The 8th iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival

The 8th iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival

From March 22 – 25, documentary filmmakers and enthusiasts from around Africa and parts of Europe and the West, will converge on Lagos for the 2018 edition of the yearly I-Rep International Documentary Film Festival. Produced by the Foundation for the Development of Documentary Film Festivals in Africa, the festival will be held at its traditional home, Freedom Park in the central business district of Lagos Island. This is the eighth edition of the yearly feast of documentary films, which began in 2010.

The 2018 festival is set to build on the momentum from past editions; especially last year’s and will explore the theme: ARCHIVING AFRICA II: Frontiers and New Narratives.

The list of the special guests is eminent and resourceful. Renowned documentarist of the Nigerian film industry, Professor Jonathan Haynes from Long Island University, Brooklyn, New York City will present his new book, Nollywood: The Making of Nigeria’s Film Genre; Professor Paul Ugor from the Illinois State University will present a keynote and, also review Jonathan Haynes’ book.

Chairman of the iREP Advisory Board, Prof Awam Amkpa from the Tisch School of Arts, New York University, and Dr Paul Nwulu, Programs Manager, Ford Foundation West Africa, will also be key speakers.

A new addition to the programming content of the annual festival, is a special artiste showcase to reflect on the works of Prof Niyi Coker, E. Desmond Lee Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Media Studies at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Focusing on the multi-skilled artiste’s work in theatre/cinema/new media/academia, the showcase is essentially designed to present Coker to aspiring young filmmakers, to make a career in the arts, especially in film and new media. Prof Coker has directed over 50 major stage productions around the world. His film credits include; The Black 14 (for FERPA PBS in 1995); Black Studies USA, and Pennies for the Boatman. His latest documentary film Ota Benga: Human at the Zoo like his previous works, has won serial awards at international film gatherings.

A second showcase will celebrate the life and career of famous filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, who will be 70 on February 26. Founder of the production outfit, Mainframe Opomulero, Tunde Kelani’s award-winning works include Ti Olu Ni Ile; Ayo Ni Mo Fe; Saworoide; Arugba; Thunderbolt; Abeni; Maami; and lately Sidi Ilujinle, derived from Wole Soyinka’s classic, The Lion & The Jewel.

A three-day training programme will precede the formal opening of the festival. Starting on Monday March 19, the training will focus on storytelling, and will be conducted by Yinka Ogun, a well-known television/radio content provider/consultant and producer, whose film credits include; Abeni, directed by Tunde Kelani; Prince of the Savannah, directed by Bayo Awala; and Maroko, directed by Femi Odugbemi. His selected television credits include Doctor’s

Quarters and Edge of Paradise, both MNET productions. In addition, he created the award-winning MNET soap opera Tinsel, and the multiple award-winning Dear Mother.

Rationale/Motif behind the Theme

Progress in Africa is still very much befuddled by a quavering attempt at measuring up to expectations of the West on what civilisation should be. Africa’s striving for progress cannot be isolated from the sense of identifying with values that have defined our humanity over time. African cultural materials are capsules of experiences that have moved us forward as a people and they are important archives of the progress we can make. It is sad, however, that these archives are locked in different museums outside the continent with evident little efforts or willpower by African political leaders to rightly request for their repatriation. And it is even more disturbing that African historians and researchers seem to show less concern and enthusiasm to trace the locations of the archives for the purpose of harvesting and harnessing the materials for educational benefits of the peoples, especially the younger generation of the continent.

Africa: Between Archives and Progress

How do we even begin to talk about progress without understanding where it is taking them to, and how do we understand where it is taking us to if we have no sense of where it brought us from? A new demography of young African elite is emerging from the frontiers of the new-age mantra of change, with new narratives of progress groomed by Western investment into controlling the culture space within which the minds of Africans operate. There has to be a counter-narrative that repurposes the perspectives of these new narratives, from mere puppets of the West, to expanding the humanity of Africa with its connections. Our investment in archiving our humanity is shamefully minuscular, and so, it has become difficult to extend it into the future and pass it on to the next generation that must continue the journey of progress.

Our past must feed the present to shape a future, and documentary filmmaking as a cultural tool must begin to curate the agenda upon which we can begin to define our humanity and measure our progress.


iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival is the prime documentary only, film festival on the coast of West Africa. Since 2011, the festival has brought together the brightest minds in the genre in Nigeria and other parts of the world to showcase their works, as well as share experiences through screenings, panel discussions, the ‘Producers’ Roundtable’, training, workshops, and networking. Guest attendance has been from several countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Algeria, Mali, the United States, Germany, and France.


  1. It is heartwarming to note that the torch of iREP is kept alive and is shining on the documentary enthusiast very much. Best wishes.

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