BY OLU YOMI OSOSANYA
So the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is taking place in a few weeks, holding from September 8th – 18th. Filmmakers from across the globe will gather to attend one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. This year, its City to City programme shines its light on Lagos, Nigeria, and 8 films have been selected for the festival as part of the programme, but not in competition.
The Wedding Party (Dir Kemi Adetiba), 93 Days (Dir Steve Gukas), ’76 (Dir Izu Ojuku), Oko Asewo” (Dir Daniel Oriahi), Okafor’s Law, (Dir Omoni Oboli), The Arbitration (Dir Niyi Akinmolayan), Just Not Married (Dir Uduak Obong Patrick) and Green White Green (Dir Abba Makama).
Getting into TIFF is a fantastic opportunity for filmmakers to network with colleagues from across the globe, talk to buyers, distributors and just watch amazing and diverse films that may not get distributed to their home country. The lives of many filmmakers have changed by having films screened at prestigious film festivals; their film gets bought, they land distribution deals, or they get asked that question every filmmaker wants to hear from a potential investor: “What are you working on next?” Many careers have been launched that way. Festivals are also a place where a film can shine, just for being a great piece of work, for pure art on its own merit; and even if that particular film doesn’t get a deal, it is the place where a director or actor’s talent can catch the eye of someone that is in a position to open doors to them, that may not have happened by just having a film in the cinemas locally.
Nigerian films, for the most part, get seen theatrically in Nigeria, sometimes in Ghana and a few other countries. A Nigerian film that gets distribution at a festival like TIFF could be open to markets in North America, Europe or the Caribbean, to audiences that appreciate world cinema (aside from Nollywood cable tv). It’s an additional stream of revenue for the producers, and a connection to a wider audience who can choose to follow their work from that point.
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