By Our Reporter
Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade has been honoured by the organizers of Abuja International film festival for his support to the growth of the Nollywood industry.
According to the organizers, the governor’s role in funding the sector, including creating an office for the growth of the sector was very critical.
Lagos State governor, Babjide Sanwo-olu, as well as his Bauchi state counterpart, Bala Mohammed were also among the awardees.
Founded 18 years ago by veteran Nollywood filmmaker, Fidelis Duker, the Abuja International Film Festival which is Anglophone West Africa’s longest running film festival, continues to honor some eminent Nigerians for their support for the industry.
While governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State was honoured for his 1B naira intervention fund for Nollywood filmmakers resident in Lagos, his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed was honored for his efforts in trying to develop the tourism sector through the movie industry.
In the Special Recognition category, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board was honoured for his innovative regulatory frameworks for the industry.
The film festival received a total of 1,771 films from 67 countries, while about 51 films and filmmakers respectively made the nominees list at awards ceremony which held at the Silverbird Cinemas Abuja.
In what could be referred to as the return of Anglophone West Africa’s Longest running film festival, it was an evening where Nigerian Films and Filmmakers dominated most of the award categories of the 18th edition of the Abuja International Film Festival with the theme: SEE BEYOND – Film Industry under the new normal.
According to the Festival Director Temitope Duker who spoke with journalist on the sidelines of the award ceremony, held last Thursday at the Silverbird Cinemas, 115 films were screened during the 5 days film festival.
A total of 15 Films and Filmmakers carted home the awards on the night.
The Film Festival also organized 3 specific industry related Masterclasses for Producers, Actors and Writers during the 5 days event. The Workshops had a large turn of aspiring and established filmmakers.
The event played host to top movie actors and producers like Segun Arinze, Lancelot Imaseun, Papel Paul, Bond Emeruwa, Association of Movie Producers Nigeria President Peace Anyiam Osigwe, Aljazeera News Editor Fidelis Mba, Special Assistant New Media to the Vice President Philip Obin, Founder Kaduna International Film Festival Isreal Audu, Executive Secretary Lagos State Censors Board Bukola Adaminoju, Officials of Nigerian Film Corporation, Natonal Film and Video Censors Board amongst several dignitaries.
The Film Festival was returning after the 2020 edition was stalled due to covid-19 restrictions, winners of the virtual edition however had the opportunity of receiving their awards at this year’s edition.
Festival Communication Officer, Fidelia Duker, confirmed to journalist that unlike the 2020 edition that had only 600 entries with 92 selected for screenings and 42 nominated for possible awards, Nigerian filmmakers won 9 out of the 15 categories.
“As the world unite together to fight the global pandemic that prevented physical gathering last year, it is important we begin to see films as a tool to air our own opinions; make judgments and become part of the story-telling traditions passed down to us through generations now enhanced and embellished with the aid of ever-captivating and improving technology,” said Duker.
Also speaking at the Film Festival, Veteran Filmmaker and Director Benin Film Academy Lancelot Imaseun commended the tenacity of the organizers for sustaining the festival this pass 18 years,
First time director who won an award under the First Film by a Director Category, Olamide Wale Akimolayan, believes the award will spur him to contribute more in the industry.
He said “It an honour , I’m very happy to be a recipient of an award like this as a first time director, it’s a privilege for me. This is my first movie, and the title is Balokun.
“Nollywood is growing, we have our movie showing all over the world and it’s gaining outside recognition, it’s a win for us.”
During the event, award winners were announced, and some of them who won include:
See list of winners below;
Efere Ozako Outstanding Experimental Film
Winner ‘Boy meets Girl’ Nigeria
Outstanding short film (Nigeria)
Winner Peter Fada ‘Soja’
Outstanding feature film (Foreign)
Winner Mucho Wang, Fangmin Wang _China ‘Love Laboratory’
Outstanding feature film (Nigeria)
Winner Papel Paul Papel ‘Eagles Wings’
Outstanding short film (Foreign)
Ralph Isenberg-United States ‘Four Motherless Children’
Outstanding male actor
Winner Ifa Iwara-Nigeria ‘Lockdown Heat’
Outstanding female actor
Winner Nse Ikpe Etim-Nigeria ‘The Wait”
Outstanding films music score
Winner ‘Tara’s Diary’ Nigeria
Outstanding film directing
Winner ‘Eagle Wings’ Papel Paul Apel Nigeria
First time directing
Winner ‘Balokun’ Olamide Wale Akimolayan-Nigeria
Outstanding documentary film
Winner ‘Golden Fish, African Fish’ Senegal Thomas Grand Moussa Diop
Outstanding student film
Winner ‘Home’ China
Festival mention for narrative
Winner ‘Love Castle’ Beatrice Ogunmola
Winner ‘Free to fly’ Nigeria
Audience choice award
Winner ‘Eagle Wings’ Nigeria
Golden jury award
Winner ‘Lockdown’ Moses Inwang Nigeria
Meanwhile, the 2022 edition of the film festival is scheduled to run from 31st October to 4th November 2022 in Abuja.