Ife International Film Festival

Communiqué of the 2nd Ife International Film Festival held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife from 26th to 30th January, 2009. 


The second edition of the annual Ife International Film Festival was held at the Oduduwa Hall/Pit Theatre of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria under the theme: African Film: Looking Back and Looking Forward. The festival attracted participation from video film industry professionals, seasoned scholars in the areas of theatre, cinema and popular culture, students and other stake holders from all over the world.

The festival drew immense support from public and private organizations like Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, VERITAS Educational Trust, Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Centre for Black African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), Integritas Services, CHAMS Nigeria Plc, Academic Publishers, Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate General Lagos, Amstel Box Office, FAN Milk Plc, and the host Institution, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.

According to Dr. Foluke Ogunleye, the Convener/Director of the Festival, the objectives of the festival include the following:

·         Building bridges of understanding among film practitioners across different parts of Africa

·         Achieving a synergy between theory and practice

·         Making films available to members of the audience through screening and exhibition

·         Fostering a sense of history through exhibition of African films produced up to date

·         Documenting scholarly ideas generated during the festival through books and journals  


In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the University and the Chief host of the festival, Prof. Michael Faborode reminded the audience that the institution has made a great impact on the film industry in Africa, with efforts of scholars like Wole Soyinka and Frank Speed. The University’s Dramatic Arts Department has also trained many generations of dramatists who have contributed greatly to the film industry as actors, actresses, directors, producers and so on.

After the festival was declared open by the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Senator Bello Gada (represented by Mr. Seyi Womiloju), two keynote addresses were presented by Prof. Manthia Diawara of New York University and Mr. Kwaw Ansah, the Chief Executive Officer of TV Africa based in Ghana. Prof. Diawara underscored the importance of film in understanding the trajectory of African culture and development. While tracing the origin and development of the film industry in Ghana, Mr. Ansah argued that the film can be used as a tool to correct negative stereotypical representations of Africa and Africans in Western media.

As part of the activities, there were lead papers delivered by the Managing Director of Nigerian Film Corporation, Mr. Afolabi Adesanya, Mr. Emeka Mba, Director General of the National Film and Video Censors Board, Prof. John R. Botha of Northwest University, South Africa, Dr. Hyginus Ekwuazi of the University of Ibadan (former Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation) and Prof. Africanus Aveh of the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. Mr. Adesanya urged African film makers to embrace the digital technology in order to enhance quality and standard in the industry.

Besides, there were paper presentations on different aspects of filmmaking by distinguished scholars from various institutions in Africa and beyond. Papers presented were stimulating and they drew animated debates among participants. There was a workshop on Voice and Speech by Prof. Wendy Coleman of Albany State University, Georgia, USA and a Master Class session with the duo of Busola Holloway (President, Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria, ITPAN) and award winning film producer, Jeta Amata. A roundtable discussion also took place with active participation of notable stakeholders.

One salient feature of the festival is that it provided a conducive atmosphere for a close interaction between students and professionals in the field, through animated and informed discussions of various films that were screened.


In the course of the foregoing activities, participants made the following observations:   Historically, African film industries share similar trends of growth and development

·         The film industry is well positioned to contribute to Africa’s socio-economic and political development

·         At the moment, the African film industry has gained prominence in the evolving global popular culture

·         In spite of this growing acclaim, however, the industry still lives with a myriad of technical and artistic challenges.

·         There is a disturbing problem of lack of adequate funding and investment, as well as necessary infrastructure

·         There is also a kind of apathy on the part of many practitioners toward training, re-training and capacity building to enhance professionalism

·         The industry stands to be enriched with greater collaborations among intellectuals, video-film practitioners, government and the audience.


On the whole, towards a better film industry in Africa, participants made the following recommendations:

·         African film makers should rise above the limitations of colonial legacies and postcolonial impediments by working towards a sustainable film culture.

·         Film practitioners should not be deluded by the current euphoric ratings of   African films in some contexts. Rather, they should constantly engage in frank self-evaluation and peer-reviewing

·         Efforts should be intensified toward overcoming the problems of low artistic and technical output, taking advantage of advancement in digital technology

·         Intellectuals and film makers should step up their interactions in order to energise and re-position the industry

·         Governments, corporate organisations and the private sector should invest more in film production so as to ensure its continuous viability.

·         There should be constant training and re-training of practitioners in film institutions

·         There is a need for re-evaluation of the contents of film and performance studies curricula in existing tertiary institutions in order to strike a balance between theory and practice.














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