REVIEW: REAL TIME INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL INAUGURAL LAGOS EDITION
The inaugural edition of the Real Time International Film Festival (RTF) themed Emotions took place in Lagos, Nigeria between September 29 and October 3, 2016. Its uniqueness is hinged on the fact that it is was founded by and for independent filmmakers seeking to express themselves through their craft, from story-telling to technical expertise. It is a technology-driven festival that encourages filmmakers to participate from all over the world, without being physically present. The festival is affiliated to the Australian Festival of African Film (AFAF) and aims at identifying new talents and celebrating the veterans of the industry, while fostering co-operation and co-production between filmmakers (from across the globe). The festival was attended by film enthusiasts, international filmmakers, film critics, as well as visual and performing artists. Notables present were Femi Odugbemi a foremost documentary filmmaker, and a member of the international jury for the festival, and Shaibu Husseni, a seasoned film journalist who has served as juror and programmer at international film festivals and award schemes. There were over 800 submissions in different categories including animation, documentaries, short films and feature length films from 60 countries. A total selection of 60 films were screened with a third of these from Nigeria. Organized by filmmakers, the 4-day event also included panel discussions and master classes on film related areas like still photography. Visual artist and creative photographer, Barett Akpokabayen facilitated the panel on photography.
Barret Akpokabayen during a masterclass on photography.
The festival opened on the morning of September 29 with Nigerian director Eric Aghimien’s feature length film Slow Country at the SilverBird Cinemas, Ikeja City Mall. Later, there were generic film screenings of short films and animation shorts at the NERDC Conference Centre with the directors and producers. Those absent were quizzed via Skype about their work. Another Nollywood feature film Behind The Wheels directed by Stanlee Ohikhuare, had its special world premiere at the New Africa Shrine in the evening of September 30.
There were first-time filmmakers showing to the audience and one of the high points for me was the screening of a short film, Dear John, which was directed and shot by 9 year old David Ohikhuare. It was submitted in the category of films made by 7 to 13 year olds. Amidst looks of disbelief, admiration and a thunderous applause at his Q and A session, the young director followed him until he got to podium. He revealed that the film was inspired by his younger brother who has a speech impediment and that he produced it to give other such children with impediments hope, as well as make them less afraid. He wrote the original story, directed and handled the cinematography, only seeking for assistance from his father for the close up shots of the scorpion in the film because he was frightened. Tope Oshin, one of the few female filmmakers present also asked if there would be a second part to the short. Ohikhuare introduced his brother to the audience and responded that he is writing the story for a documentary on hearing loss which he intends to shoot in December.
I particularly enjoyed the international animated shorts like Agrinovi from Cyprus directed by Alexis Chaviaras. Also of keen importance is Forest Paper, a silent, monochromatic and cerebral student’s animation short from Thailand. The children in the audience enjoyed these two as well. Watching some Nigerian short films like The Encounter, Providence, Aliyyah’s Wish, Love Hate and Ketchup and Ireti with the directors and producers in the room was a great experience because they educated the audience about their projects during the Q and A sessions. Unfortunately, because of poor network issues, it was impossible to engage in conversation some of the Indian and European film directors whose short films were also screened.
The festival closed on October 2 at the Summit Event Centre, Ikeja with an award ceremony laced with musical performances by Ceasers, a new boy group of singers and dancers. It also featured the screening of the closing film, The Purple House by Tunisian director Selim Gribaa, as well as the award of prizes to filmmakers and veterans in the industry. The closing party held at the New Africa Shrine.
Matthias Aragbada, David Ohikhuare(film directors) and Adebimpe Adebambo.
Esi Yamoah Ghanian actress and producer, Kiki Omeili Nigerian actress and producer and Mike-Steve Adeleye Nigerian filmmaker.
David Ohikhuare: Winner of BEST FILM BY A KID for his short film DEAR JOHN.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
1. BEST AFRICAN SHORT (GHANA) -Pascal Aka – HER FIRST TIME
2. BEST NOLLYWOOD SHORT FILM – Mike-Steve Adeleye – LOVE, HATE & KETCHUP
3. BEST NOLLYWOOD SHORT FILM (NEW FILMMAKERS) – Tomi Adesina – THE OTHER ME
4. BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM – STAR DAVID – Eugene Koshin (UKRAINE)
5. BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM – THE WAIT – Fabio Teriaca (ITALY)
6. BEST NOLLYWOOD FEATURE FILM – SAVING DREAMS – Isioro Tokunbo Jaboro
7. BEST STUDENT FILM – FOREST PAPER – Sipparpad Krongraksa (THAILAND)
8. BEST ANIMATION – THE JOURNEY – Puthima Wongdeeprasith (USA)
9. BEST ACTOR – Kelechi Udegbe – BEHIND THE WHEELS (NIGERIA)
10. BEST ACTRESS-Selina Elise – FAMILIA POR VIDA (USA)
11. BEST DIRECTOR – Igor Sadovski – FLUTULUS (Italy)
12. BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – DEAD END – Rakesh Kumar (INDIA)
13. BEST DOCUMENTARY – DHARIPUTRA – Aditya Khadka (INDIA)
14. BEST FILM BY A KID – DEAR JOHN – David Ohikhuare (NIGERIA)
15. BEST POETRY – VOICE I AM – E Sa (United Kingdom)
16. BEST SPOKEN WORD – BLACK BARBIE – Comfort Arthur (GHANA)
17. BEST SCREENPLAY – SAUDADE – Sabastian Uria (FRANCE)
18. BEST SOUNDTRACK – THE EIGHTH – Kanas and Jonathan (HONG KONG)
20. BEST AUSTRALIAN SHORT FILM – JOURNEY – Radheya Jegatheva
21. BEST USE OF TECHNOLOGY – Alexis Chaviaras (Cyprus)
Image credits: REAL TIME FILM FESTIVAL.
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