Film Festival to Spotlight Femi Odugbemi’s works
The Program of African Studies’ Nollywood Working Group and Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art will cosponsor a Nollywood film festival which will highlight the works of Nollywood filmmaker, Femi Odugbemi in October.
Recognised as a film industry thought leader, Odugbemi served as president of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria from 2002 – 2006 and chaired the Lagos International Forum on Cinema, Motion Picture, and Video in Africa. He has also been on film festive boards and juries in several countries including South Africa, Uganda and Ghana.
In addition, Odugbemi also served as a juror for the prestigious Emmy Awards. He has scripted, directed and produced documentaries, short films and dramas including Tinsel (2008) Maroko (2006) Ibadan – Cradle of Literati (2009), Bariga Boys (2009), Literature, Language and Literalism (2013), Gidi Blues (2016) and Battleground (2017).
Born in Lagos in 1963, Odugbemi travelled to the United States in 1979 to study film and television production at Montana State University. After receiving his degree in 1984, he worked as a producer at a local TV station but grew uneasy with the derogatory representations and projections of Africa and African culture that he observed in the US media.
With a renewed determination to change this narrative, Odugbemi returned to Nigeria, convinced that he must live the African experience, not just carry its identity. His return coincided with the economic devastation of Nigeria’s structural adjustment policies that, ironically, spurred resurgence in grassroots cultural production-including the birth of the Nigerian film industry that came to be known as Nollywood.
His works range widely across the Nigerian cultural landscape, from the intellectual production of Ibadan-based writers and publishers, to Lagosian street performers, to the Yoruba novelist Daniel O. Fagunwa.
Odugbemi’s documentaries have won numerous accolades, including best film at the 2009 Abuja International Film Festival and the 2010 US National Black Programming Consortium’s AFROPOP Prize for documentary.
In 2010 he cofounded iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival, (iREP) where he is also executive director.
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