The inaugural edition of the Lekki International Film Festival will hold next week, from June 19 to 22, the organisers have said. It joins existing festivals of films and film societies all over the continent.
According to the organisers, they are determined to make the festival a standout event in terms of upscale films and festival seminars and by becoming the key international stakeholders' hub.The head of the festival secretariat, Ayodele Ayobolu, revealed that the film fest is in close tie with some international festivals already, including the Pan-African Festival in France with which extensive partnerships have been concluded. Ayobolu said the festival is an opportunity for film experts and professionals to network and collaborate with their counterparts on programmes of other festivals.
There are also plans to combine resources and build platforms for distribution of films and video assets in new and developing markets particularly the black and African fringe markets of the United States and Europe.One of the key platforms of the event is the Festival Forum that already has a confirmed list of speakers including, Segun Oyekunle, president of Arufa Productions in Los Angeles, USA, who is also a notable screen writer and administrator. Oyekunle is currently on secondment to Nigeria as the Managing Director of Abuja Film Village.
Duro Oni, former vice-chancellor of the University of Lagos and professor of Creative Arts, one of Nigeria's pioneer production designers, will be addressing the seminar.
Other speakers, session chairs and coordinators include, Joy Namure, a well-known producer and make-up advisor. She is also the General Manager, Operations, at Africa Independent Television (AIT) Abuja; Tajudeen Agboola, a well-known production and post-production specialist; George Osodi, the acclaimed and award-winning photographer will also be addressing the seminar.
On the panels also are, Kingsley Uranta, an instructor for the BBC World Service Trust and Assistant General Manager at Channels Television; Elizabeth Ikem, who until recently was the Rector of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and Chioma Okpara a media consultant.
A new film set in the Kano Emirate over a hundred years ago produced by Balaraba Ramat Yakubu and entitled, Palace Coup, is one of those selected early. Balaraba is also a younger sister of the late Nigerian Head of State, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed.
Ayobolu also said the emphasis of the festival for 2019 is on the local scene even though films from Europe and the United States have been selected. They include, films by Jude Fokwang a Cameroun-born director based in Denver, USA; Pascai Atumah based in Los Angeles, British filmmaker Dante Montagnani and Malcolm Benson. Topping the list of Nigerian directors sure to show at the festival is Nollywood ace director, Lancelot Imasuen.On the film festival's name, Ayobolu said it was adopted, because Lekki somehow indicates the brightest and the best. It also 'suggests upscale'.
"The vision of the festival is a very big one. It is not just another event that features screenings and awards. The time has come for some big steps to be taken for the advancement of our entertainment and movie industry in particular. We have the enthusiasm, especially among our younger professionals, what we want to do is to expand the opportunities," he said.
Ayobolu added, "the festival has a promo tagline, which is, festival on the Lagos upside. Everything is carefully thought out. We want to be the hub for the best and the most daring and adventurous. Many young and first timers have had their films selected for the festival.
"It is an event that plans to affect the whole city and country by stimulating civil participation and attendance." At the award/gala night, which is the grand finale, the festival plans to honour pioneers and legends of the movie industry. A clip from the television series Mirror in the Sun, a 1980s production directed by Lola Fani-Kayode is on the line up.