Nollywood Shines In FESPACO 2023
The documentary film, No U-Turn, by Nigerian filmmaker, Ike Nnaebue, has won the ECOWAS Prize for the Best Film on West African Integration at the 28th edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), which opened on February 25 and closed on March 3 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The award is sponsored by ECOWAS and awarded to the best film from the entries submitted from West Africa. No U-Turn revolves around the director’s own personal life, as he interrogates the journey made 27 years ago, when he left Nigeria as a young man to try and reach Europe by road, taking the route via Benin, Mali and Mauritania to Morocco. The film was produced by Generation Africa in collaboration with Passion 8 Communications, Elda Production and Social Transformation, Arte France and Empowerment Projects (STEPS). The film had won the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Documentary in 2022. Nnaebue, who came to Ouagadougou to receive his award, was not the only Nigerian filmmaker who got a medal at FESPACO. CJ Obasi’s wave making film Mami Wata received the Paulin Soumanon Vieyra African Critic award. A total number of 170 films were screened at the biennial feast of African films, which held under the theme: Cinemas Of Africa And Culture Of Peace.
Berlin Film Festival 2023 Ends
THE 73rd Berlin International Film Festival came to a successful close with the Publikumstag on February 26. At the festive award ceremony on Saturday evening, Sur L’Adamant by Nicolas Philibert was awarded the Golden Bear. Held under the slogan, ‘Let’s get together’, the Berlinale started its first fully in-person event after two unusual years due to the pandemic – and the audience as well as the industry certainly complied. “Full cinemas, moving moments, many prominent guests and a curious audience characterised the Berlinale 2023. We see this as living cinema culture in all its diversity. The focus was on enjoyment and shared experiences. We hope that this enthusiasm for cinema will continue after the festival,” said the Berlinale director-duo Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian. At the festive opening on February 16, Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, made an emotional appeal to film and cultural professionals in a live video broadcast. An additional focus was on the victims and survivors of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey as well as the situation in Iran. Also, the various sections of the festival – Competition, Encounters, Berlinale Special & Berlinale Series,Berlinale Shorts, Panorama, Forum & Forum Expanded, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino, Retrospective and Homage – offered viewers a diverse film programme and numerous audience discussions with the film teams.
One highlight was the award of Honorary Golden Bear to Steven Spielberg, to whom the Homage was dedicated. A novelty in 2023 was the Berlinale Series Award, which was presented for the first time this year. At Berlinale Talents, this year’s motto, “You Must be Joking – Humour in Serious Times” proved a perfect door opener for the creation of stable alliances in the crisis-ridden present. The six-day summit with 66 talks, workshops, script labs, a new three-day think tank, and public events with Kristen Stewart, Ruben Östlund, Euzhan Palcy and Cate Blanchett, among others, offered visitors and the 203 talents from 68 countries an important discursive platform within the festival. Also, the World Cinema Fund dedicated its WCF Day 2023 to the issue of supporting cinema and culture in times of growing crises and wars, and in particular to the challenges faced by Iranian filmmakers inside and outside their own country. The participation of two WCF-supported films in the programme was also successful: Adentro mío estoy bailando by Leandro Koch and Paloma Schachmann won the GWFF prize for Best First Feature, which is awarded across sections. Sira by Apolline Traoré was presented with the Panorama Audience Award for feature film. The 74th Berlin International Film Festival will take place from February 15 to 25, 2024.
TIFF Studio Participants Unveiled
ORGANISERS of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) have announced the 2023 TIFF Writers’ Studio participants. The selected writers are Teyama Alkamli, Berkley Brady, Harry Cepka, Luis De Filippis, Idil Ibrahim, Aaron Lucas, Nesaru Tchaas, and Farida Zahran. Five participants from the 2023 class will also be awarded a grant generously supported by CHANEL to further the development of their feature-length script. The selected participants are Teyama Alkamli, Berkley Brady, Luis De Filippis, Idil Ibrahim, and Farida Zahran. “Programmes like the Writers’ Studio help spark the next generation of storytellers, both in Canada and internationally,” said Anita Lee, Chief Programming Officer, TIFF. “At TIFF, we are committed to providing professional development and access to the industry, with leading experts to foster new talent. We see the big impact every year.” Now in its 12th year, Writers’ Studio is a collaborative, five-day intensive lab offering Canadian and international screenwriters and writer-directors a space to consolidate skills, exchange ideas, and navigate challenges, while participating in workshops, artist talks, peer-to-peer mentorships, and one-on-one project development consultations guided by industry experts. Writers’ Studio will take place March 20–24, 2023, at TIFF Bell Lightbox.