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Abuja Film Fest launches in Nigeria


The launch of the Abuja International Film Festival marks the beginning of a new era in the Nigeria Film and Video Industry history. It’s formation was an expression of the political, artistic and collective will and wisdom of every Nigeria Film practitioner present here today. It is also the determination of the Nigeria Film maker to take it’s destiny in it’s hand.

The Abuja International Film Festival is coming on the after the 2nd National Film Festival and the MOVISTAC organized by Nigerian Film Corporation the Federal Ministry of Information respectively. It celebration and showcase of thought provoking and society relevant Nigerian and international Films, bringing new perspective to issues to be dealt with at the different panel discussions.
The maiden edition of the festival represents a peak moment on the annual Film calendar of Nigeria. In particular Abuja, the seat of power and capital of Nigeria would be a believe of film and video activities as we experience a feast of top films from Nigeria Africa and around the world, fresh films with cutting edge approaches to cinematic art of story-telling, most of which are proudly having premiere screening in Nigeria.

Spread throughout a 4 day period are screening, workshop and panel discussions by local and international film makers who generously contribute their expertise across a8 range of topic designed to stimulate aspirant film makers and the public alike.

The development of a film industry in this country can not be complete without addressing the issue of audience development. The need to resuscitate the cinema viewing culture become imperative which has a long term result in the improvement of film productive values among practitioners. The Abuja International Film Festival is determined to contribute it’s own quota in the development and sustenance of his industry. As the theme of this year festival say “celebrity Nollywood at home” it has become imperative that the growing international awareness for Nigeria video which has become a phenomenon must not be allowed to die by charlatans whose major interest is only commercial returns in films.

Available statistics have shown that in the midst of the many video produced in Nigeria, there are good ones which this festival feels should be exhibited improve to 70% in the next six years. Therefore the Abuja international film festival will be annual event that will begin to celebrate both Nollywood and international films. The resultant effect of this trend on the economy can not be quantified materially considering the fact that Nollywood represents the English, Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa practitioners whose films create employment for over 50,000 work force with an annual revenue base of over 50 billion naira. To our esteem guest who are visiting Nigeria for the first time, we say welcome and to every Nigerian here we must reflect on the film and video industry in Nigeria as we prepare to celebrate our 44th independent anniversary.

Finally, I say welcome to the 1st Abuja International film festival which promises to be a tourist and image laundering event for Nigeria. The International community must begin to realize that Nigerians are not a corrupt people neither is our society riddled with violence but a safe, hospitable people. So welcome to the first Abuha, International Film Festival which promises you a wonderful cinematic celebration.


Nigeria film corporation is proud to identity with the 1st Abuja 2004 film festival because another forum has been opened to industry practitioners and watchers on this very important industrial sub-sector that is critical to the economic growth and development of Nigeria.

The endorsement of the Nigeria film corporation is indeed the endorsement of the federal republic of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation which is the supervising ministry of the NFC. The federal government in its wisdom established the NFC as the government agency charged with the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for the growth and development of the film industry in Nigeria.

With this mandate, NFC becomes the leading “spokesman and eyes” for practitioners. Consequently the pivotal role of the corporation becomes supervisory, regulatory, developmental and economically driven. In her capacity as a developmental agency, professionalism and standardization are the watchwords. To this end the corporation established the national film, video and sound archive, national film institute and film practitioners council. The institute runs a professional certificate, in-plant training diploma and degree programs, while the practitioners council sets standards code of ethics for practitioners in the industry.

These are vital also to the image of the nation. The corporation has a biennial national film festival which is one of its statutory functions and therefore our endorsement of this festival which is one of its statutory functions even in this capacity will not surprise industry watchers.

As Abuja is thrown into a festive mood and beehive of activities that will showcase the Nigerian motion picture industry through the Abuja 1st international film and video festival, the major attraction and concern of the corporation will be the evaluation of the role, and content of film in Nigeria and beyond NFC as an apex government organ for the industry is glad to identify with the drive shown by Fidelis Duker and the Naija film Festival Organization (NAFIFO) for blazing the trail for private sector initiative of film festivals organization in Nigeria. We salute your effort.

Our support to this prime event at this time of commemorating our national 44th Independent Anniversary is to enjoin well meaning Nigerian to come, watch, participate and be part of a burgeoning film movement that is fast becoming the pride of our national economy. There may been some communication gap between the government and stakeholders on the one hand and between the practitioners on the other, but a bridge must be built. Free flow of information must exist for the development of this great economic sub-sector.

God bless you all.

This message was delivered by: Dr. (Mrs.) Mercy J. Sokomba, Ag. Managing Director, Nigeria Film Corporation.


