EKOIFF aims to promote culture, film production and tourism
From March 5 to 10, filmmakers and stakeholders will meet in Lagos for the 8th edition of Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF). Founder and President of the festival, HOPE OKPARA, spoke with OMIKO AWA on what to expect at the six-day event
Eko festival is in its 8th edition. What do you hope to achieve with the yearly festival?
I am very grateful that Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF) is in its 8th edition and still running despite the current economic situation in the country. The festival’s mission and vision are to promote the appreciation of arts and culture through motion picture arts and sciences, apart from boosting tourism in Nigeria.
There are many festivals already in the country. Why did you not leverage on any to reach out to the world?
We don’t have many film festivals and I would want to use this opportunity to call on all stakeholders to establish more film festivals to promote our culture, tell the African story and boost tourism.
What are film festivals designed to achieve?
Film festivals are like trade fair for films. Filmmakers from different countries bring their films there to be shown and also network with other filmmakers and producers. It serves as platform for rating films in terms of production quality, the storyline, best actors and others. Film festivals bring filmmakers and those companies that are into producing materials such as cameras and other together to network and, if possible, enter into contracts. Also, aside films it boosts tourism as different sectors of the economy use the platform to sell their products.
Yes, there are a lot to gain from such festivals. For instance, these festivals provide information about movies from different states or nations. The traditions and culture of a people are passed on to those who do not know of their existence easily through films. Apart from education, these movies are also for entertainment. Festivals boost tourism and generate income, as tourists, including stakeholders from different parts of the world, come to Lagos to watch different types of movies.
What new thing should visitors expect this year at the festival?
Every year we have new films with interesting stories and very good quality.
Do you have partnership with any country or group of people?
Well, we have partnered with the U.S. Embassy Lagos on American documentary showcase and the Polish Embassy, too. We are open for more partnership with any country willing to work with us and if it means shifting one of the editions outside Nigeria, we can consider that since sponsorship has been so elusive in Nigeria.
What are the benefits of holding this festival in Lagos and not in any other state in the country?
Lagos is the entertainment hub of Nigeria in terms of film production and music and others. So, we are keying into this advantage to project what we have. We could as well hold it in any other state of the federation, but Lagos State because of the space it occupies in the entertainment sector, as well as in arts and culture. While showcasing films, we look forward to making participants enjoy other aspects of the city.
How many films would you screen and what are their categories? Are they all from Africa?
We selected films from different categories, including features, short films, documentary features and short documentary films. We selected films from 80 countries with Germany topping the list. We have 117 films from Germany, 55 from the United States while Nigeria and others have submitted 51 films. We shall show the 43 films that have been reviewed by the festival jury.
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