3rd Eko International Film Festival Pulls More Crowds on Closing Day
Aloysius Onyejegbu, Nollywood actor and Festival Coordinator of Eko International Film Festival smiling beside Mr. Fidelis Duker, prolific Nollywood filmmaker and Founder/CEO of Abuja International Film Festival with President of Eko International Film Festival Mr. Hope Obioma Opara and Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Founder/Festival Director of Eko International Film Festival on the opening day at the atrium of the Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
Felix Omokagbo Jegede, Festival Coordinator, Screen Outdoor Open Air Cinema. on the opening day at the atrium of the Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
The third Eko International Film Festival closed with an impressive audience Saturday night as Michael Oke’s white guy dating black girl love story ?Foreign Love and the world premiere of C.J. Obasi’s Jim & Joan attracted more people than the opening day as the crowd of movie lovers and others who came to the event left satisfied and commended the organizers, Supple Communications Limited.
From the inaugural edition in 2010 to the third edition, Eko International Film Festival has attracted top filmmakers from the host country Nigeria, the US and Europe such as the multiple awards winning documentary filmmaker and political rights activist Iara Lee, the Korean born Brazilian whose latest documentary film The Suffering Grasses on the current Syrian Crisis was seen in West Africa for the first time and rated as the best documentary feature of the film festival ahead of the multiple awards winning Project Happiness of Randy Taran and John Sorensen and other good documentaries in the official selection of the third Eko International Film Festival. The opening film Nicolas Wadimoff’s Operation Libertad was the most outstanding feature. Noel Gálvez’S Blue Sheep was rated as the most outstanding short documentary for its profound illustration of the triumph of the human spirit in spite of the challenges of survival in a hostile environment as shown in the magical story between a documentary and a fictional plot set in Villamayor de Campos in Zamora (Spain) where many neighbours are affected by Cancer, caused by an energy tower.
A Nigerian actor Jean Abbey who played the role in Jim & Joan with Mr. Hope Obioma Opara and C.J. Obasi, director of Jim & Joan.
Niji Akanni’s Heroes & Zeroes was rated as the most outstanding Nigerian film and also the most entertaining for the audience ahead of Foreign Love by American based Nigerian filmmaker Michael Oke. CJ Obasi’s debut Jim & Joan was the most daring and scary film at the film festival with hints of Lars von Trier’s outrageous expressionism that the young Nigerian filmmaker said has influenced his themes.
What makes a successful film festival is the quality of the content and over ninety percent of the 22 films screened at the third edition of the film festival have been award winning films at other major international film festivals in Europe, US and Asia. But any film festival is not complete without film workshops and film markets for filmmakers, distributors and others and they have been missing at every edition of the Eko International Film Festival. And competitions have been excluded for now, because of lack of funds and inadequate logistics. The much publicized maiden Nollywood Divas Awards that would have been the high point of the third Eko International Film Festival was postponed until further notice, because the organizers did not receive the cooperation of the Actors Guild of Nigeria ((AGN) due to factional disagreements and petty rivalries among the members who have been boycotting the film festival after their attempts to dictate to the organizers failed.
One of the top nominees of the Nollywood Divas Awards Rita Dominic the best actress at the 2012 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and another nominee were seen at the 2012 Kuramo Conference same Saturday night at the Conference Centre of Eko Hotel & Suites International and they wondered how the organizers could launch the awards without any formal invitation given to the 20 nominees.
“The organizers have not done the right thing, that is why we cannot attend the film festival,” said one of them.
But Mr. Hope Obioma Opara, President of Eko International Film Festival said he actually invited everyone of them through a formal official letter of invitation addressed to Ibinabo Fiberisima, President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) which was the right thing to do. In fact, he also met with former president of the AGN, Ejike Asiegbu and Zik Zulu Okafor, President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) months ago, but internal disputes caused by different interest groups in the guilds have made him to postpone the Nollywood Divas Awards till 2013.
“We are still going to launch the maiden Nollywood Divas Awards sponsored as a separate event before the next Eko International Film Festival,” said Mr. Opara.
He thanked Heineken, Silverbird Cinemas, Silverbird TV, Galaxy TV, National Mirror, Daily Sun, The Nation, The Guardian, Entertainment Express, Daily Champion, OnoBello and others for their cooperation and support to make the third Eko International Film Festival a successful event and increasing his determination to improve the standards in the future editions regardless of the challenges.