When the Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF, asked interested individuals to apply for the festival’s 2014 training workshops; which took place as part of the one-week film festival in Calabar in November, 2014; theorganizers promised to sponsor 10 of the best participants to the US for a short course in Editing, Acting, Cinematography and Directing.
However, AFRIFF finally went way above that number, altogether taking 36 people to the US for capacity building. In the end, 15 participants from the training workshops were selected for a month-long training at the Montana State University, United States.
Recently, pictures circulated online, showing Nollywood actors with Damon Waynas and a couple of other Hollywood stars. Yes, twenty-one (21) Nollywood practitioners are in Hollywood courtesy of the Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF, for a three-week course at the popular Relativity School. They are: Chioma Onyenwe, Banjo Onyeka Ayodele, Andrea Chika Chukwu, Tony Mba, Ejiro Onobrakpor, Tokunbo Sangodoyin, Uti Nwachukwu, Linda Ejiofor, Lillian Esoro, Ufuoma McDermott, Kemi Akindoju, Jude Idada, Uru Eke, Adesua Etomi, Folu Ogunkeye, Cynthia Kamalu, Delmwa Deshi–Kura, Chijioke Uwaegbute, Seun Ajayi, Baba Agba and Gideon Okeke.
This is remarkable because AFRIFF, founded in 2010 has joined individuals and institutions, who are giving profound attention to capacity building in the industry and it is estimated that in a few years, a critical mass of competent screenwriters, directors and other behind-the-scene hands will have emerged to aid Nollywood on its journey to the apogee of film-making.
Indeed, this is already happening as products of the Delyork/New York Film Academy training workshops are beginning to make a difference in Nollywood. Chika Anadu (The Marriage Factor, B for Boy), James Omokwe (Awakening, Highlights with IK), Eric Aghimien (A Mile from Home) and Willis Uzoma Ikedum (Uzoamaka, Ogondah, Mummy Dearest) are award-winning film-makers and proud alumni of the Delyork/New York Film Academy.
Chika Anadu, the only lady amongst the names listed above, shot the two aforementioned movies in the Igbo language, a language that has almost been consigned to insignificance as far as Nollywood is concerned; though it was the predominant language, in which films were shot when Nigeria witnessed the rebirth of Film-making twenty-three years ago.
The beneficiaries of the AFRIFF workshops have worthy examples in the above named film-makers and a host of others. Therefore, nothing short of the best is expected from them as they return to the country to contribute their quota to the development of Nollywood.
Pictures from the 2 groups in the US: