The 7th edition of the Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF, came to a close last Saturday with its signature AFRIFF Globe Award which featured music, drama and most importantly, award presentations which held at the Eko Hotel Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Describing the week-long activities, as simply splendid, AFRIFF founder, Chioma Ude, expressed gratitude to her team for being with her through seven years of organizing what she describes as one of the biggest film festivals in Africa.
Hosted by Nollywood actress, Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju, supported by a French counterpart, Serge Noukoue, convener of Nollywood Week Paris, the activities which kicked off with a saxophone rendition of the Nigerian national anthem, maintained AFRIFF’s tradition of hosting a Broadway-themed show.
Welcoming guests to the ceremony, AFRIFF’s Project Director, Afie Braimoh described the festival as a week of well planned events, training over 150 students, entertaining over 200 primary schools and educating many through topical panel discussions and of course, great parties.
“It’s been seven years and we want to thank our partners and sponsors who have come on this great journey with us. As always, AFRIFF aims to please,” she said.
With over three thousand entries which produced a thousand five hundred selections, the festival, witness a series of screenings, panel discussions, trainings and sessions for school kids.
After series of screenings, the Jury finally came up with winners for the AFRIFF Globe Award. Among them were; Best Student Short Film, The Fall (South Africa); Best Short Film, 1745 (UK); Best Documentary, We Have Never Been Kids; Audience Choice Award, Lost Café by Kenneth Gyang; Best French Language Film, Hulu (Mali); Oronto Douglas Memorial Award for Best Nigerian Film, Hakkunde (Nig); Best Screenplay, Dauda Coulibali (Hulu); Best Actor, Ibrahim Kumar (Hulu); Best Actress, Lydia Forson (Keteke); Best Director, Alian Gomis (Felicite); Best Film, I Am Not A Witch (Zambia).
One of the high points of the show was Kemi Lala’s rendition the late Brenda Fassie’s Vulindlela. Her entrance was themed after the classic movie, ‘Coming to America’.
Maintaining its Broadway tradition, the night also witnessed a drama depicting the challenges filmmakers go through like interference from touts, instance charges from policemen (who may have difficulties deciphering the different contexts of the movie parlance, shoot), and most important of all, power outage.
Starring Kunle Afolayan, Kelechi Udegbe (Officer Titus), Greg Oj, the drama also proffers solutions to some of the challenges.
Addressing the audience, President of the Jury, Janaina Oliveira, from Brazil said that AFRIFF 2017 has been such a wonderful experience.
“There have been so many stories of such high quality that kept the jury busy for many hours. The jury explored stories of life, love, sorrow and hope. The only criteria that we were expected to have was to celebrate cinema and that is what we as jury have done this week in every way possible. Nigerian cinema is clearly on the move and we’d like to place emphasis on that. It was a real panorama of filming in Africa. And that is why we’d like to present the special prize for outstanding film to Moses Ewang’s movie, Alter Ego,” she said.
Also speaking, Katie Simmons, the head of Canon, Africa described AFRIFF as an exciting, all encompassing platform to showcase and celebrate the rich and diverse film industry in Africa as well as recognizing the huge opportunity that lay ahead.
“Canon is honoured to be a part of the festival in its seventh year and we look forward to continuous collaboration,” she said.
Among the scholarship winners were Alade Olufemi, Ojo Oluwafunmi, Dorcas Adetunji, Eric Nwanso, Sope Martins, Angel Oposo, Nnamdi Agbo, Moses Akerele, Amaka Okorogu and a host of others.
Meanwhile, the previous day, AFRIFF wrapped up its movie screenings with a Senegalese movie, Félicité. A French word for happiness, the movie dwells on life’s ironies and enduring love of a mother.
A film by Alian Gomis, Félicité revolves around a local singer, Félicité who desperately needs money for her 14 year-old son Samo who is involved in a motorbike accident.
Véro Tshanda Beya Mputu, a Congolese actress, plays Félicité, a role which fetched her the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
The movie also stars Gaetan Claudia (Samo), Papi Mpaka (Tabu), Nadine Ndebo (Hortense), Elbas Manuana (Luisant) and Kasai Allstars, a 25-piece musical collective based in Kinshasa, who play themselves