We Were In DIFF As Scheduled, Says Chioma Ude
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) Chioma Ude has explained that the decision to hold the Nigerian day at the recently held Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) on May 24 (the festival opened on May 16 and closed May 26) was based on an agreement reached with the organisers of DIFF, saying AFRIFF is excited about the new partnership with DIFF.
Ude was reacting to comments suggesting that the Nigerian delegation might not have exploited fully its participation at the event since they arrived Durban towards the end of the festival. AFRIFF had facilitated the participation of some leading motion picture practitioners to the festival, which was in furtherance of a partnership it had entered with DIFF in March. When they met in March in Durban during a co-production fact-finding mission facilitated by the Kwazulu Natal Film Commission and coordinated by Jackie Mosepe and Filmmaker Mahmood Ali-Balogun on the Nigerian end, the leadership of DIFF and AFRIFF agreed to enter into an exchange and mutually benefiting relationship.
They agreed to make their presence felt at their respective festivals. What it means is that it will be the turn of DIFF team to be at AFRIFF when the festival opens in November in Lagos. ‘’We didn’t deliberately go there towards the end of the festival,” she said. “We were scheduled to be there as from May 22. The plan was for us to hold the Nigerian day with a panel discussion and hold a series of other events. We are happy to report that our events were well attended and, in fact, before we arrived, Nigeria was on the lips of all the festivalgoers.
“Some people even flew in from different parts of Africa into Durban when they learnt that a Nigerian delegation was in town and we were going to host a series of events and a party. So the festival might have been underway when we arrived, but it is not correct to suggest that we came when everyone has left’’.
On the partnership with DIFF, Ude said she decided on the partnership because of the great potentials that it holds for both industries. In her words, “For me, I see this as a great beginning, and there is so much the two countries can come together and do. And for those that are not from these two countries, there is a lot you can also feed from what is going on”.
The high point of activities for the delegation was the colourful AFRIFF/TRACE TV party, which observers have hailed as the real closing party of DIFF. But AFRIFF will not only be remembered for its party, a glamorous evening at the Velvet Lounge, Florida Road, which gave filmmakers a relaxed atmosphere to network, it will also be remembered for facilitating an exchange programme between the Nigerian motion picture industry and the eThekwini Filmmakers Association (AFA) and South African actors and filmmakers.