IREP Film Forum's Upbeat swing ‚Ä¶ Receiving global recognitions for promoting Africa's Documentary Cinema.
Two weeks ago, iRep International Documentary Film Festival (iREP, Lagos) was the Co-Host of the Dok.Network Africa programme at the 30th Anniversary edition of the Dok.Fest Munich (7th to 17th May 2015), one of the prime documentary film festivals in Europe. The event, held at the prestigious Museum Funf Kontinente Munich, witnessed an impressive diverse audience. The special session screened among others the film by Camilla Nielsson (Denmark) "THE DEMOCRATS" and Rehad Desai's compelling work "MINERS SHOT DOWN" (South Africa) as well as "LA SIRENE DE FASO FANI" by Michel K. Zongo (Burkina Faso).
Burkina Faso's first textile factory was named Faso Fani, or "national loincloth" in the local language. It was set up in 1965, just after independence, in Koudougou, the place where Michel K. Zongo was born, to process the cotton crop that is one of our country's main agricultural resources. Faso Fani finally closed in 2001 under a Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) imposed on Burkina Faso by the Bretton Woods Institutions. A decade after the social and economic catastrophe, the young Burkinabese film director set out to meet some of the workers who were involved, to investigate this factory which loomed so large in his childhood, and to explore this city which, today, is no more than a shadow of its former self.
From 2009 to 2012, the Danish filmmaker Camilla Nielsson followed the process of constitutional reform in Zimbabwe. She has not only drawn a sympathetic portrait of the two politicians in charge but also offers a unique look behind the scenes of the political system.
In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa's biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the point of view of the Marikana miners, South African filmmaker Rehad Desai follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. The movie charts the seven days leading up to bloodshed, much of it in real-time. The documentary utilises compelling previously unseen police, security and TV footage, some of which was submitted to the inquiry into the massacre, which is now underway.
Irep also presented at that German festival a dynamic panel discussion on documentary's political role in emerging democracies in Africa. Rens van Munster of the Danish Institute for International Studies presented a talk with very interesting perspectives on the Political dimensions of Documentary filmmaking. Femi Odugbemi, Co-founder and Executive Director of IREP was a featured Speaker. He also presented "MINERS SHOT DOWN" on behalf of South African director, Rehad Desai. The film was curated and recommended to Dok.Fest 2015 by IREP and had earlier featured as part of the screened films at the iREP 2014 edition.
The idea of AFRICA DAY had been inspired by the collaboration between DOK.Fest and iREP, which began three years ago. The collaboration has also yielded another opportunity as DOK.Fest has asked iREP to send in one of its operation staff to once again undertake a six-week internship starting in November. The cooperation and collaboration between iREP and DOK.Fest had been midwifed by the Goethe Institute, Lagos, which had also been the intermediary of the relationship between iREP and the Ag-Dok - the highly influential German association of independent film producers, which in the past four years, has brought groups of German filmmakers to every edition of the yearly iREP festival.
Flowing from the success of the 2015 iRep International Documentary Film Festival in March, the iRepresent Documentary Film Forum has continued to step higher in its operation, especially garnering international recognitions. The year's edition of the yearly film feast, which marked the fifth anniversary of the iREP Film Festival, indeed seems to have launched the Forum into a season of recognition across the globe.
Shortly after the staging this year's IREP festival March 22-24 at the Freedom Park, Lagos, the Forum received a gladdening news from Cape Town in South Africa, that it should send a representative to the ENCOUNTERS Documentary Film Festival - a highly competitive international documentary film workshop and industry gathering, for a three-week training and internship that would usher collaborative programming. IREP 2015 Festival Manager Lanre Olupona has since left for South Africa on that attachment. He will work and understudy the programming team of Encounters Festival over an intensive 3-weeks, with a view to learning best practices in Festival Operations and management. It will be recalled that just 2-years ago another IREP Festival Manager Toyin Poju-Oyemade was in Munich Germany to understudy the operations of the Dok.Fest Documentary Festival as well. All of these exchanges have strengthened IREP's global network and enshrined global best practices in its operations.
In June at the prestigious Sheffield Documentary Film Festival UK, Femi Odugbemi will also be a featured Speaker on the subject of "IMPERIALISM OR INQUIRY - HOW FAIR IS FOREIGN FILMING?" a major panel of the Documentary Campus Industry Conference. He will as well be meeting several global documentary filmmakers to schedule films for the 2016 IREP Festival.
In July, Odugbemi will also be attending the People2People Conference scheduled to be hosted by the 2015 Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. Odugbemi is on the Advisory Board of the People2People Conference and IREP is a founding signatory to the Documentary Network Africa, DNA, an influential documentary platform featuring filmmakers from over 45 countries in the continent.
Meanwhile, after the disruption wrought by the last chaotic electioneering timetable, iREP will be resuming its monthly film screening programme at the Freedom Park Lagos in the first week of June with the tribute creening of the film "UNCOMMON SERVICE" directed by Deji Adesanya and produced by CFC NIgeria, on the unusual story of patriotism and community service by Dr. Yombo Awojobi, a medical doctor cum inventor, engineer, philosopher, all rolled into one. Dr. Yombo Awojobi died on in the early hours of Saturday 18th April, 2015, at 64 years old. He was born as Oluyombo Adetilewa Awojobi, on March 1, 1951, in Ikorodu (Lagos State). He was Medical Director of Awojobi Clinic, Eruwa (Ibarapa region in Oyo State, Nigeria). The documentary film won the Hilda Ogunbanjo Film Award on Good Citizenship, in 2009.
The film screening event takes place on Sunday 7th June at 2pm at Freedom Park, Broad Street Lagos.