BY BENAJMIN NJOKU
For leading Nigerian filmmakers, scholars and other stakeholders in the nation’s film industry who graced the just concluded 5th edition of the Festival of Indigenous African Language Films,(FIAF), held in Akure the capital city of Ondo State, one thing that must not be taken away from the yearly event is the fact that it has helped to redirect focus on the need to use the medium of the tube to preserve our indigenous languages.
At the event, which ran for five days(from Sunday, October 2 through Wednesday, October 5), at the Owena International Motel, Akure, propagation of indigenous language films dominated discourse.
Leading discourse at the event that attracted participants from the Northern part of the country were notable film makers, scholars and students of film.
Professor Onookome Okome, a professor of African Literature and Cinema, at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada delivered the key note address, while Professor Bolanle Awe, a Historian and Administrator with many years experience in the academic, private and government fields chaired one of the major events at the festival.
Like the previous editions, this year’s FIAF was a mixture of many things as it also turned out to be an economic booster to various entrepreneur.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko while declaring the festival open, on Monday, described FIAF as “a cultural renaissance”adding that ‘there is need for us to go back to our cultural roots, if we are serious about development”.
According to him, whether we like it or not liberalization and globalization has deepened poverty in the Sub-Saharan Africa. “‘It is not about what we see, there are empirical evidence; life expectancy is less, as well as all the indices of human development, and level of unemployment has been unprecedented.”
Noting that one of the themes of the festival is to create and also bring to notice the organic linkage between culture, value and development, Mimiko further stressed that globalization has been engineered to trigger development in an unusual rate in human history.
“Those countries that globalization have affected positively, had value system integrated hence, it alongside with culture survived colonialism, capitalism, competition, communism and different shades of it, including what people call modern colonialism”.he said
Mimiko posited that “there is no way we can engineer social development if it is not rooted in our culture, pointing out that there were some value system in the past which any deviation from it, were unheard of.
In her remarks, the festival director, Mrs Biodun Ibitola said the essence of the festival is to mobilise film makers to make films in indigenous languages that will drive, at all levels of the nation’s socio-economic activities.
She said the interconnect that this festival wishes to establish is that any people that despises its cultural heritage will find it difficult to excel economically and will also be technologically deficient.
“We at FIAF therefore seek to moblise filmmakers to make film in indigenous languages that will drive, at all levels of the nation’s socio-economic activities. We have long culture of truth, honesty, bravery, integrity, hard work, enterprise, dignity of labour and determination to succeed.”
FIAF is annually organised by RemdelOptimum Communications Limited.