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Nigerian Film Eyimofe Up For GWFF Best First Feature Award

Nigerian film, Eyimofe (This Is My Desire), which will have its world premiere at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, has been nominated for the GWFF Best First Feature Award.

Directed by twin brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri, Eyimofe got nominated in the Forum section, alongside Chico Ventana También uisiera Tener un Submarino (Window Boy Would Also Like to Have A Submarine) from Uruguay / Argentina / Brazil / Netherlands / Philippines, by Alex Piperno; Gorod Usnul (In Deep Sleep) from Russian Federation, by Maria Ignatenko; and Namo (The Alien) from Iran by Nader Saeiviar.

Presented by GDN Studios, Eyimofe was written by Chuko Esiri and produced by Melissa Adeyemo. The film, which has Lady Maiden Alex Ibru, Toke Alex Ibru, Olorogun Oskar Ibru, Kayode Akindele and Ifeoma Esiri as executive producers, was a 2018 Purple List Award winner and one of 10 projects chosen for last year’s IFP Narrative Lab in New York.

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Wholly financed by Nigerian investors and shot on 16mm across Lagos State, Eyimofe is a diptych that tells the story of two people’s quest for what they believe will be a better life in Europe.

Described as the alternate migrant tale, Eyimofe approaches a much-discussed topic from a new perspective: one in which you get to know who the people caught in raids and rescued from the sea are, their dreams and desires.

It stars Jude Akuwudike, Tomiwa Edun, Temi Ami-Williams, Cynthia Ebijie, Chioma Omeruah and Jacob Alexander. Arseni Khachaturan is the director of photography, while Taisa Malouf handled production design with Daniel Obasi handling costume; Andrew Stephen Lee (editor) and Akin Adebowale was in charge of music.

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Since 2006, when it introduced the GWFF Best First Feature Award, the Berlinale has shown more commitment to supporting the next generation of filmmakers. The award is endowed with 50,000 Euros, which was donated by the GWFF (Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten), a society dedicated to safeguarding film and television rights. The prize money is to be split between the producer and the director of the winning film. Additionally, the director will be awarded with a high-quality viewfinder as both a useful instrument and memorable trophy.

In total, 21 directional feature film debuts from the sections – Encounters, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino – are nominated for the GWFF Best First Feature Award. A three-person jury made up of Ognjen Glavonić, Hala Lotfy and Gonzalo de Pedro Amatria decides on the Best First Feature.

Born in 1985, the Serbian director and writer Ognjen Glavonić studied Film and TV directing at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. His remarkable filmography includes Živan pravi pank festival (Živan Makes a Punk Festival, 2014), which premiered at the Cinéma du Réel festival in Paris and Dubina dva (Depth Two, 2016), which garnered numerous awards at 70 festivals, after premiering at the Berlinale Forum in 2016. His latest work, Teret (The Load, 2018), is his first feature fiction film.

Hala Lotfy is an Egyptian director, producer and the founder of Hassala Films collective. Ann Al Sho’our Bel Berouda (Feeling Cold, 2005) is one of her notable documentary works, which received numerous awards including the Special Jury Prize at the National Film Festival in Egypt. Lotfy also created seven documentaries for the TV series Arabs of Latin America for Al Jazeera. In 2011, she was chosen by Charlotte Rampling to receive the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Award.

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Lotfy’s feature fiction debut Al-khoroug lel-nahar (Coming Forth by Day, 2012) had its European premiere at the Berlinale Forum in 2013 and won many awards including the Prize of the FIPRESCI jury and Best Director from the Arab World at Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Gonzalo de Pedro Amatria is a film programmer and scholar from Pamplona, Spain. Working as a university professor for Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, he also published essays on filmmakers, such as Hong Sangsoo, Ross McElwee, Jem Cohen or Werner Herzog. His programming experience involves the work as a programme coordinator at the Punto de Vista Festival in Pamplona until 2014 and curating film series for the likes of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, FIDMarseille and Museo Reina Sofía.

Nominated in the Ecounter section are Los Conductos (France / Colombia / Brazil) by Camilo Restrepo, with Luis Felipe Lozano and Fernando Úsaga Higuíta; Nackte Tiere (Germany) by Melanie Waelde, with Marie Tragousti, Sammy Scheuritzel, Michelangelo Fortuzzi, Luna Schaller and Paul Michael Stiehler; and animation film Zabij to i wyjedz z tego miasta (Poland) by Mariusz Wilczyński, with the voices of Krystyna Janda, Andrzej Chyra, Maja Ostaszewska and Małgorzata Kożuchowska.

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Nominated in the Panorama section are Cidade Pássaro (Brazil / France) by Matias Mariani, with O. C. Ukeje, Chukwudi Iwuji, Indira Nascimento, Paulo Andre and Ike Barry; Digger (Greece / France), by Georgis Grigorakis, with Vangelis Mourikis and Argyris Pandazaras; Futur Drei (Germany) by Faraz Shariat, with Benjamin Radjaipour, Banafshe Hourmazdi and Eidin Jalali; Kød & Blod (Denmark) by Jeanette Nordahl, with Sandra Guldberg Kampp, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Joachim Fjelstrup, Elliott Crosset Hove and Besir Zeciri; Minyan (USA), by Eric Steel, with Samuel H. Levine, Ron Rifkin, Christopher McCann, Mark Margolis and Richard Topol; Mogul Mowgli (United Kingdom) by Bassam Tariq, with Riz Ahmed; Pari (Greece / France / Netherlands / Bulgaria) by Siamak Etemadi, with Melika Foroutan, Shahbaz Noshir, Sofia Kokkali, Argyris Padazaras and Lena Kitsopoulou; Vento Seco (Brazil) by Daniel Nolasco, with Leandro Faria Lelo, Allan Jacinto Santana, Renata Carvalho and Rafael Theophilo.

The Generation Section has Irmã (Brazil) by Luciana Mazeto, Vinícius Lopes; Las niñas (Spain) by Pilar Palomero; Mamá, mamá, mamá (Argentina) by Sol Berruezo Pichon-Riviére; and Palazzo di Giustizia (Italy / Switzerland) by Chiara Bellosi. Nominees for Perspektive Deutsches Kino section are Kids Run (Germany) by Barbara Ott; and Schlaf (Germany) Michael Venus.

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