On the 9th of August, 20 young filmmakers gathered on the 9th floor of the CBC Towers in Lekki. They were brought together by AFRIFF and Ford Foundation to discuss Cinemafabrique.
These filmmakers were going to Lyon, France for six weeks for a training in filmmaking. This is the third year in a row where the Ford Foundation will be working with the African International Film Festival to send 20 young filmmakers abroad to further develop themselves so they can come back to help develop Nollywood. These filmmakers include actors, screenwriters, directors, and editors.
The twist this year is that the driving force behind this year’s scholarship selection is primarily the empowerment of female Nigerian filmmakers in the industry. Nollywood was predominantly and traditionally owned and controlled by men with women usually relegated to the front of the cameras and makeup roles earning significantly lower than their male counterparts. These days, things are changing and this change is beautiful. Jadesola Osiberu, a new entrant into Nollywood has done so with a bang. Her first project – 2017’s Isoken was a box office hit. Iconic Kemi Adetiba has made a name for herself within other circles, but with Wedding Party becoming such a monumental success in Nigeria and outside, it’s hard for naysayers to ignore her talent. Biola Alabi – founder of Biola Alabi Media is also an inspiration in the film industry. Banana Island Ghost is out in cinemas right now and it has done well.
Nollywood can do with a saturation of new and exciting talent right now and the recipients of this scholarship will do just great for the country and her film industry. Before moving to Lyon for the six week training, the scholarship recipients will be attending a requisite French language training at the popular Alliance Française in Lagos. The French training is to help the students understand and acclimatize in France a little easier. Their classes will be taught in English and there’s a plan to take them on a tour of Paris as well as put them through a brief internship at France 24.
Ms Ude of Afriff explained “AFRIFF’s vision is to raise awareness about African cinema, its vast potential and the tremendous socioeconomic impact of creative professionals in Africa. The first four years of the festival were strategically intended to build the AFRIFF brand and gain the brand notoriety that has now earned us a partnership with global brands like Access Bank, Air France, Ford Foundation, Relativity Media, British Council and Alliance Francaise among others.”
Oluwatosin Adeshokan is a freelance journalist and writer reporting stories about West Africa. He was previously the Culture Editor for YNaija. He tweets at @TheOluwatosin