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Ali Baba Gets Television Licence
Popular comedian, Atunyota Alleluyah Akpobome, who is popularly known as Ali Baba, has received the approval of the Federal Government to operate a television station — XQZMOI. A graduate of the Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Edo State, the comedian took to his social media handles to break the news of the approval of the television licence. This was how he broke the news of licence approval: “After so many years… it came through. I thank the Honourable Minister, NBC DG, Zonal Director and all those he used to make this happen. I appreciate. XQZMOITV is a reality.” Although he didn’t give details of when the station will come on stream, sources close to the comedian hinted that with the approval, the station would begin operation before the end of 2020. “Ali Baba applied several years ago, and before he applied, he had put everything in place. So, take off will be easy with this approval,” the source said.

Pandemic Hit TIFF 2020 Ends
THE 45th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) wrapped up on September 20 with TIFF Artistic Director and Co-Head Cameron Bailey describing this edition as a ‘year we won’t forget soon’. The 10-day long festival, which opened on September 10, closed with the presentation of Mira Nair’s A Suitable Boy at the RBC Lakeside Drive-In at Ontario Place. In his closing remark, Cameron said that the organisers responded to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic by bringing the very best in the film to the broadest possible audience. “We heeded the urgent calls for greater representation of under-represented voices. And we watched as audiences embraced cinema’s ability to transport them through screens of all sizes by joining us online from all over this country — something that we would never have seen in previous years. TIFF delivered on its promise to provide festivalgoers and the industry with impactful programming. We are very proud of what the TIFF team accomplished,” he said. Also, TIFF Executive Director and Co-Head Joana Vicente remarked that the films and talent featured in this year’s Festival left the organisers inspired and moved. Vicente also said, “in a time where the very future of our beloved art form was in question due to cinema and production shutdowns and film festival cancellations, we have seen a tenacity of spirit. We’re heartened by the support and generosity from TIFF’s loyal sponsors, donors, members, and public audiences who encouraged us to deliver a reimagined Festival. We’re grateful for the industry delegates and press corps who championed TIFF’s decision to go ahead with the Festival. We are excited by the fact that 46 per cent of the films screened this year were directed, co-directed or created by women. We are inspired by the generosity of the industry, who gave their time to be present — virtually — in support of the Festival. And, finally, we are genuinely moved by the commitment of all TIFF’s stakeholders who helped us deliver the TIFF Tribute Awards to Canadian and international audiences.” The TIFF 2020 People’s Choice Award went to Nomadland (Dir Chloé Zhao) while the first runner up award went to One Night in Miami… (Dir. Regina King).  The second runner up award went to Beans (Dir. Tracey Deer) while the TIFF 2020 People’s Choice Documentary Award winner went to Inconvenient Indian (Dir. Michelle Latimer). Also, the TIFF 2020 People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award went to Shadow in the Cloud (Dir.  Roseanne Liang). Held yearly every September, TIFF has become one of the most important film events on the festival calendar. It showcases more than 300 films and it plays host to so many industry guest from around the world.

Search For Nigeria’s Oscar Entry Closes October 2
WITH the October 2 final date of submission of entries drawing close, the Nigerian Oscar Selection Committee (NOSC) say they are still calling for feature film entries by Nollywood filmmakers into the 93rd Academy Awards otherwise known as the Oscars.

The Academy Awards recently opened entries to honour the best new films released globally, with the event set to hold on April 25, 2021. According to the committee’s chairperson, Chineze Anyaene, submissions will close on October 2, 2020, after which the committee will begin the process of considering the entries received from where entry will be sent to the Academy as Nigeria’s entry for the category of Best International film. The global COVID-19 pandemic mandated the closure of commercial motion picture theatres worldwide. Until further notice – and for the 93rd Academy Awards year only, the country selected films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available through a reputable commercial streaming distribution service or video on demand may qualify for awards consideration in the International Feature category for the 93rd Academy Awards.

Revealing the new rules for award participation, Chineze stated, “due to guidelines and government-mandated rules to manage Coronavirus spread, filmmakers have to provide to the Academy documentation (original document(s) and an English translation) of government-mandated theatre/cinema closure dates, previously planned theatrical release and steaming distribution or video on demand agreements”. Eligible films have to be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film official selection. Films that, in any version, receive a nontheatrical public exhibition or distribution before their first qualifying release will not be eligible for consideration. According to the Selection Committee, submission is set to close on 2 October 2020. Filmmakers can submit their entries by visiting the NOSC website. The Selection Committee is officially recognised by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to make submissions on behalf of the Nigerian film industry. The 93rd Nigerian Oscar Selection Committee members include, Anyaene (Chairperson), Mahmood Ali-Balogun (Vice-Chairperson), Adetokunbo Odubawo, Bruce Ayonote, Charles Novia, Ego Boyo, Mildred Okwo, Moses Babatope, Omoni Oboli, Shaibu Husseini, Victor Okhai and Yibo Koko. Nigeria made its first submission in 2019 with Genevieve Nnaji’s Lion Heart. Although the entry was later disqualified, observers say that the submission in 2019 represented a pivotal moment for the industry. Even Anyaene said the submission has opened a new dimension for the industry, which would also attract more investors. “We were able to make our first-ever entry submission to the Oscars for the International Feature Film Awards category as a country, and the awareness this has brought to the industry as a whole has been amazing. It has opened the industry to other markets, and we hope to see partnerships with other industries soon,” she explained.


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