Though happy with the way this year’s Abuja International Film Festival went, its founder, Fidelis Duker, says the next edition would be outstanding
FOUNDER and Chief Executive Officer of the Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF), Fidelis Duker is upbeat. In fact, who wouldn’t be when yours is the oldest independent film festival in Nigeria, and you have just finished a well-attended 13th edition?
From October 4 to 7, some 3,221 visitors and 30 exhibitors converged on the Silverbird Cinemas for this year’s edition of the festival during which 65 films from 37 African and non-African countries were screened.
The roll call of guests at the festival includes three serving ministers; Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture), Muhammed Bello (FCT) and Suleiman Adamu (Water Resources), Senator Ben Murray-Bruce and diplomats from Iran, US, Argentina, Mexico, France, Ghana and China. There were also delegations from Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Togo, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire.
Nollywood equally had quality representation as filmmakers and artistes turned out enmasse. Richard Mofe Damijo, Emeka Ike, Paul Obazele, Zack Orji, Evelyn Ikunobe, Thelma Okoduwa, Segun Arinze, Judith Audu, Emeka Osai, Fred Amata, Sonny McDon, Chike Brian, Bond Emeruwa, Mahmood Ali Balogun, Sonny Mcdon and Tony Anih, amongst others, were all there.
But apart from the successful outing, what gives Duker the greatest joy is the successful innovations in this year’s programme and the reception from participants. He says, “We created some programmes that made this Abuja International Film Festival different from previous editions. We had a master class in acting facilitated by Richard Mofe Damijo, Lancelot Imasuen, Segun Arinze and Francis Duru, where over 150 actors were trained in the basics of screen acting. We also collaborated with Canon UK and Middle East to train 60 young aspiring Nigerians in cinematography and photography.
“The success was basically a function of careful planning and creating the right programming for the festival. An example is the Women in Film panel that x-rayed the dominant influence of women in Nigerian cinema lately and the FEPACI co-production and distribution workshop where countries in West Africa and others discussed areas of synergy and partnership in production, distribution and the fight against piracy.”
Following from this year’s success, Duker says preparations for the next edition have already commenced. “We are very optimistic of a bigger 2017. For me it can only be better. I have always said festivals are planned for a year so we will return to the drawing board and begin planning. What I can assure you is that we will do better and continue to raise the standard. We will add more interesting categories next year. Some of these additions will be in tune with the best global standards and we will want to get most of the categories endowed,” he stated.