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African-featured film festivals & awards 2023

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By Mercy Kelani

TIFF, AFRICUFF and AMAA 2023 promoting African cultural diversity and richness.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) ended on September 17th with an exquisite award ceremony, regardless of the twin Hollywood strikes; the festival began on September 7th. The twin Hollywood strikes was initiated by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America, and it led to low buzz for TIFF this year. For months now, the strike has been embarked upon by the bodies and there is no possibility that it will be called-off anytime soon.

Also, “The Boy and the Heron” by Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese director, was used to opened the festival. The movie has to do with the voyage of a boy into a magical world after his mother died in the Second World War. It is accounted that this is the first time the festival will open with a Japanese film. The festival screened more than 200 films within the 11-days of the event, featuring premieres such as “Dumb Money”, starring Seth Rogen and Paul Dano which centers on amateur investors who transformed GameStop to a Wall Street phenomenon in 2021.

“I Do Not Come To You By Chance” by Genevieve Nnaji.

“Knox Goes Away” by Michael Keaton was also screened, and it starred Al Pacino. Also, two Nigerian films produced by two Nigeria-born filmmakers also got prominence at the festival. The first film is “Orah” by Lonzo Nzekwe. It was said that the film featured in the film segment and it has caught a distribution deal. The second film is “I Do Not Come To You By Chance” by Genevieve Nnaji. It was stated that the film had been screened three times in the special showcase category of the festival.

A host of directorial debuts graced the TIFF big screens. They include Kristin Scott Thomas’ North Star and Patricia Arquette’s Gonzo Girl. In addition, films directed by actors were also screened, including Michael Keaton’s Knox Goes Away, Chris Pine’s Poolman and Anna Kendrick’s Woman of the Hour. Pedro Almodovar, a Spanish director, was one of the awarded nominees of TIFF Tribute Award this year. The African Cultural Film Festival (AFRICUFF) is also coming up in a month’s time.

AFRICUFF to feature 50 African-themed films for competition.

Emem Isong-Misodi, a notable director, producer and writer, and also the master planner of the festival announced that the festival will commence from October 26th – 29th and will be held in Houston, Texas. Emem added that the aim of the festival is to enhance deeper appreciation of cultural diversity and promote vibrant exchange of ideas. The director and producer of Ayanma and other vibrant Nollywood films discussed that the four-day Afrocentric film festival will be based on celebrating documentaries, short films and African films in order to open the artistic and cultural beauty of the black race to the world.

More than 50 African-themed films will be part of the competition and competitive categories of the festival. Dr. Husseini Shaibu, a creative industry expert and foremost film journalist, will be the team-lead of an eight-man jury which includes Obi Emelonye, the filmmaker, and Dr. Victor Okhai, the President of the Director Guild of Nigeria, for nomination of films that would be awarded for artistic expression and cultural richness. More so, an award ceremony, networking, workshops and panel discussions will be part of the festival.

102 of 380 entries were commended by the College of Screeners.

According to the organizers of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), the nomination of the award for the 2023 edition will come up on September 21st. Tony Anih, the Director of Administration of the AMAA, affirmed that the President of the Jury, Keith Shiri, will make the announcement for the 2023 edition. Shiri, the former president that chaired the festival in 2022, is expected to oversee the meeting of the 12-man board of international jurors for this year’s awards. More than 380 entries were received, but only 102 were duly commended by the College of Screeners and have been passed to the jury for the nomination. He explained that the fifth stage of selection for nominations is the College of Screeners.

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