Thursday, September 3, 2020

77th Venice Film Festival, African Filmmakers and No Nollywood

The 77th Venice International Film Festival opened yesterday September 2, 2020 on the Venice Lido in Italy. It runs from 2 - 12 September 2020.

There are 66 films, including 21 world premières in the official selections. It is organised by La Biennale di Venezia. The Festival Director is Alberto Barbera and hosted by Anna Foglietta. Famous Hollywood diva, Australian actor, Cate Blanchett is the President of the Jury.
The festival opened with "LACCI" (THE TIES), directed by Italian filmmaker, Daniele Luchetti and the closing film will be LASCIAMI ANDARE (YOU CAME BACK) by Stefano Mordini.

It is the first major international film festival since the global lockdowns caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening ceremony and red carpet did not have the usual fanfare and pomp of the glitz and razzmatazz of the Hollywood paparazzi. But there was still the glamour of fashion styles of the female celebrities wearing dresses, footwear and wth precious jewellery and handbags by top designers.
The organisers have adhered to the compulsory rules and guidelines for the health and safety of everyone at the film festival with the required facemasks and social distancing. No Selfies on the red carpet and the halls.

Only four African filmmakers have films in competition.

 The "Man Who Sold His Skin"
 " Night of the Kings"
"Under Her Skin"

"The Man Who Sold His Skin" by Kaouther Ben Hania of Tunisia; "Zanka Contact" by Ismaël El Iraki of Morocco and the world première of "Night of the Kings" written and directed by Philippe Lacôte of Côte d'Voire are competing among the best in the Orizzonti section (Horizons) Competition of the festival and "A Fleur De Peau (Under her Skin) by Algerian filmmaker Meriem Mesraoua will be competing in the short films category. The Orizzonti section (Horizons) is open to all "custom-format" works, with a wider view towards new trends in the expressive languages that converge in film. Starting from the 67th edition of the festival, four awards of the Orizzonti section have been established. The Orizzonti Award for Feature Film. The Special Orizzonti Jury Prize (for feature films). The Orizzonti Award for Short Film. The Orizzonti Award for Medium-length Films.

"The Young Girl ", a 1975 film by Souleymane Cissé of Mali is among the selected films for the Venice Classics.

Nigerian filmmakers in the popular Nollywood have never participated in the Venice Film Festival where established and emerging filmmakers compete for the highest prizes of the Golden Lion (Leone d'Oro), awarded to the best film and Silver Lion (Leone d'Argento), awarded to the best director in the competition.

Nollywood filmmakers have not qualified for the official selections of the best international film festivals, except for ad hoc special screenings of few Nigerian films on special occasions at the annual Berlin International Film Festival and the annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2016 when there was a focus on Lagos city as the epicentre of the Nigerian film industry.

 The Venice Film Festival is among the "Big Five" film festivals in the world; including Cannes Film Festival in France, the Berlin International Film Festival in Germany, the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada and the Sundance Film Festival in the United States.
The Festival is officially recognised by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Association).

The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote international cinema in all its forms as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue.

- By EKENYERENGOZI Michael Chima,
The Publisher/Editor of the NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®Series, the first book series on Nollywood and the Nigerian film industry.
247 Nigeria (@247nigeria) / Twitter

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