A rain of stars has started to fall in Lagos as film industry heavyweights from various countries across Africa are coming together for the 2019 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF 2019).
AFRIFF is a week-long annual film festival that brings top-notch filmmaking professionals and industry tastemakers from different parts of the continent together in Nigeria for an exciting full week of cinematic experiences, networking, film premieres, screenings, training, workshops, hangouts, the Globe Awards and other activities that have become part of the festival’s tradition.
Since its debut in 2010 which took place in Port Harcourt from 1 December 1 to 5 December of that year, the festival routinely includes activities such as a workshop, film screenings, film premieres, award night and a fashion show. This year’s edition marks the ninth edition of the festival and that is because the festival did not hold in 2012.
According to the founder Chioma Ude, during an interview with Ventures Africa, the reason the festival didn’t hold in 2012 was because the organisers decided to take a hiatus in order to make better preparation for the subsequent editions. She said the one-year hiatus gave her enough time to study and meet people while looking for a proper location for the event.
As is common with major film festivals, AFRIFF 2019 also has a selection of jury tasked with selecting outstanding films and performances for special recognitions during the festival’s Globe Awards night. The Jury’s include Betty Sulty-Johnson, Victor Okhai, Chipo Zhou, Zik Zulu Okafor, Nikyatu Jusu, Don Edkins, Victor Muniafu and Tope Oshin.
The 9th AFRIFF is scheduled to take place at the newly constructed Filmhouse Cinemas at Landmark Retail Village, Lagos, and will hold from Sunday, 10 November to Saturday, 16 November.
Furthermore, the theme for the 2019 AFRIFF is “Sheroes“, in honour of women doing “extraordinary” things in the African film industry landscape.
Now, that we are done with the primer, let us now delve into the major activities that have lineup up for the 2019 AFRIFF taking place in Lagos, Nigeria.
The major activities to look out for during the festival.
1. Opening Night
AFRIFF 2019 kicked off on its opening night with a screening of the opening night film and the opening night party, both of which were by invitation only.
The opening night was well attended as African film heavyweights came to share their experience and network with their peers. Several activities also took place to keep them informed and entertained.
Opening Night Film
For its opening night film, organisers of AFRIFF 2019 screened For Sama, a documentary film about the Syrian civil war told from the female perspective. It has been described as a love letter from a young mother to her daughter. For Sama was directed by Waad Al-Khateab and Edward Watts. It stars Hamza Al-Khateab, Sama Al-Khateab and Waad Al-Khateab.
The film had previously been screened at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and was also released in the US in July 2019. It has also won several awards. You can find out more about the film by visiting For Sama Film website or reading the Afriff’s review of the film.
Opening Night Party
At the end of the screening of For Sama, per tradition, the opening night party kicked off. The party was held at the Landmark Towers Rooftop with a dress code that said Cocktail.
2. The Screening
Starting from today, a number of exciting films will be screened during the festival. About 160 world-class films by African filmmakers and friends of Africa will be screened at AFRIFF 2019, so surely, there is something to cater for every taste.
Submissions are usually received from different countries across the world and some of the entries are selected for screening during the festival. It was reported that about 4,000 submissions were received for AFRIFF 2019 from over 130 countries.
The film genres for screening include feature films, short films, animation, student short films, documentaries and international panorama. Yes, we certainly think that film lovers would have a ball from the wide choices available.
About 28 Nigerian films were reported to have made it to the final selection for screening at the festival. You can check out the full list of the selected films.
AFRIFF 2019 screenings will take place from Monday, 11 November to Friday, 15 November between 12 noon and 10 pm daily.
3. Training and Workshops
Another activity to watch out for at AFRIFF 2019 is the value-packed free training and talent development opportunities for youths and aspiring filmmakers that have been a part of AFRIFF right from its first edition.
AFRIFF Talent Development Workshops are meant to provide beginners and intermediate courses for young people while Masterclasses are put together for more established filmmakers and professionals in the industry.
Over the years, AFRIFF claims to have provided education for over 200 youngsters and students in areas like Sound for Film, Cinematography and Screenwriter with the support of some partners.
AFRIFF Talent Development Workshops
The AFRIFF 2019 classes for beginners and intermediate level will take place from Monday, 11 November to Friday, 15 November by 10 am to 5 pm daily. The courses available include Acting, Basic DSLR Filmmaking and Story.
