The year, Anglophone West Africa’s longest running film festival; the Abuja International Film Festival which was founded 18 years ago by veteran Nollywood Filmmaker Fidelis Duker has honored some eminent Nigerians for their support for the industry.
The Honors list this year had the Governor of Lagos. Mr. Babajie Sanwo-Olu for his 1B naira intervention fund for Nollywood filmmakers resident in lagos,
Also honored is the Governor of Cross Rivers State, Prof Ben Ayade who created an office for Nollywood and has for several years funded several Nollywood films, making the list of those honored are the Governor of Bauchi State who has tried to develop the tourism sector through film and completing the list of awardees in the Special Recognition category is the Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board Alhaji Adedayo Thomas for his innovative regulatory frameworks for the industry.
The film festival received a total of 1,771 films from 67 countries, while about 51 films and filmmakers respectively made the nominees list at awards ceremony which held at the Silverbird Cinemas Abuja.
In what could be referred to as the return of Anglophone West Africa’s Longest running film festival, it was an evening where Nigerian Films and Filmmakers dominated most of the award categories of the 18th edition of the Abuja International Film Festival with the theme: SEE BEYOND – Film Industry under the new normal.
According to the Festival Director Temitope Duker who spoke to Journalists on the sidelines of the award ceremony which held on Thursday at Silverbird Cinemas that 115 films were screened during the 5 days film festival.
A total of 15 Films and Filmmakers carted home the awards on the night.
The Film Festival also organized 3 specific industry related Masterclasses for Producers, Actors and Writers during the 5 days event. The Workshops had a large turnout of aspiring and established filmmakers.
The event played host to top movie actors and producers like Segun Arinze, Lancelot Imaseun, Papel Paul, Bond Emeruwa, Association of Movie Producers Nigeria President Peace Anyiam Osigwe, Aljazeera News Editor Fidelis Mba, Special Assistant New Media to the Vice President Philip Obin, Founder Kaduna International Film Festival Isreal Audu, Executive Secretary Lagos State Censors Board Bukola Adaminoju, Officials of Nigerian Film Corporation, Natonal Film and Video Censors Board amongst several dignitaries.
It is important to mention the Film Festival was returning in after the 2020 edition that was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic and so winners of the Virtual edition had the opportunity of receiving their awards.
Also honoured at the event were the Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, The Lagos State Video Censors Board amongs others.
According to the Festival Communication Officer Fidelia Duker, she confirmed to Journalists that, unlike the 2020 edition that had only 600 entries with 92 selected for screenings and 42 nominated for possible awards, Nigerian filmmakers won 9 out of the 15 categories.
Duker, noted that she is excited that the festival is back as a physical one after the 2020 edition that was a purely hybrid and virtual in its entirety.
“As the world unite together to fight the global pandemic that prevented physical gathering last year, it is important we begin to see films as a tool to air our own opinions; make judgments and become part of the story-telling traditions passed down to us through generations now enhanced and embellished with the aid of ever-captivating and improving technology,” said Duker.
Speaking during the Film Festival, Veteran Filmmaker and Director Benin Film Academy Lancelot Imaseun commended the tenacity of the organizers for sustaining the festival this pass 18 years,
Also speaking first time director who won an award under the First Film by a Director Category, Olamide Wale Akimolayan, believes the award will spur him to contribute more in the industry.
He said, “It an honour , I’m very happy to be a recipient of an award like this as a first time director, it’s a privilege for me. This is my first movie, and the title is Balokun.
“Nollywood is growing, we have our movie showing all over the world and it’s gaining outside recognition, it’s a win for us.”
During the event, award winners were announced, and some of them who won include:
Efere Ozako Outstanding Experimental Film
Winner ‘Boy meets Girl’ Nigeria
Outstanding short film (Nigeria)
Winner Peter Fada ‘Soja’
Outstanding feature film (Foreign)
Winner Mucho Wang, Fangmin Wang _China ‘Love Laboratory’
Outstanding feature film (Nigeria)
Winner Papel Paul Papel ‘Eagles Wings’
Outstanding short film (Foreign)
Ralph Isenberg-United States ‘Four Motherless Children’
Outstanding male actor Winner Ifa Iwara-Nigeria ‘Lockdown Heat’
Outstanding female actor Winner Nse Ikpe Etim-Nigeria ‘The Wait”
Outstanding films music score Winner ‘Tara’s Diary’ Nigeria
Outstanding film directing Winner ‘Eagle Wings’ Papel Paul Apel Nigeria
First time directing Winner ‘Balokun’ Olamide Wale Akimolayan-Nigeria
Outstanding documentary film Winner ‘Golden Fish, African Fish’ Senegal Thomas Grand Moussa Diop
Outstanding student film Winner ‘Home’ China
Festival mention for narrative Winner ‘Love Castle’ Beatrice Ogunmola
Outstanding Animation Winner ‘Free to fly’ Nigeria
Audience choice award Winner ‘Eagle Wings’ Nigeria
Golden jury award Winner‘Lockdown’
Moses Inwang Nigeria
The 2022 edition of the film festival is scheduled to run from 31st October to 4th November 2022 in Abuja.