The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has claimed the 2020 iREPRESENT International Documentary Film Festival (IREP) as organisers, Tuesday, announced its indefinite postponement.
The festival with ‘Africa in Self-Conversation’ as its theme would have opened with a pre-festival cocktail on Wednesday, March 18 at Freedom Park, Lagos Island before going full blast from 19th to March 22. More than 50 documentaries were to be screened.
In a statement made available on Tuesday, Co-founder/Executive Director of IREP, Femi Odugbemi said organisers had to postpone to ensure the safety of participants.
Odugbemi, who described it as a hard decision, said: “Over the past weeks, the world has been facing an unprecedented challenge. As a responsible organisation that takes safety seriously, we want to do all we can to help keep our country and our participants safe and healthy. Given the Novel Corona Virus pandemic, the Foundation for the Promotion of Documentary Film in Africa, organisers of the popular iREPRESENT International Documentary Film Festival has taken the hard decision to postpone the year 2020 festival indefinitely.”
He added that “We clearly understand the preparation that may have gone into the decision to attend the festival. We commend the loyalty of our long-standing partners and international collaborators, but to see that a lot of our resource persons and guests outside of Nigeria would not be able to make it to the festival is quite unfortunate and moving the festival to a later date when we might all be ready to celebrate the 10th anniversary of iREP Film Festival together, is an excellent course of action.
“We have constantly followed global developments on COVID-19 and have been monitoring appropriate sources for accurate and up-to-date information, and we believe our decision is the responsible thing to do, more so as we are expecting guests from Europe and America.”
The Executive Director said organisers would continuously monitor the situation and evaluate the risk actively. At the same time, a new date would be communicated very soon.
“We recognise that this is a challenging period globally, much as we are committed to the Arts, we are equally committed to the safety of our guests, staff and our country. We sincerely hope that you would find the time to join us when a new date is announced. Please take care of yourself and stay safe,”
Recall that Covid-19 has led to the cancellation of several arts and culture and travel events across the world. The 2020 Fribourg International Film Festival and Arabian Travel Market are just a few casualties.
Several museums have also closed while the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) expects an estimated loss of $30 to 50 billion in international tourism receipts because of the novel virus.
The 10th-anniversary edition of IREP would have brought back films and conversations from 2011 that touch on democracy and governance, development and the politics of identity.