To be very honest. #AFRIFF2016 has been lit. Yes, its been a little tedious trying to catch screenings across the various locations, but still lit!
Day 4 kicked off for me with a series of animated short films at the Silverbird Galleria, including Pull, a short film that got everyone in the audience roaring with laughter at the simplicity and accurate nature of its narrative, Got Flowers Today, a film that spurred up emotions – focusing on the plight of women in abusive relationships, Mosquito: The Bite of Passage that was so well done, it could have been on my line up for Cadbury’s breakfast telly for kids, Agorkoli, the controversial film detailing the history of a particular African tribe, and Black Barbie, a tale of human reaction to the dark skin ranging from self loathing, prejudice to acceptance, a tale that is very significant to young black women who struggle to accept just how beautiful they are in their dark skin. This was an impressive line-up of animations, further confirming that African filmmakers are seeing the need to venture into the powerful genre of animation. I definitely look forward to more shorts, but more importantly, I’m steady waiting for more blockbuster features.
Next up was a series of short films at Genesis Cinemas, Lekki. These included, No Good Turn – Udoka Oyeka’s tale of the aftermath of a bomb attack in northern Nigeria – this movie blurred the lines on the human conscience leaving the audience with a question to answer, a very relevant one that most likely cannot be answered truthfully outside the situation.
Love, Hate and Ketchup.. an award winning short, left the audience roaring at its narrative and the delivery of its actors and was one of my favorites, The Storyteller was so intense and beautiful, and Providence took us back to the 70s/80s with its amazing sets and beautiful cinematography but the plot left us with some questions.
Next up was Abba T. Makama’s Green White Green, a satire and one of the eight films taken on the TIFF: City to City Program. This was my second time watching this film and I must say, I enjoyed it even more this time around. I’m not the biggest fan of repeating films but the stimulating nature of the dialogue, the everyday situation comedy, and the thorough delivery by the actors made me sit through it a second time. Green White Green is a movie that may speak mainly to movie buffs and artsy folks but it is definitely a step in the right direction for diversity in Nollywood.
Coming from the high that was Green White Green, I moved into Tope Oshin’s documentary, Amaka’s Kin; The Women in Nollywood. The documentary’s main focus was on the emergence of female directors in Nollywood after Amaka Igwe stood as the lone ranger for a long time, the struggles these women faced and the success they have been able to attain in their craft. However, beyond this narrative, Amaka’s Kin was a reminder of just how great a national treasure Nollywood is, just how much the industry had achieved in spite of all the odds, just how much Nollywood has advanced since inception and just how much potential it still has to showcase to the world. Amaka’s Kin brought nostalgia, happiness and sadness to my heart and I hope everyone has the chance to experience it just like I did.
The last film of the day was Vaya, the latest directorial feature for
Nigerian African filmmaker Akin Omotosho.
Akin Omotosho has a reputation as one of the veterans in filmmaking on the African Continent, and has had his films premiere at film festivals across the world – I was therefore really eager to have my first experience of watching one of his films – I was not disappointed!!!
Vaya centres around three young individuals on a journey from rural South Africa to the dangerous terrain of Johannesburg. Although unknown to one another, these three end up experiencing the hustle of an uncharted territory in such an intertwined way. This movie tells a beautiful tale in a beautiful way, delivering dialogue, action and despair that pulls the audience into the lives of the characters on screen. And though the opening scenes of Vaya are slow and could easily make a fickle audience lose interest, the narrative builds up steadily to a delightful climax.
When it comes to feature films in the drama genre, I concur that Akin knows he’s stuff. I left the cinema hall enthralled.
AFRIFF 2016 continues film screenings till tomorrow, 18 November 2016 and concludes on Saturday with a closing Gala. You still have a chance to register to see movies free of charge at afriff.com