Chief Eddie Ugbomah is one of Nigeria’s few filmmakers who have contributed to the developmental structures in what is today called Nollywood. Schooled at the prestigious London School of Journalism, Eddie has been involved in film and video productions for over 35 years and has refused to retire from the scene. The history of the Nigerian Movie Industry can not be written without Eddie Ugboma’s contribution through his works which include Black Gold, Death of a Black President, Rise and Fall of Dr. Oyenusi and America or Die.

A Trained Actor and Drama Teacher who has put in over 35 years in the film, Video and Theatre Business. Lari Williams will remembered for his role in winds against my soul a TV series on NTA network in the late 70’s and early eighties. Mr. Williams has acted both at home and abroad.

One time National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners president, Mahmood Ali Balogun is a trained filmmaker who has been involved in the Nigerian movie, television and theatre industries respectively for over 25 years. He will be remembered for his MNET film A PLACE CALLED HOME shot on cine format which has screened at a couple of international festivals.

An accomplished television scriptwriter/producer who has written for numerous television and film projects in the last 20 years. She is also a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority and presently the editor of TV Guide, a publication on TV and Video by the Nigerian Television Authority. Some of her works include: The Third Eye and Tele Movies both on NTA Network.

A staff of the National Film and Video Censors Board. Patricia Bala has been involved in film and video related issues. She is head of the screening committee of the NFVCB Abuja office. Trained at the prestigious Television College Jos, Mrs. Bala has a passion for film and Video.

A graduate of Microbiology from the University of Lagos. Tosin is a trained and award wining presenter and newscaster on African Independent Television (AIT). She has also trained at the prestigious Television College Jos. Tosin has a passion for home video and films. Presently she is the Assistant General Manager Programmes with AIT Abuja.


Country: United Kingdom
Producer: Lyndon Ives
Director: Lyndon Ives
Genre: Short Film/Drama
Year: 2003
Synopsis: A Non Dialogue Drama About A Baker Assistant who in desperation to satisfy her customers results to using Ants and rodents for their meal.
Duration: 12 Mins 32 Secs.

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Andy Amenechi
Director: Andy Amenechi
Genre: Feature
Synopsis: 10 Years Ago Somebody stole their money, now somebody kidnapped her son. …who is the… prime suspect.

Country: Finland
Producer: Sampa Kukkonen
Director: Simo Koivunen
Genre: Animation
Year: 2003
Synopsis: An animated film that depicts the conflicts between neighbours as depicted by a bat and a bird.
Duration: 7 Mins.

Country: USA/Ghana
Producer: Denise Ward Brown
Director: Denise Ward Brown
Genre: Documentary
Synopsis: “farewell old lady” is a documentary that portrays the funeral tradition of the Ashanti people of Ghana.
Duration: 20 Mins.

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Madu Chikwendu
Director: Madu Chikwendu
Genre: Feature
Year: 2003
Synopsis: A young girls is made to nurse an old man who her father is indebted to.
Duration: 150 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Paul Adams
Director: Patrick Doyle
Genre: Feature
Synopsis: The story of a family who went through an or deal with the wicked powers of the devil through their house help.
Duration: 90 Mins.

Country: UK/INDIA
Producer: Arun Kumar
Director: Arun Kumar, Matt Conway
Genre: Short Film
Synopsis: Anna goes to buy a camera and engages in a conversation with Mr. Stiffer the saler. She forgets the camera and leaves with a gift from Mr. Stiffer which becomes her undoing.
Duration: 11 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Sam Azubike
Director: Sam Azubike
Genre: Feature
Synopsis: A family in locked in a legal battle to free a drug peddler, the wife a lawyer is for the husband is the last accused
Duration: 105 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Emeka Ojiego
Director: Ifeanyi Onyeabor
Genre: Comedy
Year: 2003
Synopsis: A comedy satire that reveals the intracies to falling love with a village midget.
Duration: 105 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Hilda Dokubor
Director: Akaorose Mrakpor
Synopsis: Unchained is a movie whose plot centers on the travails of women in politics
Duration: 90 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Agatha Amata
Director: Fred Amata
Genre: Feature
Synopsis: Tony Nwakalor is a spoilt child, motivated by his father’s penchant for smoking, Tony started with his father’s cigarette, then marijuana, then cocaine…
Duration: 105 Mins

