Armstrong, hoisted Nigeria’s flag in the shorts category at the Silverbird Cinemas, Victoria Island. Mozambique’s Oscar hopeful, ‘The Train of Salt and Water’ was screened alongside the France/Mali collaboration, ‘Wulu’, both films sharing a survival-in-spite-of-dismal-circumstances theme running through them.

Mildred Okwo, Funlola Aofiyebi Raimi, Lala Akindoju, Omoye Uzamere Abba T. Makama and C.J Obasi are some of the famous faces who participated.

AFRIFF is an annual weeklong, all-encompassing world-class showcase running from 29, October to 4, November 2017.

About 200 carefully curated feature lengths, shorts, documentaries and student films will be screened this year. The festival also encompasses talent development classes, industry workshops and inspiring creative discussions.

Photo credit: Adeolu Adeniyi photography, @adeoluadeniyiphotography.

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