Inaugural Africa International Film Festival

By Martin Chemhere, in Johannesburg – The African film industry is growing at a fast pace, with an increasing number of international award winning films, international co-productions, hot shots and local and international film festivals cropping up across the continent.

Yet another indicator of the perceived growth of African film is the exhibition platform – Africa International Film Festival (AFRIF), founded in River State, Nigeria. It seems the home of Nollywood is surely staking another claim to international stardom – the creation of worldly film fares – after the success of the highly acclaimed AMAA (Africa Movie Academy Awards), among a host of other well known film fests. In recent years, Nollywood has also stolen a nod ahead of Hollywood with the highest number of films made in a year – estimated at over 1500.

According to Stephen Chigorimbo, Joint Secretary of the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) Southern Africa Region, the AFFRIF has been much welcome in the African film industry and is seen as yet another noble attempt at further inspiring African movie making while also providing a platform to present the continent’s best film productions to continental and international networks.

The festival is currently calling for entries beginning 10th April to 13th August 2010. Then from the 1st to the 5th of December 2010, the world of film will converge in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria for the first edition.

Designed as a 4-day event, it is an annual appointment of global filmmaking on Africa’s soil comprising of film screenings in cinemas; a technical training series aimed at raising local industry standards; business sessions and networking events; and the launch of a unique Film and Equipment market that will encourage and widen content trade out of Africa and global partnerships.

With the theme; “Africa Unites”, the festival will host both local and international filmmakers, celebrities, actors, directors, film buyers, distributors, visual artists, film students, amateurs, film lovers and the media to celebrate Africa’s motion picture achievements.

A star studded online promotional video was also recently released on YouTube featuring guest appearances by Rita Dominic (Nigerian actress), Giancarlo Esposito (Hollywood Actor/Director), D’banj (MTV award winning musician), Daryl Hannah (Hollywood actress), Jude Idada (Screenwriter/Producer), Hon. Marcus Nle-Ejii (Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Rivers State, Nigeria), Jackie Appiah (Ghanaian Actress) and Pras Michel (Rapper (Fugees) and Producer) to name a few.

The AFRIFF team has been on a world tour announcing call for entries in Africa (Bayelsa State, Nigeria and Durban, South Africa), Asia (Pakistan and India), Europe (Cannes Film Festival) and Hollywood (Los Angeles Film Festival) thus far. The categories in competition include Feature, Short, Documentary and Animation. Submissions close on the 13th of August 2010.

The AFRIFF Jury will shortlist submitted films as the official selection to be screened during the festival. Winners of each category will be announced and awarded at the closing ceremony.