The African International Film Festival was a festival I was looking forward to especially as an upcoming Nollywood blogger. I secretly dreamed of attending it, rubbing shoulders with the industry greats even though I hadn’t the foggiest idea how I was going to achieve that. I took a couple of days off work to basically chill and rest, and as I pondered what I would get up too during those days, your favorite lifestyle and entertainment blog 360nobs decided to surprise me with an all round pass to experience first hand the African International Film Festival taking place in Calabar, Cross River State.
Although it was 3days gone, I was still as excited as ever to see all the festival had in store. Calabar was a town I had visited last year, so my main koko in the town will be the festival. From the film screening, to the master classes, to the celebrity networking
as well as the fun and games, Xplorenollywood through 360nobs.com is geared towards giving you the blow by blow account of the happenings of the festival.
I arrived at the the Murtala Mohammed airport at 8:15am for a 10:30am flight and while I waited, I rolled my eyes at my over zealousness to get to the festival and just jump into my already built up excitement. By 10:30 exactly the speakers blared and the Arik airlines on ground staff announced the boarding of passengers to Calabar. We took our time and boarded, while trying to settle down, who did I see, Fred Amata. Actor, director of the Amata clan and Francis Onwuchie, actor, director and acting instructor. At exactly 11am, took off. We arrived Margaret Ekpo airport Calabar at 12noon, got our luggage and joined the COO of Trace Urban to the Tinapa Lake Resort. On arrival, there seemed to be loads going on, but no actual organization. We made enquires regarding our reservations and viola, it turns out there was no accommodation at the Tinapa resort for us. We went ahead and registered, filling in our details and hoping that once we were done, they would have sorted us out.
We swung into action (well the StyleVitae team actually) while we waited, taking picture of the stars, their looks and what they were wearing. I basically tried to soak in the scenery and take everything in, so we had the camera crew, the producers, directors and then the actors/celebrities, I slowly began to forget that I was been delayed my accommodation.
By some serious intervention, we were moved to another hotel. Called the Country Resort. We got the impression that it was as good as the Tinapa Resort, but boy were we wrong. While the staff were courteous and got us settled into our rooms, I couldn’t shake off the horrible smell that came from a room that hadn’t been used in some time. As a team, we agreed to have lunch and then take off from the hotel together at 4:30pm to the Marine Resort which was 10minutes drive from our hotel. By 4pm, we were still awaiting our lunch and getting apprehensive that our lunch hadn’t arrived. Do I want to go into detail about how lunch went, no, let’s just say, we moved to the Marina resort where the film screening and seminars/master classes where taking place.
I hit a snag as to what I wanted to do as we arrived late and the seminars had gone half way. The popular film features had also commenced, but I was certain I wanted to see Lancelot Imasuen’s “Invasion 1897.”
I eventually settled for Portrait of a Farmer a documentary directed by Jide Akinleminu. It featured the day to day activity of the directors father who is a farmer of Idanre, Ondo State. While I couldn’t stay till the end due to timing and all round boredom, I exited quickly and moved to the screen showing Invasion 1897.
Invasion 1897, the latest production from the prolific director Lancelot Imasuen was a film that focus on the invasion of the Benin empire in 1897. Not an easy feat to achieve since we are talking about 1897, but it was well thought out will fluid language and a good cast. My full review will be coming soon.At the end of the screening, we headed back to Tinapa resort to network and have dinner. Once done, we headed back to the hotel, quickly freshened up and went back for the let our hair down and then party all night at the VIP party!!!
See pictures below;
Photo Credit: Anuel Photography