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BluesandHills: Meet Africa International Film Festival judges

by Onyeka nwelue

Africa International Film Festival has announced members of juries awarding prizes at the forthcoming Africa International Film Festival, which will run from 30th November  to 4th December, 2011. The juries are comprised of 6 individuals who are well-grounded in the global arts community.

Feature/Animation Jury

Eriq Ebouaney

Eriq was born in France, but originally from Cameroon. As a child, he had no dreams of becoming an actor. It was when he was 30 that he quit his job as a sales manager to join a theatre company and become a professional actor.

Having appeared in many productions, as “BlackTie” in Femme Fatale (Brian de Palma) and also as Patrice Lumumba (the former Congolese Prime Minister) in Raoul Peck’s Lumumba, he has completely captured the imagination of the world. He has worked with Gerard Depardieu, Jean Reno, Antonio Banderas, Orlando Bloom, Brian de Palma, Ridley Scott, Park Chan Wook, Jean-Jacques Annaud and other international stars.

Oladipo Agboluaje

British playwright, Oladipo Agboluaje was born in 1968 in Hackney and educated in Britain and Nigeria. He studied Theatre Arts at the University of Benin and later wrote a doctoral thesis at the Open University on West and South African drama. His works include, Early Morning (produced by Futuretense), God is a DJ, The Estate, The Christ of Coldharbour Lane, For One Night Only, The Hounding of David Oluwale, Iya Ile, The Garbage King (an adaptation of Elizabeth Laird’s novel) and Say Goodbye.

Heidi Lobato

Heidi was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In the 1980s, she was the manager of various music groups and co-organizer of a six-day music festival, Art Support, in collaboration with KIT, Melkweg and Paradiso. She began her film and television career in 1984 with Migrantentelevisie Amsterdam as a maker of programs and presenter for Surinamese and Antillean broadcasters. She has worked as production leader on various productions in The Netherlands and abroad, including a children’s film with Hakim Traidia for the Maghreb lands in Algeria (1988), the children’s program Mijn Eerste Keer (Veronica), the young people’s program Zapp (John de Mol) and various informative films for the cities of the Hague, Utrecht and Amsterdam.

She additionally worked as program maker and presenter for the young people’s program Jonge Helden (VPRO) and the 5-uurshow (RTL Veronique, now RTL-4), from 1989-1994. The founder and director of Amnesty International Filmfestival, Amsterdam (1995-2000), Heidi was closely involved in the founding of One World – Human Rights Film Festival in Prague, Czech Republic (1997), Watch Dogs – Human Rights Film Festival in Warsaw, Poland (2000) and Basic Trust, a human rights film festival in Israel and the Palestine territories (2000). In 2001, she became business director of the Africa in the Picture Film Festival, where she became general director after the departure of founder Mariët Bakker in March 2005. She continues to work as advisor to international film festivals such as Yole Africa, Kongo, Dockanema, Mozambique and proposed the film program UN GIFT, United Nations Forum on Human Trafficking, which took place in February 2008 in Vienna, and made it available for 30 countries. She has written extensively for various magazines and is chair of Stichting Likeminds, a theatre primarily by and for children of immigrants.

Documentary Jury

Femi Odugbemi

Femi Odugbemi is an award-winning writer, producer/director and photographer who is widely respected for his creativity and professionalism. He has worked in the Nigerian motion picture industry and has created and produced several critically-acclaimed entertainment programmes for television and radio. Trained in Film & TV Production at Montana State University, Bozeman, United States, he worked for a couple of years as a producer at KUSM Channel 9 TV station in Bozeman, Montana. A renowned name in advertising and marketing communications in Nigeria having directed memorable television advertising for many of Nigeria’s blue-chip multinational companies. He worked as Film & Radio Producer at Lintas Advertising and later as Asssociate Creative Director at STB-McCann, Lagos. In these places, he wrote, directed and produced several notable documentaries, dramas and commercials for such multi-national concerns as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestle, Cadbury, Beecham, Rekkit-Benckister, MTN, CELTEL and many other FMCG marketers.

Since 1999, he has worked as an independent producer and director. His screen credits include: Like Father, Like Son (sitcom), Who Do You Love? (SFH talkshow), Who Wants to be a Millionaire (Nigeria’s most popular gameshow), the recent Lagos Lottery TV Gameshow, the international documentary, Life in Lagos for CFI in France, “Oui Voodoo, a short drama  which won best short film at the Zuma Film Festival and Maroko, a full-length feature. In the last year, he has produced Mama Put, a new direction short film and also a documentary, Ibadan – Cradle of Literati. He’s currently the Content Producer of the first ever soap-opera commissioned by MNet in sub-saharan Africa titled, Tinsel.

From 2003 to 2006, Odugbemi served as the President of the Independent Television Producers Asssociation of Nigeria (ITPAN). He is currently Managing Director/CEO of DVWORX Limited, a film/TV management company.

Mahen Bonetti

Mahen Bonetti is the founder and Executive Director of African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF), a non-profit arts organization founded in 1990. AFF showcases works of African filmmakers and develops ways to share the vision and culture of African film with American and international audiences. In her role as film liaison, she contributes to an interdisciplinary mix of panels and programs, including those established by the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ougadougou (FESPACO), the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New York State Council of the Arts, UNDP, Africa’s US diplomatic offices and the Rolex Arts Initiative Awards. AFF collaborates each year with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and BAMcinématek to produce the annual New York African Film Festival. Additionally, the organization curates a series of other film programs with a host of national and international partners. Ms. Bonetti lives in Manhattan with her husband and their daughter.

Mbye Cham

Mbye Cham, Ph.D. is originally from The Gambia and is currently Chairman of the Department of African Studies at Howard University in Washington, D. C. His areas of research interest are literature and film and culture and development. In addition to numerous essays and chapters in books on African and Caribbean literature and film, he is the editor of EX-ILES: Essays on Caribbean Cinema, and co-editor of Blackframes: Critical Perspectives on Black Independent Cinema and African Experiences of Cinema. Dr. Cham has served on many film juries throughout the world, most recently, as President of the Official Jury for Long Feature Films at FESPACO 2011 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

About Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF)

The Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) is a platform for the world to zoom in on the talent and beauty of Africa through film. Started December 2010, it will hold yearly hosting both local and international filmmakers, celebrities, actors, directors, film buyers, distributors, visual artists, film students, amateurs, film lovers and the press.

The AFRIFF theme is Africa unites. It draws on the principle that being African is a bond that goes beyond geography, birth or lineage; as people of African origin are spread across the globe and Africa is also a proud home to many non-Africans. The vision is to reflect a common true African identity and re-establish Africa as an original home to all.

Africa has been able to capture the world’s attention through its ancient cultural heritage and beginnings of civilisation. With films it will have the power to connect people from around the world, creating common ground hence promoting boundless unity.

http://www.africafilmfest.org/

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