With the theme ‘Edo the the world’, the maiden Edo State International Film Festival commences tomorrow, Thursday September 1, 2020 in Benin, the Edo State, with a promise to draw attention to the Godwin Obaseki-led state as a film destination.
The festival, which will run till Sunday September 4, is sponsored by the Swiss Agency For Development Cooperation and the German Federal Ministry For Economic Cooperation And Development.
In a statement made available to TCN, Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs), in collaboration with the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) and the Nigerian German Cooperation implemented by the GIZ which is also a Platinum Sponsor of the festival alongside Kada Cinemas, Phoenix browser, Accelerate Tv, Presco Plc and Vanguard Allure as partners, will be hosting this maiden edition of the festival.
The event will hold at Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and Sound Stage in Benin city with the Chief Host for the festival as Governor Obaseki. Convened by the Managing Director, Edo State Skills Development Agency, Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, who expressed excitement at seeing the project to fruition after a long phase of strategic planning.
At the press conference which took place at the New Festival Hall, Edo State Government House, to announce the festival line-up were Nollywood actors Linda Osifo and Nosa Rex, two proud indigenes of the state, who were also unveiled as brand ambassadors of the festival.
The four-day festival is expected to feature over 150 specially-curated film screenings across Kada cinemas and Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and Sound Stage. There will also be masterclasses with industry experts; panel discussions and other exciting in-person events as well as virtual sessions with local and international industry experts.
“This event is the first of its kind and will be a milestone in the emergence of the Edo film industry to the global stage. With over 1,500 movie entries submitted from over 90 countries, #ESIFF2022 will be a potpourri of the best talents out of Edo standing alongside world-class veterans judging the various categories,” the organisers said.
They added that there would be cash prizes of up to $2,000 dollars each for movies in three specific and highly competitive categories sponsored by Phoenix Browser namely; Best Student Film Making, Best Use of Technology and Best Cell Phone/ Tab movie respectively.
The Festival Committee to oversee the planning and execution of the event is led by Nollywood director, Lancelot Imasuen, as Chairman with Mrs. Ukinebo Dare as Co-Chairperson. Members of the committee include Davidson Izegaegbe as Festival Director, Ms. Violet Okosun, Mr. Elvis Ahior, Mrs. Caroline Ikhuenobe, Mr. Charles Nzeribe, Mr. Naigbe Osifo, Mr. Moses Jonah and Ms Latasha Ngwube as committee members.
The festival jury comprises of National and International industry experts presided over by Prof. Osakue Omoera as the Jury head, Mr. Ossa Earlice, Mr. Trevor Pillay, Mrs. Iyen-Agbonifo Obaseki, Chief Ogie Ogedegbe, Mr. Kabat Eseosa Egbon, Dr. Charles Okwuowulu, Mr. Aubrey Silinyana, Mr. Richard Tentone, Mrs. Pat Oghre-Imobhio and Prof. Mette Hjort as members.
“The festival will serve as an avenue to promote creative skills development and create job opportunities for the residents of Edo State as well as spot emerging talent ripe for internships and collaborative opportunities with content streaming platforms like Accelerate TV,” the statement reads.
Nollywood stars being expected include Mercy Aigbe, Charles Inojie, Alex Usifo, Cleopatra Starretts, Uche Agbo, Etinosa Idemudia, Remi Ibinola, Onye Ubanatu and Jennifer Alegieuno amongst others.
Some of them will be physically and virtually facilitating various sessions for the creative industry such as Masterclass in Acting, Masterclass in Script Writing, Masterclass in Directing, Building a Career in Content Creation, Masterclass in getting roles and being visible, SFX makeup amongst others.
The statement added that egistrations to attend the festival is ongoing on the official #ESIFF2022 www.edostatefilmfestival.ng.
ESIFF2022 also features an ongoing skit challenge where three winners will emerge and win cash prizes of N250,000, N150,000, N100,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively.
“The festival will create an avenue for the participants to not only showcase but expand their creativity, connect and interact with creatives from across the world and foster content partnerships.”
The festival is expected to kick off with an opening ceremony, red carpet and movie screening on day one, masterclass sessions and movie premiere will hold on day two and three respectively and the festival will come to a close with a culture tour, and closing gala night ceremony featuring award presentations and red carpet interviews.
In the words of Edo State Commissioner of Arts, Culture, Tourism & Diaspora Affairs, Prince Bamidele Obaitan, “Hosting the Edo State International Film Festival will provide a means for promoting tourism in Edo State by positioning Benin City as a heritage hub and centre for the Arts and is another initiative under Governor Godwin Obaseki to deliver on his promises to the people of this great state”.