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Film festivals promote Nigerian film industry

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By Mercy Kelani

Nigerian filmmakers faced challenges of slim budgets before film festivals.

Recently, the impacts of film festivals on the Nigerian film industry have become recognized with more value. There have been a continuous inflow of films displayed at these festivals, with full awareness of its ability to widen the reach of films by filmmakers, film enthusiasts and stakeholders. This development has reduced filmmakers worries about premiering their projects, as they are now screened at film festivals, expanding their reach from Nigeria to the entire world.

Notwithstanding this development, there are certain challenges affecting how far a filmmaker can go with film festivals. These challenges mostly affect up-and-coming filmmakers with little budgets to make a film with more factors like securing a visa, travelling and people destabilizing their plans. In order to address these challenges, bridge the gap and ensure things are easy for Nigerian filmmakers, there are now established film festivals in Nigeria with standards, reputability, in Africa and around the world.

EKOIFF is the oldest independent film festival in Nigeria.

One of the most famous African film festivals is the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF). AFRIFF is a globally recognized annual film festival usually held in Lagos, Nigeria. It was established in 2010 with the aim of highlighting an emergence of local talents in the continent and promotion of the African cinema. It embraces renowned actors, producers, directors and other members of the film industry. It is an eight-day festival that entails screening of African films, and the provision of seminars and workshops. It also organizes the Nollywood Week held to promote Nigeria’s film industry, while boosting the growth of African film projects through the AFRIFF Film Fund.

Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF) is another popular film festival hosted in Lagos, Nigeria, it is the oldest independent film festival in Nigeria. Being held annually, with a display of locally produced documentaries and films to honor African cinema. It was founded in 2009 with inclusion of workshops, panels and other enlightening activities. EKOIFF saddles itself with the responsibility elevating African cinema and culture while enabling a networking community where filmmakers can exchange their original work. The festival ensures a forum where filmmakers share ideas with industry experts for proper criticism.

Film festivals enable interaction between consumers and industry experts.

In Africa, Zuma International Film Festival (ZIFF) is the biggest festival, founded in 1995. The goal of ZIFF is to showcase unique African film and culture, offering a wide range of films from filmmakers, home and abroad. The festival accommodates thousands of guests from all over the world annually to testify to African culture and art. It involves workshops, seminars, screenings, networking events and many more. ZIFF provides up-and-coming African filmmakers with required assistance to improve their professions.

Another widely recognized yearly film festival is the Lagos International Film Festival (LIFF) which exhibits of the best African cinema. The festival focuses on expansion of the potential of African cinema and allows independent filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their work. It gives filmmakers a platform for master courses, panel discussions and seminars. The festival provides a distinctive venue for interaction between consumers and industry experts while creating networking opportunities to boost the growth of African cinema.

AIFF, oldest film festival in West Africa, is commended by UNESCO.

The capital of Nigeria, Abuja, also hosts an annual film festival tagged Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF). It was founded in 1995 and is considered as one of the oldest film festivals in West Africa. The festival is dedicated to building a better foundation for the film industry in Africa and promotion of African films and filmmakers to an international audience. It has received appraisals from UNESCO and the Berlinale Talent Campus. The festival is also committed to awarding prizes for outstanding achievement in directing, screenwriting, cinematography and producing.

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