AFRIFF 2016 opened with ‘Birth of a Nation’ by Nate Parker, a movie termed to have the final say on slavery and much talked about all over the world, having made it’s way from Sundance, to Toronto International Film festival to the London Film Festival and now having its West African premiere at AFRIFF.
The masterpiece love story/political thriller ‘76’ by Izu Ojukwu rounded off the festival as probably the most progressive feature made in Nigeria by Nigerians.
Celebrities at the event include RMD, Rita Dominic, Genevieve Nnaji, Hilda Dokubo, Chioma Ude, Kiki Omeili, Adesua Etomi, Kunle Afolayan, Chioma Ude, Kate Henshaw, Izu Ojukwu, among others.
Speaking at the event, Ojukwu said of the props: “We had to search for them for about two years. This project started in 2009. Some of these things were gathered in 2012. By the time we were ready to shoot, the owners had taken them away. So we had to start looking for fresh vintage vehicles and then refurbishing, so it took quite a while.”
The movie, he said, was done to celebrate history, “We realize that we have little respect for history, so we decided to weave a romantic story around an ugly event. If you notice, we decided to play down the assassination and the execution scene. It was a deliberate attempt not to celebrate one of the darkest moments in our history.”
Founder and Executive Director of AFRIFF, Chioma Ude expressed satisfaction at the turn out of events at this year’s festival, which featured movie screenings and topical industry sessions, provoking discourse on a number of issues while also providing networking opportunities for participants drawn from all over Africa.
“There are lots of new elements we have put into what we are doing. There are lots of added interests in what we are doing. So it has been a very exciting journey. Of course, it is very grueling putting things together in terms of logistics. We see it and nobody else sees it,” Ude said.
“People don’t know too much what the benefits of festivals are. So we’ve been spending five years teaching. We’ve left things for free, now we’ve opened them up because now we know the plethora of knowledge that comes into the festival,” she added.