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It was another year of dominance for Nigerian filmsand filmmakers as they dominated the 19th edition of the Abuja International Film Festival with the theme: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF DIGITAL STREAMING REVOLUTION GLOBALLY.

The Film Festival which is the longest running film festival in Anglophone west Africa received an unprecedented 1,987 films from 97 countries, while about 49 films and filmmakers respectively made the nominees list at awards ceremony.

According to the Festival Director Temitope Duker who spoke journalist on the sidelines of the awardceremony, which held on Thursday 3rd November 2023 at Silverbird Cinemas with 115 films, screened during the 5 days film festival. 

As part of the rituals of the festival, the Executive Governor of Lagos Mr Babajide Sanwoolu was honored with the distinguished merit award of the festival for ho several interventions and support for the development for the industry. It is on record that he has during his tenure created capacity building initiatives that has so far trained over 2000 aspiring and established filmmakers in different aspects of filmmaking. 

According to the organizers, Mr. Sanwoolu has also created funding opportunities, which include grants,and interest free loans that several filmmakers have so far accessed. Also mentioned is the new film city being built around the Epe area of lagos.    

A total of 21 Films and Filmmakers carted home the awards on the night. The Night didn’t end without the newly introduced short film competition by Abuja International Film Festival and Hypo Home Care Product tagged SHOOT TO CLEAN that had over 187 films submitted over a 2 weeks window with the theme on Hygiene.

Interestingly, after a rigorous screening exercise by the Jury which had Segun Arinze, Monalisa Chinda, Mykael Parish, Charles Inojie, Temitope Duker and Akintayo Akinseloyin, 25 films will were shortlisted of which the final winning films were announced at the award ceremony. 

The Winning Clean to Shoot films were MY JUJU (2NDRUNNER UP), DIRTY SPACE (1ST RUNNER UP) and RULE NO 1 (WINNER)

The event played host to top movie actors and producers like Segun Arinze, Monalisa Chinda, PapelPaul, Bond Emeruwa, Victor Okhai, Steve Eboh,Charles Ojugbana, Tanko Yinusa, Alhaji AdedayoThomas DG National Film and Video Censors Board, Dr. John Asein DG Nigerian Copyright Commission, Charles Inojie, Yibo Koko, Mykael Parish, Sydney Diala, Moji Danisa, Barbara Odoh, AkintayoAkinseloyin of Hypo Home Care Products. 

According to the Festival Communication Officer Fidelia Duker, she confirmed to journalist that unlike the 2021 edition that had 1561 entries with 92 selected for screenings and 42 nominated for possible awards, Nigerian filmmakers won 9 out of the 15 categories.

Speaking on the 19th edition, Fidelis Duker the Founder of the Abuja International Film Festival, noted that the he is excited that the festival has come to say after crossing the 18 years mark of adulthood especially with the locals owning the Film festival as was the experience with the 19th edition.   

Speaking on the theme of the festival this year which centered on the revolution of streaming platforms which has become the global trend and its impact on the future of filmmaking in Nigeria that has a lot of prospect for the development of the nation,” said Duker.

Speaking during the Film Festival, Veteran Actor and Former President of Actors Guild of Nigeriacommended the tenacity of the organizers for sustaining the festival this pass 19 years as he looks forward to the 20th edition next year.

Also speaking at the sideline of the film festival Charles Okwuowulu whose film won the two hundred thousand-naira cash prize for his film MY JUJU in the SHOOT TO CLEAN competition and he believes the award will spur him to contribute more in the industry.

Former President of Screenwriter Guild of Nigeria and Veteran Actor Charles Inojie commended the organizers of the Abuja International Film Festival for keeping the festival for 19 years amidst the challenging economic realities.   “Nollywood is growing, we have our movie showing all over the world and it’s gaining outside recognition, it’s a win for us.”

During the event, award winners were announced as follows: 

1. Efere Ozako Outstanding Experimental Film
winner – Freetown To Flatbush – USA

2. Outstanding short film (Nigeria)
Winner – May 27th – Smart Edikan

3. Outstanding feature film (Foreign)
Winner – The Day I was Twenty – China

4. Outstanding feature film (Nigeria)
Winner Andy Amenechi – Enough of Silence 

5. Outstanding short film (Foreign)
Winner – The Day I was Twenty – China

6. Outstanding male actor
Winner Sambasa Nzeribe – Enough of Silence – Nigeria

7. Outstanding female actor
Winner Shaffy Bello – Obsession – Nigeria 

8. Outstanding films music score
Winner ‘Sin City – Nigeria

9. Outstanding film directing
Winner Sin City – Muyiwa Ademola – Nigeria

10. Outstanding film Animation

Winner – Larvae Story – Korea 

11. Audience Choice Award 

Winner – Obsession – Nigeria 

12. Outstanding Documentary film 

Winner – Journey of Igbo Civilization – Nigeria 

13. Outstanding Student film 

Winners – Aminata – Spain & Once a perfect Murder – Nigeria

14. Golden Jury Award 

Winner – Enough of Silence – Nigeria 

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