Stakeholders in the creative industry and relevant agencies of government have extolled organisers of the Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF) for steadfastness in holding the annual fiesta for 16 years.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during the opening night of the 2019 and 16th edition of the festival holding at the Silverbird Galleria from Oct. 22 to 25.
Dr Chidia Maduekwe, Managing Director of Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), extolled the AIFF for its role over the years, in bringing together film stakeholders from both within and outside the country, which has created more markets for Nigerian films.
Maduekwe noted that as the Nigerian film industry grows, it needed to be promoted as a viable investment option to both local and the international business communities, and film festivals were veritable platforms to be used.
“We are aware of the tremendous impact of the Nigerian film industry on the economy of the nation, Africa and indeed around the world.
“The enormous impact of our film industry needs to be further strengthened through Film Festivals, which AIFF has done over these 16 years,” he said.
Also, Mr Suleman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, lauded the organisers for holding on to the annual motion picture fiesta, adding that “AIFF has made the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) a choice film destination”.
“I must congratulate the organisers for holding unto this vision for the past 16 years and for the contribution the festival has made to the film industry and our economy.”
Adamu, who earlier declared the festival opened, said there was a need for stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors to identify with the AIFF.
Mr Emmanuel Eyaba, Chairman FCT Chapter of Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), said: “AIFF is an annual event that brings filmmakers, actors and other stakeholders together in Abuja and we are proud of it.
“The organisers need to be commended for making for this amazing platform available in the last 16 years,” he said.
Mrs Temitope Duker, Festival Director, in her opening remarks, said the festival was started to replicate what was happening in other developed climes with established film festivals to strengthen the fast-evolving Nollywood.
“We have pioneered the film festival circuit in Nigeria, starting 16 years ago without a single cinema screen in the city of Abuja, unlike today where the city can boast of over 30 screens.
“Before this time, the number of films shot in the city was less than two annually but today the AIFF can conveniently say Abuja has become a major film hub for filmmakers in Nigeria,” she said.
The festival director explained that films submission were made from over 54 countries for this year’s AIFF, adding that 16 categories of awards would also be given during the closing ceremony and award night.
She added that the festival would feature master classes, seminars, panel discussions and awards for films, actors and other stakeholders nominated for the AIFF awards.
NAN reports that Abuja International Film Festival, which is organised by NAFIFO Ventures Ltd, started in 2004.
It is a platform where films, actors, producers within and outside Nigeria are showcased to foster interactions for co-production, distribution and investments.
The festival is affiliated to the Durban International Film Festival, Dahlegona International Film Festival, Georgia International Film Festival, Commonwealth International Film Festival and other renowned Film Festivals.