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AFRIFF 2019 TALENT DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS. Monday, November 11th, 2019 – Friday, November 15, 2019. For Shortlisted Students only Venue: LANDMARK TOWERS, Water Corporation Drive, Victoria Island, Lagos. Beginners & Intermediate Classes – ACTING facilitated by @hildadokubo . . . . . #AFRIFF2019 #ActingClass #AfricanFilmMakers #AfricanCinema #MovieLovers #FilmFestival #Nollywood #FilmSchool #filmbusiness #tvbusiness #LagosCity #Nigeria #lagosnigeria #africans #sheroes
The AFRIFF 2019 Masterclass sessions for shortlisted established filmmakers and professionals will also take place from Monday, 11 November to Friday, 15 November.
There is an Acting Masterclass, Documentary Masterclass and Directing Masterclass scheduled.
4. AFRIFF Industry Programmes
Although for many attendees the films are the attention catcher at the Africa International Film Festival, however, there are usually a lot of value-packed programmes you wouldn’t want to miss if you are a film industry practitioner or aspiring to get into the industry or maybe just an enthusiast who likes to be kept informed.
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INDUSTRY PROGRAM – Thursday, November 14, 2019. Demystifying Representation – Presentation With Fela Oke. Time: 10 am – 12 noon. ***For Registered Industry Delegates & Media Delegates. . . . . . . . #AFRIFF2019 #IndustryProgram #AfricanFilmMakers #AfricanCinema #MovieLovers #FilmFestival #Nollywood #FilmSchool #filmbusiness #tvbusiness #LagosCity #Nigeria #lagosnigeria #africans #sheroes #AFRIFFSheroes
We understand that attending all the industry programmes cannot really be possible as some programmes are scheduled to take place simultaneously, and because needs differ, we cannot say that some programmes are more important than others. Everyone would need to decide for themselves, which programme they believe would benefit them more. So, the following is a list of the industry programmes scheduled to take at AFRIFF 2019; feel free to pick the ones that work for you.
Monday, 11 November
- Developing your Festival Strategy (Panel Discussion) By Ema Edosio, Francis Brown, Abba Makama, Moderated by Chioma Onyenwe 10 am – 12 noon
- #AskHer (Panel Discussion) Tiny Mungwe, Sara Gouveia, Toyin Poju-Oyemade , Nse Ikpe-Etim & Kemi Lala Akindoju 1 pm – 3 pm
- Countries Presentation (Panel Discussion) By Dr Khiago Zilongo (Tanzania), Joel Haikali (Namibia),Lula Ali Ismail (Djibouti), South Africa, Kenya Moderated by Prudence Kalong 10 am – 12 noon
Tuesday, 12 November
- Realness Screenwriters Residency (Presentation) By Elias Ribeiro 10 am – 12 noon
- Impact, Influence and Inspire your audience… The Art of Show Business! Workshop By Giles and Nadia Acogny 10 am – 12 noon
- Films without Borders (Panel Session) By Dr Khiago Zilongo (Tanzania), Joel Haikali (Namibia), Lula Ali Ismail (Djibouti), South Africa, Kenya Moderated by Prudence Kalong, 1 pm – 3 pm
- Emerging Opportunities in Content Distribution (Panel Session) By Betty Sulty-Johnson (Trace TV), Funke Akindele, Addy Awofisayo (Youtube), Ngozi Aderigbigbe Moderated by Busola Bakinson 3 pm – 5 pm
Wednesday, 13 November
- Interactive Session for Scoring in Film Masterclass By George Acocny 10 am – 12 noon
- Engage Think Tank *Strictly by Invitation* (Roundtable Discussion) By Tiny Mungwe, Mitchel Harper Nadia Denton (Moderator), Facilitated by the British council – 10 am – 12 noon
- PUNUKA Presents – Use of Music in Film & Television Masterclass By Isioma Idigbe facilitated by Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors – 1 pm – 3pm
- Engage – Pan African Discussions (Panel Session) By Tiny Mungwe, Mitchel Harper Nadia Denton (Moderator), Facilitated by the British council Introduction by Dr.Mehret Mandefro (Ethopia)
Thursday, 14 November
- Demystifying Representation (Presentation) With Fela Oke 10 am – 12 noon
- Fireside Chat (Keynote Conversation) With Will Packer 1 pm – 3 pm
- Access to Finance (Panel Discussion) – Facilitated by Access Bank 3 pm – 5 pm
- Accelerate Filmmaker Project Session – (Presentation) With Lala Akindoju, facilitated by Accelerate TV and AFRIFF 3pm – 5 pm
Friday, 15 November
- Envivo Presents: Unity Animation Masterclass in New media Tech including VR, AR, Animation – Workshop Facilitated by Envivo Communications 10 am – 12 pm
- Introducing NVIVO Entertainment – Presentation Facilitated by Envivo Communications 1 pm – 4 pm
5. AFRIFF Networking Activites
Another exciting part of AFRIFF is the social programmes which are orchestrated to facilitate networking and exchange of ideas, contacts and other resources. These AFRIFF networking activities are mostly provided for free and they include social hangouts or meetings, cocktails and parties. Many of them, however, require an invitation for participation.
