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Birth of a Nation, ’76 to open, close AFRIFF 2016

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor 23 October 2016   |   3:26 am
Chioma Onyenwe, Head of Programmes; Chioma Ude, Founder and Executive Director of AFRIFF and Afie Braimoh, Operations Director at the unveiling of AFRIFF 2016 in Lagos

Chioma Onyenwe, Head of Programmes; Chioma Ude, Founder and Executive Director of AFRIFF and Afie Braimoh, Operations Director at the unveiling of AFRIFF 2016 in Lagos

…Canon, Diageo join sponsorship list

Anybody, who attended the previous editions of Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), will not be disappointed for many reasons: the fantastic organisation, quality programming, noticeable presence of actors, directors and producers from different African countries, the US, Canada and the UK, and don’t mention, the fun and excitement.

This season, the yearly fiesta returns for its sixth year of cinematic celebration with an impressive line-up of movie premieres, film screenings, industry sessions, master classes and other festival programmes holding in Lagos, Nigeria, from November 13 to 20, 2016.

Announcing the festival programme at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday, October 14, AFRIFF Founder/Executive Director,
Ms. Chioma Ude, said Lagos will, once again, wear the tourism ambiance, playing host to filmmakers and actors from around the world, with over 100 films showing at the newly opened FilmOne-IMAX and Genesis Deluxe Cinema, both in Lekki, Lagos.

Ude appeared to have struck the right cord when she announced Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation and Izu Ojukwu’s celebrated film on the 1976 military putsch in Nigeria, ’76, as the opening and closing films respectively, a disclosure which was received with loud ovation.

Canon Europe Ltd, leading provider of digital cameras, and Diageo Nigeria, world’s premium beverage company join the list of resourceful partners and developmental agencies like Ford Foundation, British Institute, Lagos State, Africa Magic, MultiChoice Nigeria, Access Bank, Bank of Industry, Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN), Afrinolly, African Film Consortium (AFC), FilmOne-IMAX and Genesis Deluxe Cinemas at the press parley and cocktail launch.

According to the AFRIFF boss, festival guests are up for the best of times during the event, as all the films in official line-up are products of the new narratives for African cinema and Black films world over.

In addition to the wide range of films, the festival, according to Ude, will also offer industry platforms for skill acquisition, financing, pitching, symposia on alternative revenue streams and piracy.

Ude noted that one of the core objectives of the festival is the talent development where AFRIFF has been engaging with its partners in creating opportunities for young people to explore filmmaking.

“Amongst our Shorts programme are films made by young people, selected from last year’s training and talent development programmes,” she said.

Speaking on Canon’s partnership with AFRIFF, Managing Director of CCNA, Roman Troedthandl, said: “It is incredible to see how far AFRIFF has come in the past six years in terms of receiving acknowledgement within the international film industry. The festival has grown from strength to strength in these years. CCNA is proud to partner with AFRIFF and contribute to this success. We are looking forward to this year’s festival and the world class cinema that will be screened.”

Executive Producer of ‘76, Prince Tonye Princewill, who spoke from London where the film is being screened at the London International Film Festival, said, “the honour of our film being chosen to close the Africa International Film Festival cannot be described with words. The film has been honoured around the world, but recognition at home means everything to us. The field for Nigerian films is very strong this year, so it is especially rewarding for ‘76 to receive this nod. We are proud of the AFRIFF organisers and hope we can do them justice.”

Kene Mkparu, who spoke on behalf of Filmone-IMAX and The Birth of a Nation, noted, “FilmOne Distribution & Filmhouse Cinemas are truly honoured to be a part of bringing this amazing re-telling of a remarkable piece of African history to the continent of Africa. And like Nate Parker (writer, director, producer and star of the movie) himself said, what better platform to present The Birth Of A Nation to the continent than the biggest African film festival, AFRIFF, here in Lagos Nigeria. We are also delighted that this movie is so important to our partners 20th Century Fox that senior executives of Fox (including Paul Higginson, Executive Vice President, EMEA) as well as, stars of the movie will be here, live, in Lagos to launch the Birth of A Nation. This is a movie all Africans must get to the cinema to see. It is our story we never knew, action packed, resilient spirit of man, godliness, hard-hitting, tear-jerking, emotional, thought-provoking and very, very well made.”

In the last few years, the Ude-organised festival has been a great advertisement for African cinema. A lot of good movies have been screened at the festival. In the same vein, an abundance of feature films, documentaries, short films and student short films have angled for attention.

The festival has equally attracted movie figures such as, Rita Dominic and Lynn Whitfield (AFRIFF ambassadors), Andy Amenechi, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Fidelis Duker, Lancelot Imasuen Oduwa, Desmond Elliot, Segun Arinze, Kunle Afolayan, Omoni Oboli, Chinedu Ikedieze, Uche Jombo, Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha, Madu C. Chikwendu, Iyen Agbonifo, Bharia Mcwizu, Kemi Lala-Akindoju and OC Ukeje.

Also, in the mix are Nigerian actors and producers based in the Diaspora. They include; Jude Idada, Gbenga Akinnagbe and the boxer and actor, Ngoli Ngor Onyeka Okafor.

The selection for this year includes, 93 Days (Nigeria) by Steve Gukas, The CEO (Nigeria) by Kunle Afolayan, Vaya (South Africa) by Akin Omotoso, The Cursed Ones (U.K) by Nana Obiri, The Wedding Ring (Niger) by Rahmatou Keita, Kati Kati (Kenya) by Mbithi Masya, If Tomorrow Never Comes (Ghana) by Pascal Amanfo, Remember Me (Nigeria) by Izu Ojukwu, Breathe (South Africa) by Mark Dornford-May, The Missing God (Nigeria) by Ubaka Joseph, Unspoken (Nigeria) by Remi Vaughan-Richards, Green White Green (Nigeria) by Abba Makama, The Unseen (Namibia) by Perivi Natjavivi, N.G.O (Uganda) by Arnold Aganze, Gidi Blues (Nigeria) by Femi Odugbemi, Daggers of Life (Ghana) by Paapa Otoo, Shadow of the Passion (Burkina Faso) by Ado Bambara, Ojukokoro (Nigeria) by Dare Olaitan, Bala Bala Sese (Uganda) by Lukyamuzi Bashir and The Arbitration (Nigeria) by Niyi Akinmolayan.

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AFRIFF 2016Chioma Ude
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  • Tosin

    Is Birth Of A Nation in theaters in Nigeria now?