The just concluded AFRIFF 2023 themed, “Indigenous 2.0 Global” marked a pivotal juncture in Nollywood's evolution, reaching beyond borders to embrace the global stage. The festival, distinguished by captivating screenings and the esteemed Globe Awards, showcased Nollywood's escalating influence on the worldwide cinematic landscape and the rapid globalisation of Nollywood. The cinematic extravaganza transcended conventional film festival norms, offering an immersive experience.
Here are six things you missed if you didn't attend the festival this year:
Panel Discussions: Nollywood's Global Footprint
Masterclasses: Nurturing Global Talent
Notable Attendees: More Than A Few Familiar Faces.
Networking Galaxy: Bridging Cinematic Borders
Screenings: Hidden Gems and Diverse Narratives
Globe Awards: Celebrating Cinematic Excellence
1. Panel Discussions: Nollywood's Global Footprint
AFRIFF 2023's panel discussions not only delved into Nollywood's global impact but also explored various facets crucial to the industry's growth. Seasoned industry experts engaged in conversations about the industry's transcendence, emphasising the pivotal role of its unique storytelling and diverse narratives in garnering international acclaim. The discussions, serving as a crucible for shaping the trajectory of African cinema, covered diverse topics, including marketing and film distribution strategies, legal considerations in talent representation, and insights into creating blockbusters, with “Jagun Jagun” and "Blackbook” serving as case studies. Beyond industry intricacies, a significant part of the sessions celebrated women in film, promoting a sense of community over competition and encouraging inclusivity within the cinematic realm. This multifaceted engagement underscored AFRIFF 2023 as a comprehensive platform for dialogue, innovation, and celebration within the global cinematic landscape.
"As a company, we harbor a genuine passion for the industry, and our participation in festivals like AFRIFF remains central to our collaborative initiatives." - Helene Chike, Head of Operations, The World Stage Distribution
2. Masterclasses: Nurturing Global Talent
Concurrently with the panel sessions at AFRIFF 2023, masterclasses were conducted to intricately dissect and refine the art of filmmaking. Distinguished directors, producers, and screenwriters generously imparted their expertise, delving into the nuanced elements that delineate success in the industry. The courses covered a spectrum from scriptwriting and production to film funding. These masterclasses transcended conventional instructional sessions; they served as invaluable opportunities for attendees to enhance their skills and gain an insightful, behind-the-scenes perspective into the meticulous craftsmanship underlying cinematic brilliance.
3. Notable Attendees: More Than A Few Familiar Faces
The event drew a diverse spectrum of participants, including filmmakers, actors, lawyers, film executives, dignitaries, and other professionals. Among the distinguished participants were His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Lagos State, delegates from the US Consulate, and Afrexim Bank's Chief Regional Operating Officer for Anglophone West Africa, Eric Monchu Intong. This dynamic gathering brought together professionals from Africa, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, creating a rich weave of perspectives and expertise. The convergence of such influential figures captured AFRIFF's global appeal and its role as a nexus for collaboration in the international film community.
Also in attendance was a delegation from The World Stage Distribution, whose presence at the festival was a testament to our holistic commitment to the African Film Industry; blending robust industry support, client advocacy, and a sincere dedication to collaborative efforts that spanned borders and communities. In a statement issued by our Head of Operations, Helene Chike, who represented our company at the event, she articulated, "As a company, we harbor a genuine passion for the industry, and our participation in festivals like AFRIFF remains central to our collaborative initiatives. Our proactive engagement is aimed at supporting clients, raising awareness about the distinctive distribution opportunities we offer, and providing platforms for strategic discussions with both local and international partners."
4. Networking Galaxy: Bridging Cinematic Borders
AFRIFF 2023 seamlessly connected Nollywood with the global film community, transforming the festival into a networking galaxy where cinematic constellations aligned. Going beyond the traditional festival role, AFRIFF 2023 became a celestial space fostering collaborations that extended beyond geographical boundaries, showcasing Nollywood's commitment to being a collaborative force on the global stage. The festival's networking sessions served as a fertile ground for filmmakers, producers, and enthusiasts to connect and exchange ideas, emphasizing a dedication to cultivating relationships crucial to the growth of African cinema. In this dynamic nexus, AFRIFF 2023 transcended mere showcase status, laying the groundwork for collaborative ventures that could shape the future landscape of African cinema.
5. Screenings: Hidden Gems and Diverse Narratives
At AFRIFF 2023, the meticulously curated screenings were a testament to Nollywood's ability to weave universally resonant stories. Opening the event was "Orah," directed by Lonzo Nzekwe, setting the stage for a cinematic exploration of Africa's diverse voices. The carefully selected films, including "4 Days to Eternity" directed by Konstantin Korenchuk and Simon Pilarski, "Afamefuna" directed by Kayode Kasum, "Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti" directed by Bolanle Austen-Peters, and "Beckma" directed by Best Okoduwa, broke stereotypes and offered nuanced portrayals that captivated audiences at the event. From emotionally charged documentaries to visually stunning narratives, these screenings showcased the rich tapestry of the continent's culture, history, and contemporary challenges. Beyond mere entertainment, the films underscored the festival's commitment to providing audiences with a transformative cinematic experience, emphasising authentic narratives beyond the conventional, and revealing Nollywood's power to transcend cultural differences and connect on a global scale.
6. Globe Awards: Celebrating Cinematic Excellence
The Globe Awards at AFRIFF 2023 recognized outstanding cinematic achievements. The event honoured winners across various categories, including "I Do Not Come To You By Chance," winning the Audience Choice Award, "Until 23" for Access Bank Best Short Film, and "Funmilayo Ransom Kuti" receiving the Oronto Douglas Best Feature Film accolade. Noteworthy international recognition went to "Brothers," directed by Darkhan Tulegenov, as the Best International Feature. Ellie Foumbi won Best Director for "Our Father The Devil”, and Gregory Ojefua earned Best Performance Male for “Black Harvest" and “This Is Lagos”. Special Jury Prizes were awarded to "All the Colours of the World" and "White Nanny Black Child." Other awards included Best International Short Film, Best Animation, Best Student Short Film, and Best Screenplay, recognizing Tunde Babalola for "Funmilayo Ransom Kuti."
In conclusion, AFRIFF 2023 not only celebrated cinematic masterpieces but also fostered a community of creative minds, united in their passion for storytelling and cultural representation. As the curtains fell on this edition, the festival left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all who participated, laying a foundation for a future where African cinema continues to thrive and inspire.