Solomon Elusoji

The Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), which is scheduled to run this year from October 29 to November 4, has reached significant agreements with the French and British Governments to promote film diversity and development in the country.

The French government, acting through its consul in Lagos, is set to screen five French films at the upcoming festival for two days. “The importance of AFRIFF, that is growing year after year, is a wonderful showcase for us,” the French Consul General, Lagos, Mr. Laurent Polonceaux, said, while describing AFRIFF as “one of the most important film festivals in Africa.”

The five French movies that will be screened during AFRIFF include ‘Step by Step’, an emotional movie about the physical reconstruction of a man after a serious accident; ‘Wulu’, a Franco-Malian film, ‘Boarders’, a road-trip between Bamako and Lagos; French Blockbuster ‘Valerian’ by Luc Besson, and ‘He Even Has Your Eyes’, the story of Paul and Sali, a married couple who have been struggling to adopt a child for a long time.

Also, the British Government, acting through the British Council, its foreign agency for cultural relations and educational opportunities is bringing London’s British Film Institute (BFI) into a new partnership with AFRIFF. Tagged ‘Film Connections’, the partnership also aims to share knowledge and boost co-production opportunities between filmmakers from Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

The festival’s Executive Director Ms. Chioma Ude, who started AFRIFF in 2010, has also announced ‘Waiting for Hassana’, a short film by Ifunanya ‘funa’ Maduka (Nigeria/US) and a feature, ‘I Am Not a Witch’ by Rungano Nyoni (Zambia) as the opening night films, while ‘Felicite’, an Oscar contender by Alain Gomis (France/Senegal) will close the festival.

Ude said AFRIFF is well prepared to host filmmakers and actors from around the world this year, noting that the festival continues to attract interests with a record of 3,232 film entries received this year alone.

According to British Council Head of Arts, West Africa, Ojoma Ochai, “As part of the Film Connections project, the 2017 AFRIFF will open with the screening of the Rungano Nyoni film ‘I Am Not a Witch’, on the 29th of October. There will also be screening of several acclaimed British feature and short films during the festival – showing for the first time in Nigeria, including ‘Whitney ‘Can I Be Me’ by multi-award winning British Documentarian, Nick Broomfield; ‘Under the Shadow’ by Babak Anvari, winner of the 2017 BAFTA award for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer; and ‘A Moving Image’ by Shola Amoo.”