Some of the networking activities scheduled for AFRIF 2019 include:
Japanese Embassy Cocktails
This event is scheduled to take place from 5 pm to 6 pm on Monday, 11 November at Shiro, Landmark Village. This event is strictly by invitation.
The McCallan Dinner
The event is scheduled to take place at a secret location between 7 pm and 9 pm on Thursday, 14 November.
There are two hangouts scheduled for AFRIFF 2019. The first one is scheduled to take place at Crossroads, Eko Hotel and Suites from 9 pm to 12 midnight on Wednesday, 13 November while the second one will take place at Toy @ Traffic Bar in Ikoyi, also from 9 pm to 12 midnight on Thursday, 14 November.
The Special Screenings
The special screenings are not meant for everybody; only attendees with an All-Access Pass can be at the screening. Two of such screenings are part of the schedule of AFRIFF 2019. There is a special screening for Rabbit Proof Fence between 7 pm and 10 pm on Wednesday, 13 November and another one for Walking With Shadows from 7pm to 10 pm on Thursday, 14 November.
There are two great parties you wouldn’t want to miss as part of AFRIFF 2019. These are the festival party which will take place at Moist Beach in Victoria Island after the closing film, and the award after party; a grand after-party that will take place at The View, Twin Waters to celebrate the “AFRIFF 2019 GLOBE AWARDS”.
6. Closing Night
After one full week of cinematic experiences into the hearts of African filmmaking from features to animations, documentaries, international panorama as well as training and workshops, the 9th AFRIFF will close the curtains with the closing film, followed by a grand festival party before finally calling it a wrap the following day; with the Globe Awards and the awards’ after-party.
Guests are expected to show up for the Closing Film by 7 pm and the dress code simply says, “Cocktail“.
The closing film, The Ghost And The House Of Truth is a film by Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotosho. The film had its world premiere at EMC Empire Theater 12 in New York on 20 September 2019.
According to the IMDB entry for the film, The Ghost And The House Of Truth tells the story of a counsellor “Bola Ogun, who facilitates reconciliation sessions between convicts and the victims of their crimes. When her own daughter goes missing, her belief in forgiveness is tested.”
The film stars Susan Wokoma Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Toyin Oshinaike, Mario Obruthe, Imoleayo Olusanya, Dara Egerton-Shyngle and more.
7. AFRIFF Globe Awards
The highlight of the Africa International Film Festival has always been its highly coveted Globe Awards. Ini Edo, Rita Dominic and Lala Akindoju were among the winners at the 2018 AFRIFF Globe Awards.
The 2019 AFRIFF Globe Awards is scheduled to take place at The Maradiva, Twin Waters in Oniru, Lagos, from 7 to 10 pm. The dress code says “Black Tie” and the event is strictly by invitation. It starts with the red carpet and cocktails around 6 pm.
The award after-party will take place at The View, Twin Waters and AFRIFF 2019 will be a wrap.
Dedicated to “Sheroes”, AFRIFF 2019 surely looks like another exciting value-packed edition that shouldn’t be missed. This year’s event has solid backing from powerful sponsors like Access Bank, US Consulate, Nvivo TV, Filmhouse group, Century group and others.
In summary, the 7 major components of AFRIFF 2019 to watch out for include The Opening Night, The Screenings, The Trainings, AFRIFF Industry Programmes, AFRIFF Networking Activities, The Closing Night and AFFRIF Globe Awards.