The rising impact of film festivals on the Nigerian film industry is becoming noticeable, making them more valuable than they used to be back in the day. With filmmakers, stakeholders, and film enthusiasts now aware of the power film festivals yield in expanding the reach of films, we continue to see an influx of films showcased at these festivals.
Over the years, things have moved from filmmakers struggling to premiere their projects to having screenings at film festivals all over the world, and in a way expanding their reach from just Nigeria to even more people.
As easy as that sounds, there are still challenges limiting how much a filmmaker can do with film festivals. This is significantly harder for rising filmmakers with slim budgets to work with as other factors like traveling, securing visas, and more hinder their plans.
However, there are now film festivals in Nigeria that are reputable in Africa and around the world, bridging this gap and making things easier for Nigerian filmmakers.
On WN Picks this week, we highlight some of the top film festivals in Nigeria, looking into when they started as well as what they offer to impact growth.
African International Film Festival (AFRIFF)
The world-famous AFRIFF is a yearly film festival hosted in Lagos, Nigeria. Founded in 2010, the goal of the festival was to highlight local emerging talent in the region as well as promoting African cinema.
Known as one of the reputable film festivals in Africa, it draws well-known actors, directors, producers, and other members of the global film industry.
AFRIFF is an eight-day festival that features a range of African films, including long- and short-form. It also provides seminars and workshops. Additionally, Nollywood Week, an annual festival honoring Nigeria’s celebrated film industry with honors and special screenings, is held by AFRIFF.
Additionally, it promotes the growth of African film projects through the AFRIFF Film Fund, which awards funding for pre- and post-production tasks.
Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF)
The nation’s oldest independent film festival, EKOIFF takes place in Lagos, Nigeria annually, showcasing locally made documentaries, feature films as well as honoring African cinema.
Founded in 2009, the activities at the film festival include panel talks, workshops, and other activities.
EKOIFF is dedicated to advancing African cinema and culture, and it seeks to foster a community where filmmakers may connect and exchange original works.
The festival presents a special award for the best Nigerian feature film as part of this goal, and the winner is given cash. EKOIFF also aims to provide a forum for filmmakers to exchange ideas with industry experts and get criticism.
Zuma International Film Festival (ZIFF)
The ZIFF is the biggest festival on the African continent and has been hosted there every year since 1995. With a focus on showcasing the best of African film and culture, it offers a broad range of films from both African and international filmmakers.
This festival of African culture and art draws thousands of visitors from all around the world each year. Numerous screenings, workshops, seminars, networking events, and other events are included as parts of the festival’s activities.
Also, ZIFF has developed into a venue for upcoming African filmmakers to present their work as it connects them to a global audience and provides them with the assistance they need to advance their professions.
Lagos International Film Festival (LIFF)
The LIFF is a yearly exhibition of the best African cinema. The goal of the festival is to expand the potential of African cinema and give independent filmmakers a venue to display their work.
The festival provides master courses, panel discussions, networking opportunities, awards, seminars, and more every year and serves as a forum for conversation about the potential, growth, and future of African cinema.
LIFF is one of the most prestigious international film festivals in Nigeria and it continues to expand in both breadth and influence, displaying a variety of works from both within and outside of Africa.
For African filmmakers, the festival offers a distinctive venue for consumers and industry professionals to view their work as well as providing networking opportunities to further the growth of African cinema.
Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF)
Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, hosts the AIFF annually. Having started in 1995, it is one of the oldest film festivals in West Africa.
The film festival strives to build a better foundation for the African film industry and is dedicated to promoting African films and filmmakers to a global audience. Also, it offers a diverse lineup of events and screenings throughout the year, including workshops, panel discussions, outdoor screenings, and much more.
Organizations like UNESCO and the Berlinale Talent Campus have praised the festival. AIFF strives to ensure that the African film industry receives the recognition it merits and intends to do so for a very long time.
AIFF awards prizes for outstanding achievement in categories such as directing, cinematography, screenwriting, and producing.