Title: OKINI
Country: Nigeria
Producer: Adebayo Salami
Director: Adebayo Salami
Year: 2002
Synopsis: A Satirical dram that centers on the intricacies of betrayal… a soldier goes to war and send a gift through his close friend to his family but the friend diverts the gift to his personal use.
Duration: 105 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Leos Miles Nnawuba
Director: Leo Onwordi
Genre: Feature Film
Synopsis: A movie centred on the clash of societal values and culture in a modern society. lady losses her husband and she’s made to suffer cultural values… would she conform?
Duration: 90 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: NFC
Director: Bankole Bello
Genre: Documentary
Synopsis: A documentary on the Nigeria film industry from start to date depict the pioneers and practitioners.
Duration: 60 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen
Director: Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen
Genre: Feature
Synopsis: The trend of fashion among our present youngsters becomes a concern for professor Okonedor. In a bid to correct the trend he pushes too far and before he knows it sinners steals into his house.
Duration: 90 Mins

Title: EEKU - IDA
Country: Nigeria
Producer: Tunji Bamishingbin
Director: Tunji Bamishingbin
Year: 2002
Synopsis: A man is set up by his close friend over a deal and his jailed for a crime he did not commit. He finally dies in prison and years later the son of the dead man decides to take revenge on those who set his father up and caused his death.
Duration: 105 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Olumide B. Akindele
Director: Olumide Bola-Akindele
Year: 2002
Synopsis: A generational curse mistaken for family blessing.
Genre: feature
Duration: 120 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Ebun Oloyede
Director: Ebun Oloyede
Year: 2003
Synopsis: Award winning Abela pupa is a trado-contemporary Yoruba video on a man who turns the fortunes of his fellow club members into his personal wealth. Duration: 105 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Kingsley Ogoro
Director: Kingsley Ogoro
Genre: Feature
Synopsis: A story that reveals the intricacies of the African reincarnation theory.
Duration: 105 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Aquila Njamah
Director: Zik Zalu Okafor
Year: 2000
Synopsis: Time to kill is the tale of rape in our society. A man has the rapist blood running in him and he decides to take vengeance on the society.
Duration: 90 Mins

Title: SANGO
Country: Nigeria
Producer: Obafemi Lasode
Director: Obafemi Lasode
Genre: Feature
Year: 1998
Synopsis: A re-enactment of the life and times of a famous Yoruba King of the 15th Century called Sango. Who ruled the old Oyo empire.
Duration: 2 hrs

Country: United Kingdom
Director: Alex Stevens
Genre: Short Film
Synopsis: A short film of a young man who finds it difficult waking up early in the morning.
Duration: 1 Mins

Country: United Kingdom
Producer: Ngozi Ugochukwu
Director: Ngozi Ugochukwu, March Rovira
Genre: Feature
Synopsis: A situational drama set in an urban London town… a black girl faces the racism problem in her community and decides to find and prove everybody wrong her colour can not prevent her from doing the right thing.
Duration: 61 Mins

Country: United Kingdom
Producer: Arun Kumar
Director: Arun Kumar
Genre: Short Film
Year: 2003
Synopsis: A story on the pains of lesbians in a developed society. A couple goes a date to discover they are not compatible.
Duration: 12 Mins

Country: Nigeria
Producer: Tade Ogidan
Director: Tade Ogidan
Genre: Feature
Synopsis: A plot that sets two brothers born on the same day from the same parents on war part.
Duration: 2 hrs

Country: UK
Producer: Dishad Hussain
Director: Dishad Hussain
Genre: Short Film
Synopsis: A comedy on two young film makers who are forced to make the ultimate cross genre film on Bollywood India and British gangsterism.
Duration: 12 Mins

Title: WAR
Country: United Kingdom
Director: Chris Cox, Jonathan, Taylor, John Lumgair
Genre: Short/Animation
Year: 2002
Synopsis: Can you experience war and come out of it triumphant is the challenge of a commandant
Duration: 5 Mins

The first Abuja International film festival promised to be a tourist and image-making event for Nigeria and the International community was not disappointed. From Wednesday the 29th of September till Saturday October 2nd, 2004.the four major centers used in Abuja for this memorable event were agog with fanfare and blitz as all kinds of film makers from all over the world came down to Nigeria to see how hospitable Nigerians could be. The event was well hitches. Spread throughout a four day period were screenings, Workshops and panel discussions by local and international filmmakers who generously contributed their expertise across a range of topics designed to stimulate aspirant filmmakers and the public alike.
“The development of a film industry in this country cannot be complete without addressing the issue of audience development. The need to resuscitate cinema viewing culture becomes imperative which has long term result in the improvement of film production values among practitioners” Fidelis Duker, film maker and Abuja film festival director stated.

