9 December 2012

Nigeria: OAU Clocks 50, Celebrates Ife Film School

As the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife, Osun State clocks 50, the Department of Dramatic Arts of the institution has celebrated the birth of the Ife Film School.

The occasion, which featured film screening, seminars, workshops, exhibition and discussions by erudite scholars from the university community and the media, was part of the activities to mark third Ife International Film Festival.

Head of Department of Dramatic Arts, Professor Foluke Ogunleye, said the Ife Film School has come of age and should be submitted to both critical and academic rigours, with the view of documenting through academic publications, the activities of the school.

She disclosed that the school comprises both the trainers and the trained, adding that those lecturers who taught students the art of film making while making films themselves, and the students who trained under them and have been involved in the various aspects of film making, form bulk of the trainers and the trained.

Ogunleye stated that interactions between writers, directors and producers of films form a basis for cultural exchanges and professional meeting of minds, which would engender co-operation in the future.

Vice chancellor of the university, Professor Bamitale Omole, who was represented at the event by the Chairman, Committee of Deans, Professor Fadare, noted that there is no way the golden anniversary of the university would be marked without worthy contribution of arts.

He revealed that OAU has made a great impact on the film industry in Africa, pointing out that " right from the days of the old Institute of African Studies, film had played a prominent role in the university.

He said "Films were produced by Frank Speed in the 70's with themes of performance and entertainment. Professor Wole Soyinka also made his very important film, Blues for a Prodigal, in 1984 while he was lecturing in the university.

He disclosed that the beautiful architecture and flowers of OAU have also inspired many film producers to use it as the location of choice for shooting their films. He added that the Department of Arts has trained many generation of dramatists who have become actors, actresses, producers and directors to the international film community.

The event also featured awards to the earliest contributors in film making from the university. They include: Mr. Bankole Bello, who has worked on about 70 film documentary and commercials in the celluloid and video format and His Royal Majesty, Oba Segun Akinbola, the Aladeokun of Alade Idanre, who oversaw the structure of the university theatre and also christened it the Pit Theatre in 1973.

Those who presented papers at the event included Prof. Ahmed Yerima, whose paper centered on Imagination Versus Reality; Dr. Hyginus Ekwuazi of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan. His paper was on the university trained film makers and Mr, Femi Adesina, Deputy Managing Director of The Sun Publishing Limited. His paper dwelt on the Nigerian Press and the Development of the Film industry.

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