Nigeria is famous for developing the phenomenal Nollywood, the largest film industry in Africa and producing more home videos than Hollywood, and second only to Bollywood in the world. But there are currently only five credible international film festivals in Nigeria and none of them has a film market. They may not be in competition with Cairo, Durban and other notable international film festivals in Africa, but they are showing great prospects of becoming the best organized in the continent.
The first credible international film festival in Nigeria was the Lagos International Forum on Cinema, Motion Picture and Video in Africa, organized by Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) from 2001 to 2006. It attracted local and international filmmakers, and was supported by the Nigerian film Corporation and French Embassy. It started from when Chief Tunde Oloyede was President of ITPAN and continued successfully when Mr. Femi Odugbemi succeeded him as President of ITPAN. But the film festival has been abandoned since the last edition.
The selection of the following five international film festivals is based on professional competence, experience and expertise of the founders and organizers in the film industry.
A credible film festival should have a credible management team and organizing committee. Any film festival without an organizing committee cannot be credible and will definitely be dysfunctional, which is a glaring setback of the irregular annual Lagos International Film Festival, and also the annual Eko International Film Festival I founded in August 2009, which has not been what a real film festival should be, because it is currently being mismanaged without a festival director, without a functional office and without any organizing committee. The company organizing the film festival has contravened the constitution and reduced it to an ordinary film show of movies, without any programmer and without any selection committee.
The following are the best and most credible international film festivals in Nigeria.
– The Zuma Film Festival (ZIFF) was formerly known as the National Film Festival, and was renamed Zuma from the third edition, held from March 11 -16, 2006 in Abuja. It is organized every two years by the Nigerian Film Corporation. Zuma is still a credible international film festival and one of the most accomplished Nigerian filmmakers, Newton Aduaka, chaired the jury of the 2014 ZUMA International Film Festival.
– The annual Abuja International Film Festival founded by Mr. and Mrs. Fidelis Duker and their NAFIFO Ventures, started in 2004, and has the most longstanding organizing committee of accomplished Nigerian filmmakers and established stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry. It has been having well chaired competitions with prizes for local and international filmmakers and regular film workshops and seminars. It is the only international film festival in Abuja, and an avenue to attract and boost film tourism. It is affiliated with the Durban International Film Festival, Dahlegona International Film Festival, Georgia, Zimbabwe International Film Festival and Commonwealth International Film Festival. http://www.abujafilmfestng.org/
– The annual Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) was founded in 2010 by Ms. Chioma Ude and the inaugural edition was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. She started AFRIFF after being the local producer of the ION International Film Festival (IONIFF), a global touring festival originating from Hollywood. And I wrote on the closing ceremony of the 2011 edition held at the Lagos Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos. The report was published widely in Nigeria and also on Modern Ghana. AFRIFF has been attracting some of the best local and international filmmakers and movie buffs, and Newton Aduaka’s “One Man’s Show“ (Winner of the FIPRESCI International Critics Award at 2013 FESPACO ) screened at AFRIFF 2013. http://afriff.com/about/afriff-history/
– Lights, Camera, Africa!!! Film Festival was created in 2011 by Mr. Dayo Adegoke and his wife Mrs.Ugoma Adegoke, Co-Founders of The Life House, which organizes the annual international film festival. Mrs. Adegoke is the Festival Director, which is among the best organized international film festivals in Nigeria, and has a partnership with the African Film Festival Inc., New York, U.S.A. http://lightscameraafrica.com
– iREPRESENT (iREP) International Documentary Film Festival (Irep) is like Nigeria’s version of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) – the foremost documentary film festival in Europe. iREPRESENT (iREP) was founded in 2010 by the troika of Femi Odugbemi, Jahman Anikulapo and Makin Soyinka. It is now one of the leading international documentary film festivals in Africa, as well as co-host of the Dok.Network Africa programme at the 30th Anniversary edition of the Dok.Fest in Munich, Germany. Femi Odugbemi, Co-founder and Executive Director of iREP, has established working partnerships with Ag-Dok, the highly influential German association of independent film producers, and a founding signatory to the Documentary Network Africa, DNA, an influential documentary platform featuring filmmakers from over 45 countries in the continent. http://irepfilmfestival.com/
~ Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima is an award-winning writer and Publisher/Editor of NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®, Nigerians Report Online and other publications and CEO of International Digital Post Network Limited and other companies.