By Elizabeth Uwandu
IN its bid to promote and celebrate Africa’s indigenous filmmakers, Lekki International Film Festival, last week at its maiden edition, honoured many Nigerian filmmakers and producers. Among them were veteran cinematographers, Tade Ogidan and Lancelot Imaseun, and others who emerged winners from a shortlist of 15 films; which had two films produced by London-based cinematographers.
The event directed by Dapo Adeniyi which had as chairman of the jury, Segun Oyekunle, Managing Director and CEO of Abuja Film Village; and other members that included: Augusta Okon, Tajudeen Agboola and Jahman Anikulapo, saw Ogidan’s film which is running in the cinemas, Gold Statue, winning the best feature film award; and Imasuen’s new and yet-to-be-released film, Family First, receiving the best film award.
The other filmmakers include Cameroon’s Jude Fokwang, a professor in Denver, USA, whose film, Something New In Old Town won the Best Documentary Film Award; Okhomina Joseph, a student’s 10 minutes short feature, Depression, also won the Best Short Film; and Balaraba Yakubu, a younger sister to late Nigerian Head of State, Gen. Murtala Muhammed, had her film, Palace Coup, cart away the best indigenous language film award.
According to Adeniyi, the winners emerged from a keen contest involving a shortlist of 15 films.
Giving a breakdown of the winners’ works, Lekki Film Director explained that the works evoke the realities of today. ”While Ogidan’s Gold Statue sends a resounding social message about the aspirations of the youths in the society whose quest to get rich and the desecration of sacred monuments and assets despite the dangers these vices portend; to Joseph’s theme on Depression that seems to form the crux of helplessness; and Muhammed’s Palace Coup set in the early 19th Century Kano chronicles past happenings in the North.
“Something new in old town by Fokwang, a documentary, depicts Old Town peasants, former prostitutes and noble people of the poor and neglected district, building a new life for themselves by forming voluntary societies with inbuilt self-support mechanisms, also with very strong social bonding; and Imasuen’s Family first tells a story of family bonding and the preservation of the family tie at a time of social insecurity, upheavals and economic turbulence,” he said.
The festival which ran for four days had eminent persons in attendance that included: like Kene Mkparuthe Managing Director at Komworld and founder of the Filmhouse Cinemas Chain; Lola Onigbogi founder of the Africa Movie Channel; Ijeoma Ekeugo of Zenith Bank Headquarters; Tosin Bakare, President of Alliance Francaise Lagos; Molade Okoya-Thomas, Tokunboh Odebunmi, Founder of ObalendeSuya restaurant chain, Ifeoma Anthony of Guinness, Deji Irawo, CEO of the X2D Channel.
Others are Nollywood stars that include Kenneth Okoli, Wole Ojo, and Mercy Iyamu. While Festival forum/seminar participants include Kingsley Uranta of Channels Television, Duro Oni, a former Director-General of the Centre for Black and African Civilisation, CBAAC and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Jonathan Haynes, a professor from New York and the leading authority in African film, Tony Adah, a professor at the University of Minnesota, USA, among others.