Organising Team
FIDELIS DUKER, Festival Director; TEMITOPE DUKER, Festival Coordinator; PEACE ANYIAM FIBERESIMA, Festival Consultant; EBIERE AJIBOLA BODUDE, Festival Manager; DOMINIC AKPAN, Festival Officer; TUNDE AJABADE, Festival Officer; LEKAN AYINDE, Festival Officer; OLUMIDE BOLA AKINDELE, Festival Officer.

The Abuja International film festival sure contributed its own quota in the development and sustenance of this industry. The Chelsea International Hotel, The Bannex Hotel, The Dome Cardastral and the Shawama Ultral modern suites took on all sorts of activities throughout the four days that the international festival lasted. A stage drama by Abuja chapter of the Actors Gild of Nigeria, completed the grandeur. The International audience was held spell-bound as the masters of ceremony, Paul Adams and Sunny Macdon masterfully explained to the guest every move that came by. A three man Hip-Hop group by the name, Ann, was something else as they dished out soulful hip-hop and catchy African rhythms to sweeten the second and third day. “I didn’t know there is so much talent here. I shall come back again,” says international filmmaker, Nelly Bodega from the United States.

The Abuja International film festival marked the beginning of a new dawn in the Nigerian film and Video industry history. Its formation and execution is an expression of the political, artistic and collective will and wisdom of every Nigerian film practitioner that was part of the event. The Nigerian film makers have decided to take their destiny in their own hands. The maiden edition of the festival represented a peak moment on the annual film calendar of Nigeria as the Abuja city experienced a feast of top films from Nigeria, Africa and around the world. Fresh films with cutting edge approaches to cinematic act of story telling were all on display. The festival hosted not less than 500 people each day. There was hardly notable Nigeria filmmaker or product who made sense that did not grace the festival. With the governments unalloyed support in some areas like security and hotel bill subsidy, the first Abuja International film festival lived up to its billing. “I never knew. This is just the beginning. As the theme goes “Celebrity Nolly Wood at home”, it has become a phenomeon and must not be allowed to.”
Available statistics have shown that in the midst of the many Videos produced in Nigeria, there are good ones which this festival has exhibited and this will improve by 70% in the next six years. “I think this is a good start” Dr. (Mrs.) Mercy Sokomba, acting managing director, Nigerian Film Corporation, said while receiving award for the corporation.

Nigerian Films did not disappoint at the festival. Igodo, The coin, Agogo Eewo and Sango after all the rigours and screening, made to the final. After looking at all the finalists, an all round Animation movie, Night Shift from Finland was adjudged the best at the festival. Night Shift was given the – Gold Jury Award. War from the United Kingdom came 2nd, and The Door from Croatia came third in the Best Animation category. Nelly from the United States and Sango from Nigeria came 2nd and 3rd as the Best Overall films after – Night Shift at the epoch event. The Best Short film was – What Are You Having from the United States. The Coin from Nigeria came second. While the looters a U.K. film too the third position. In the Best Feature category, Nelly once again came tops as the best International feature film at the festival. Rolling in Habana took second from the United Kingdom. For its natural features, aesthetics authority and graphic production, Femi Lasode’s Sango was adjudged the Best Feature entry from the Nigerian scene. Igodo came second followed by Tunde Kelani’s Agogo Eewo. The Indians did not do badly too at the festival. For the Best Document, Hear Troubles and final solution came first and second respectively. Farewell old lady a film from America came third, The Best Local Language film was – Agogo Eewo while Mutum an Hausa film came second. “I said it. I’ve always known Nigerian films and acts will get to this stage. Look at their films, improved technical quality each day. You “Sango” is a testimony,” Hamida Suliman from the MNET commented at the awards.

From the home front, Chief Chukwuemeka Chikelu, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Chief (Mrs.) Titi Abbaka, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Chief (Mrs.) Dorothy Anyiam Osigwe got awards of Excellence for their contribution and support to the Nigeria movie industry . NIRA sound laboratory, Chief (Dr.) Kintunde Ayeni Eddie Ugbomah, MNET/Africa Magic, Actors Guild of Nigeria (Abuja) Association of Movie Producers and the Nigerian Film Corporation also got Special Recognition Awards for their immense contribution to the development of films industry in Nigeria. “I’m really touched with all I saw. I just came back from London and I came straight to this festival. I will always offer my service to make things better anytime I’m called because I believe in what I have seen,”Movie Prodction, Zeb Eiro remarked.

The Gala Nite for the festival was a superb one. It was held at the Cozy Chelsea International Hotel arena. With popular youthful actor Desmond Elliot in charge of affairs, Nigeria’s immense cultures and acts were on showcase.
Adeoye Olunla Bayo
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