Arts  

Nollywoodweek festival… loud in Paris

Serge (middle) with his team and the 2014 Nollywoodweek ambassador, Mahmood Ali Balogun (second right).

Serge (middle) with his team and the 2014 Nollywoodweek ambassador, Mahmood Ali Balogun (second right).

For four days beginning from tomorrow, the best of Nigerian films will be on showcase at the annual Nollywoodweek Film Festival in Paris, France. Organized by the association, Okada Media, the festival, which is in its third edition aims at providing access for Nollywood films in mainstream France and in Europe. It has also helped in popularising Nollywood films beyond the effort of Nollywood TV, a dedicated pay channel that was launched in France a few years ago. But more importantly, the festival has provided a platform for fostering distribution opportunities in Europe.

For most informed observers, Nollywood may have tapped into the African market but the market in Europe, particularly France has remained untapped market. “So the festival brings distributors, and the real filmmakers from Nigeria together and we are witnesses to the fact that many deals have been brokered and sealed and a few co-production agreements entered on the grounds of the festival since we started,” says festival’s Executive Director, Serge Noukoué who also disclosed that all the films that were curated for this edition will be screened at L’Arlequin Theatre in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

The Cinéma l’Arlequin located at 76 rue de Rennes is now home to the festival. It has served as space for the other festival events, which include a VIP cocktail with the filmmakers, panel discussions and a crafts marketplace.

As a build up to this year’s edition, the organisers had announced weeks back that the Haitian actor, Jimmy Jean-Louis, will serve as the festival ambassador for 2015. “Jimmy is a perfect representation of the open spirit that the festival advocates,” Noukoué said adding “after making his mark in the United States playing various roles in Hollywood, he headed to Nigeria where he acted in several movies with this will to contribute to the development this new industry and today, he sports his director’s cap with his documentary, Jimmy Goes to Nollywood, which will be presented on opening night on Thursday June 4th.”

This year, ten films will be screened for the Parisian audience to discover and eight of those films are in competition to win the Audience Award.

The official selection line up comprises ‘A Mile From Home’ directed by Eric Ameghien, ‘The Last Three Digits’ directed by Moses Igwang, ‘Dazzling Mirage’ directed by Tunde Kelani and ‘Gone Too Far’ directed by Destiny Ekaragha.

The other films on official selection are ‘Love or something like that’ directed by Shirley Frimpong, ‘Ojuju’ directed by C.J. Obasi, ‘October 1’ directed by Kunle Afolayan, and ‘Thy will be Done’ directed by Obi Emelonye.

Serge disclosed that several Nigerian actors such as OC Ukeje, Ramsey Nouah and Lala Akindoju would be in attendance while all the directors of all the films will be present to discuss their films. According to Serge “we have made arrangement for the filmmakers and the actors to be around. We have also moved from just having seven films last year to showcasing ten films. It means that we are growing every year and we will continue to expand. We are also expecting over 5,000 festivalgoers this year to be part of this unique event dedicated to this phenomenal industry.’’

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