Nadira Shakur’s Vision for African Cinema
Nadira Shakur is a visual communicator and designer. She co-founded the NollywoodWeek Film Festival, and is the face behind the festival’s visual identity. She studied international communications at the American University of Paris, film studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and visual design at the PanAmericana Design School in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Shakur is passionate about African cinema, defines it as the ultimate form of visual communication and is working towards making it more accessible to broader audiences.
Congratulations on your 5th edition! How did you come to partner with Serge Noukoué on this festival?
Thank you. I cannot believe we have just completed our 5th edition. Serge Noukoué and I met about 10 years ago at an event about Nollywood. At the time, we were both interested in finding a way to bring African art, mainly cinema, to a more mainstream audience in Paris. We started off doing smaller private screenings with friends. It was only a couple of years later when the idea hit us that we should put together a film festival to bring our passions to a larger audience.
What have been your challenges, accomplishments and the impact of the festival on the film industries in Nigeria and Africa?
The film industry is already a tricky one when it comes to financing, let alone when dealing with the African film industry where many countries are yet to see the importance of arts and media, so backing and support are greatly lacking. Monetary support to put together the festival was non-existent, therefore we sought private backers in other industries.
When we first started this festival 5 years ago, we had to begin every conversation with an explanation about what Nollywood is. Now, because of the various reports and products made from the festival, we find that many more people are knowledgeable about the industry.
We are humbled to see how this festival has impacted a wide range of individuals. Filmmakers have received sponsorships for their films that were otherwise unattainable by connecting with our sponsor during our professional events. They have also received top quality lenses to use in their productions through our partnership with Angenieux. In addition, numerous directors mentioned that the Q&A sessions we hold, greatly helped to inspire subsequent projects. The audience is also highly appreciative as they mention they would have never discovered these films if it was not for the festival. They are now hooked and strong supporters of the industry.
Izu Ojukwu(director)and Moses Babatope(producer) won the Prix du Public award sponsored by Angenieux for the films ’76 and The Wedding Party I
This edition screened just 6 feature films though there were 8 last year. Who were the panel of judges at this edition, and will there be an increase in feature films selected?
In 2017, we were celebrating the 5th year by having 5 films in the official selection along with 5 short films. We also had a world premiere of the film Catch.er, which brought the number of feature films to 6. We have a private screening committee that helps with the selection process but during the festival, the audience selects the winning film. After each film, the audience votes and the one with the highest score wins.
In the next edition, we will most likely see an increase in selected feature films though we do not set a target number – it is all determined on the quality of films available.
You added an animation short film to the selection this year. Will this initiative be sustained with a separate category to promote the genre?
Since the 1st edition, we always wanted an animation so we were very excited when we received Plaything by Anthill Studios. The quality they achieved makes us hopeful about the future of this genre in Nigeria. We definitely have plans to promote it.
Are there plans to increase the duration of the film festival to a full week perhaps, to allow for more films, master classes and interaction?
Many people have asked us to increase the duration to a full week and although we would like to do so in the future, for now, we will continue with the Thursday to Sunday format.
Does Nollywood Week plan to launch other editions across Europe?
Not only across Europe but also throughout the world!
Image credits: Nollywood Week Paris