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  • Writer's pictureTribe Nation Entertainment

Nollywood Goes Global: Five Key Highlights from AFRIFF 2023 - Indigenous 2.0 Global

Last week, Lagos, the foremost economic hub of Nigeria, witnessed an influx of seasoned and burgeoning filmmakers from diverse corners of the globe, who convened for the 12th edition of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) boldly tagged, "Indigenous 2.0 Global".

Tribe Nation Theatrical Distribution at AFRIFF 2023
Tribe Nation Theatrical Distribution at AFRIFF 2023

The festival, spanning seven days, presented a compendium of 150 films, encompassing features, shorts, documentaries, animations, and student films. Attendees were afforded a distinctive opportunity to engage in enlightening masterclasses that traversed various facets of filmmaking, including cinematography, acting, film funding, stunts, and mental health. Distinguished industry experts from the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Nigeria, and other nations spearheaded these instructive sessions.


Prominent figures who graced the event included Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the esteemed Governor of Lagos State, and Eric Monchu Intong representing Afreximbank. Additionally, notable attendees featured Anita Edwards, Chief Executive Officer for Tribe Nation Theatrical Distribution, and Lillian Amah-Aluko, Head of Co-production and Strategic Partnerships, both serving as representatives of Tribe Nation Theatrical Distribution. Their presence underscored Tribe Nation's unwavering commitment to advancing the industry.


For those who were regrettably absent from the festival this year, here are five key highlights that you undoubtedly missed:

  1. Insightful Panel Discussions

  2. Star-studded Screenings and Premieres

  3. Empowering Masterclasses

  4. Networking Opportunities

  5. The Globe Awards


1. Insightful Panel Discussions:


Panel session for The Blackbook at AFRIFF 2023 moderated by Enyinna Nwigwe, featuring Editi Effiong, Richard Mofe-Damijo, and Shaffy Bello.
Panel session for The Blackbook at AFRIFF 2023 moderated by Enyinna Nwigwe, featuring director Editi Effiong, and actors Richard Mofe-Damijo and Shaffy Bello.

The AFRIFF Industry program augmented the festival experience with more than 20 panel discussions that featured prominent figures within the industry. These discussions included contributions from noteworthy individuals such as accomplished producers like Stephen 'Dr' Love (producer of They Cloned Tyrone), representatives from the legal and agency sectors, producers, and distributors affiliated with entities such as Amazon, DSTV, Multichoice, Paramount, as well as representatives from The Lagos State Government, The US Consulate, and financiers like Access Bank and Afrexim Bank. The panel talks delved into the global impact of Nollywood, dissecting pivotal aspects essential to the industry's ongoing expansion including marketing strategies, legal considerations, and insightful analyses of blockbusters using "Jagun Jagun" and "Blackbook" as case studies. Furthermore, these discussions celebrated the contributions of women in film, emphasizing a sense of community over competition.


2. Star-studded Screenings and Premieres:

Tribe Nation Theatrical Distribution Head of Co-production and Strategic Partnerships, Lillian Amah-Aluko (left), with Chief Executive Officer, Anita Edwards (right).
Tribe Nation Theatrical Distribution Head of Co-production and Strategic Partnerships, Lillian Amah-Aluko (left), with Chief Executive Officer, Anita Edwards (right).

The meticulously curated film selection at AFRIFF 2023 not only underscored Nollywood's prowess in crafting universally resonant stories but also presented a transformative cinematic experience ranging from emotionally charged documentaries to visually striking narratives. The screenings transcended conventional boundaries, spotlighting authentic narratives from across Africa, with a diverse array of films originating from Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, and Tanzania. Non-African films were not left of the mix. Hollywood productions such as Rise (Kodiak Pictures), European independent films like 4 Days to Eternity (Germany), and What No One Knows (United Kingdom), also made it to the festival's screens. Movie premieres were a dime a dozen, attracting local and international stars who graced various debut screenings across the festival. Notable films such as "Afamefuna," directed by Kayode Kasum, "Black Harvest" by James Amuta, and "I Do Not Come to You by Chance" by Ishaya Bako drew considerable attention and attendance from the luminaries of the film industry.


3. Empowering Masterclasses:


One of the often overlooked highlights of the festival were the masterclasses, where renowned directors, producers, and screenwriters shared their expertise in scriptwriting, production, and film funding. These sessions provided an in-depth, behind-the-scenes exploration of the art of cinematic excellence, covering a broad spectrum from script development and production techniques to the intricacies of securing film funding. These masterclasses transcended conventional instructional sessions; they served as invaluable opportunities for attendees to augment their skills and gain a profound, behind-the-scenes understanding of the meticulous craftsmanship that underlies cinematic brilliance.


4. Networking Opportunities:

Networking at AFRIFF 2023.
Networking at AFRIFF 2023.

Beyond its conventional festival role, AFRIFF 2023 played a pivotal role as a platform for fostering strategic collaborations and expanding opportunities for engagement with film industries in Brazil (SP Cine), France, and the UK (UCA). The festival's networking sessions served as a fertile ground for filmmakers, producers, and enthusiasts to connect and exchange ideas, underscoring a commitment to cultivating relationships essential for the growth of African cinema. AFRIFF 2023, in this dynamic nexus, transcended mere showcase status, establishing the groundwork for collaborative ventures that could shape the future landscape of African cinema, and emphasizing Nollywood's dedication to maintaining a collaborative and influential global presence.


5. The Globe Awards:

Tribe Nation Theatrical Distribution Administrative and Logistics Manager, Babatunde Etim Esin, with legendary Nollywood actor, Segun Arinze.
Tribe Nation Theatrical Distribution Administrative and Logistics Manager, Babatunde Etim Esin, with legendary Nollywood actor, Segun Arinze.

Concluding the festival was the AFRIFF Globe Awards, which recognized outstanding achievements in cinema. Notable winners included "I Do Not Come To You By Chance," "Until 23," and "Funmilayo Ransom Kuti," receiving the Oronto Douglas Best Feature Film accolade. On the international stage, "Brothers," directed by Darkhan Tulegenov, secured recognition as the Best International Feature, while Ellie Foumbi claimed the Best Director title for "Our Father The Devil." Gregory Ojefua clinched the Best Performance Male award for both "Black Harvest" and "This Is Lagos." Special Jury Prizes were conferred upon "All the Colours of the World" and "White Nanny Black Child." Additional distinctions included Best International Short Film, Best Animation, Best Student Short Film, and Best Screenplay, with Tunde Babalola acknowledged for "Funmilayo Ransom Kuti."



In summary, AFRIFF 2023 not only honored the brilliance of cinematic masterpieces but also played a pivotal role in nurturing a diverse community of creative thinkers. This collective experience left an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all participants, solidifying AFRIFF as a cornerstone for the growth and success of African cinema in the years to come.

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