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Headlining films at iREP Documentary Film Festival 2024

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  • March 16, 2024
  • 7 min read
Headlining films at iREP Documentary Film Festival 2024

By Editor

IN the run-up to the 2024 edition of the annual iREPRESENT International Documentary Film Festival which holds March 21 – 24, 2024 on-site in Lagos and virtually, the Programme Directorate has released a list of films that would headline the festival, and listed about 10 new and relatively new films that would be headlining the festival, mostly drawn from Nigeria and other African countries. Most of the films have been produced between 2023 and 2024, and they include MADU, recently signed on by Disney, LOOT and the Lost Kingdoms, The Fuji Documentary, KI’MON: The Eastern Nigeria Afro-funk Revolution 1970-1980, among others.

The released programme schedule is, however, for the main section of the festival. The directorate has promised to release adjunct schedules for the satellite venues around four major suburbs of Lagos. The satellite screening centres fall under the purview of the Inner City Screening project, a community extension service which iREP Secretariat launched at the 2023 edition. The aim is to “spread the influence of documentary films to the underserved communities.” In 2023 the pilot scheme screened films and held conversations at partner centres in Ikorodu, Bariga, Ajegunle and Ejigbo.

Top on the list of headlining films is LOOT and the Lost Kingdom (90mins; directed by Gbemi Shasore, 2023). It tracks the story of Africa’s stolen artifacts, focusing on Nigeria. This captivating documentary unveils the hidden narrative behind these cultural treasures, exposing the extensive plundering that took place and the resulting loss of knowledge systems, culture, spirituality, and science suffered by African societies. The documentary ignites a vital dialogue on the return of looted artifacts and questions if it can rectify the original sin. Through thought-provoking discussions, it sheds light on the ongoing struggle for justice and the restoration of Africa’s invaluable cultural legacy.

MADU (100mins; directed by Matthew Ogens and Joel Benson) follows 12-year-old Anthony Madu as he leaves his family and community in Nigeria to study at one of the most prestigious ballet schools in England. Having never left his home outside of Lagos, Madu finds himself thrust into a new world where his wildest dreams are suddenly within reach. His courageous journey is a story of extraordinary obstacles as he searches for belonging and acceptance, a family far away, and unexpected challenges that could impact his future. Forming a rich and immersive tapestry told on multiple continents, MADU introduces the world to a boy chasing a dream of inspiration that will resonate with us all.

The Fuji Documentary (80 mins; directed by Saheed Aderinto; 2023) is about Fuji, one of the numerous musical creations and re-creations of the period. Today, Fuji is the most dominant of the Yoruba musical traditions, influencing so many other genres, including Afrobeats, hip-hop, and even gospel music. Shot in libraries, museums, galleries, archives, art centres, universities, private homes and public events across southwestern Nigeria, in Europe, and the United States, the first episode of The Fuji Documentary tells the incredible story of Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, the man who created Fuji.

Jump Out

KI’MON: The Eastern Nigeria Afro-funk Revolution 1970-1980 (90mins; directed by Nze Ed Keazor; 2024) is a celebration of the vibrant Afro-Funk and Afro-Rock scene of Eastern Nigeria of the decade 1970-1980, which emerged as green shoots of cultural renaissance after the tragic Nigerian Civil War. It celebrates the icons of a genre that breathed joyous energy to a war-weary people and proved that music could be a true healing force. With over 20 interview subjects, almost all of whom were stars of an Eastern music scene, the film goes beyond the music and examines the socio-cultural and economic influences and impact.

Soot City: 30 mins; directed by Adeolu Shogbola; Nigeria; 2024) is an educative documentary that gives a 360 per cent context on the origins of soot, its deadly effects on life and how it can be curbed. Told through the lens of doctors, patients, environmental activists, petroleum industry experts, bunkering criminals as well as residents of Port-Harcourt who are feeling the effects directly, it draws attention to the environmental damage being caused by the soot in the city as a result of illegal refineries.

Excretapolitics (112 mins; directed by Yoel Meranda; South Africa; 2024) delves into Cape Town’s informal settlements, where the government never built a sewage system, hence the absence of flush toilets. Each inhabitant must therefore devise an individualised solution to dispose of their excrement. Excretapolitics is an impressionistic documentary composed of portraits of the residents facing and witnessing this infrastructural injustice.

Jump Out: (88.51”; directed by Nika Saravanja; South Africa; 2024): Thanks to Steve, and the acrobatic group, who were not afraid to think “out of the box”, Ian and Promise, among hundreds of other kids, have a chance to dream big, and know that all is possible if they put their mind to it, that money is not the only tool to success. Jump out is designed to empower, educate and inspire children and youngsters around the world, so that positive stories can receive the deserved spotlight to engender new ones.

Other headliner films include Ibrahim Attahiru: A Soldiers Soldier, a 45 minutes’ flick by Adeola Abiodun Osunkojo that reflects on the life and times of Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff, who was killed in a plane crash a few years ago. Other top entries comprise award winning films from 20 other countries, including Morocco, Brazil, USA, United Kingdom, France, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Ghana, Cameroon and others.

The Inner City Screening (ICS) project which the iREP launched as spotlight of the 2023 edition of the festival is returning for its second iteration. Tagged Documentary Film for the Underserved, the project was conceived to spread documentary film ideas and contents to communities that are not usually captured in the screening and consumption of media contents. The four communities – Bariga, Ajegunle, Ikorodu, and Ejigbo – where selected films were screened in the 2023 edition, will also host screening sessions in the 2024 edition.

The 2024 edition’s theme ‘Righting the Future’ is deliberately chosen to instigate conversation between the present and the future of the African continent, as well as encourage deeper dialogue between young people and their elders. The provocative theme is set in the context of happenings in this season of political anomalies and leadership failures in many countries of the continent.

iREP 2024 is designated as ‘The SOYIKA edition’ to commemorate the 90th birthday anniversary of the distinguished global cultural icon, poet, playwright, essayist, polemicist and Africa’s first Nobel laureate for literature, Professor Oluwole Akinwande Soyinka. He embodies the virtues of the quintessential ‘citizen activist’ with the clarity of vision and passion for the betterment of our collective humanity needed to hold power accountable to the people. The Soyinka section will cover two days of the festival and will be staged at the Alliance Francaise, Mike Adenuga Centre, the day one keynote on Righting the Future: Soyinka & His Engagements will be delivered by writer, filmmaker, cultural theorist, scholar, art historian, and distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Film at the New York University, Prof. Manthia Diawara. He is the writer and director of “Negritude: A Dialogue between Wole Soyinka and Leopold Senghor.” The second day keynote on the humanistic ideals of Soyinka as reflected in his works will be delivered by the Dean of Arts and Humanities and Vice Provost at the New York University (NYUAD), and Global Network Professor of Drama, Social and Cultural Analysis, NYU New York, Professor Awam Amkpa. Each keynote will be followed by a panel discussion and screenings of films related to Soyinka’s career.

iREP International Documentary Film Festival serves as an educational and cultural platform that harnesses the influence of film and related industries to encourage public engagement in the developments of their socio-cultural and political environments. The overarching objective of the iREP aims to raise awareness about the documentary format’s potential to deepen and share social and cultural education, while also fostering participatory democracy in our societies.

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