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Friday, March 23, 2012

Second iREP International Documentary Film Festival Opens in Lagos





The second iREPRESENT International Documentary Film Festival (iREP DOCU-FEST) opened to a full house Thursday morning at the Terra Kulture on Victoria Island, Lagos. The Executive Director of iREP, Femi Odugbemi gave the welcome address on the goals of the festival; followed by the iREP Hall of Fame Awards given to accomplished Nigerian documentary filmmakers, Ambassador Yussuf Maman, Cyril Okonkwo, Sandra Obiago and Francis Oladele who was absent and Tunde Kelani received the award on his behalf.



The opening film of the second iRepresent International Documentary Film Festival, An African Election is a film by Jarreth Merz. The 2008 presidential elections in Ghana, West Africa, serve as a backdrop for this feature documentary, which looks behind the scenes of a complex, political machinery of a third world country trying to catch up with the first world. Merz embarks on a once in a lifetime political journey.


Prof. Jean Paul Collyen

The keynote address on African Cinema and the Frontiers of Documentary by Prof. Jean Paul Collyen captivated the audience of both local and international filmmakers, movie buffs, special guests and others. The famous anthropologist and documentary filmmaker and Director of the institute of African Arts in Paris appreciated the sociological perspectives of Nollywood narratives and commended the phenomenal ingenuity of the producers who have been able to make movies without any government support and with their hard earned money in contrast to the big budget studio productions of Hollywood and Bollywood. Prominent Nigerian filmmakers like Tunde Kelani, Ms. Sandra Mbanefo Obiago and Teco Benson and a special guest, Katarina Hedren from South Africa discussed the keynote address and the controversial poster: Is Nollywood Documentary? Which is the sub theme of Democracy and Culture - The Documentary Film Intervention, the theme within the framework of Africa in self-conversation.

About 30 films will be screened in the four-day duration of the festival with special workshops and conferences on camera works, scriptwriting, etc.

The co-founders, Makin Soyinka, Jahman Anikulapo and Femi Odugbemi appreciated their partnership with Goethe Institut and AG DokumentarFilm (German Association of Independent Producers). Also present were representatives of the Association of Independent Producers from Cameroon (APIC).

The organizers said there will be a Producers Forum observed by the Documentary Network Africa (DNA) represented by one of its coordinators, Katarina Hedren from South Africa. iREP is DNA’s representatives in Nigeria and much of West Africa. The Producers Forum is coordinated by Barbel Mauch, a vastly experienced producer, who in October 2001 founded the Babel Mauch Film with intention to co-produce films at an international level. The company also offers consulting agency services for production, distribution and for film festivals, especially from Germany, France and Africa. Bärbel has an extensive network of contacts thanks to her considerable experience in production, distribution and as publicist with Iskra in Paris as well as many film festivals and with her own company. For over 20 years now, she has worked for Französische Fimtage Tübingen, where she organises the African Section, and since 2005 has been a member of the selection committee. Since 2006, she has been a consultant at Berlinale Talent Campus and expert for talents from Africa and the Middle East.

Between 2008 and 2009, she coordinated the SHOOT! Workshops on documentary film production for the Nigerian Film Corporation in Jos, Nigeria; and in 2009 coordinated workshops for the festival Lagunimages in Cotonou/Benin.

From 2009 to 2011, she was chairwoman at the African-German co-production meeting during the festival Ecrans Noirs, Cameroon, organized by AG Dok and APIC in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Yaoundé. She also served 2009 Expert at the Nigeroon/Cameria workshop in Bamenda, Cameroon, organized by the Goethe-Institut.

Jens Wenkel is a Berlin-based filmmaker and medical doctor. As a doctor and researcher, he worked for Doctors Without Borders in different countries of Africa for three years. Recently, he finished a documentary film about urban every day life in the megacity of Lagos, which was premiered at the IDFA in Amsterdam. Together with Matthias Luthardt he organized a documentary workshop entitled Spirit and Spirituality under the umbrella of the Goethe-Institut Lagos. Wenkel has done so much research and cinematic work in Lagos.

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