LACIFF to light up Omerife Festival in Oguta

Nollywood star Hilda Dokubo (left) LACIFF founder Ekine Stronghold, Paul Obazele, Chinasa Onyechere, Association of Movie Producers President Ralph Nwadike and broadcaster Olisa Adibua at the dinner.

As tourists and lovers of Nigerian movies gear up for this year’s Lakecity Film Festival (LACIFF), which hold between August 21 – 23, in Oguta Imo State, orgernisers have announced that the event will form part of this year’s Omerife Festival.

Omerife is the annual New Yam Festival celebrated during harvest time in Oguta. It stretches from the last week of August to the third week of September. It is a period of general merriment and thanksgiving to God and the ancestors, for a good harvest.

During the Festival, cows, goats and fowls are slaughtered by the Ezeigwe, the Iyasara, the Ezeukwu, the Ndanike, Nde Okpara, Umuishi, the Presidents and Patrons of all Age Grades, as well as the first sons of deceased fathers.

To be held under the theme, Tourism is the voice of unification, the founder of the film festival Mazi Ekine Stronghold, made the announcement at a media and industry dinner held at the Lagos Boat Club, Ikoyi, Lagos, to unveil the second edition of the film project.

“This year, the Lakecity Film Festival will hold against the backdrop of the annual Omerife Festival. This is in line with our set out objectives which is to celebrate the indigenous and showcase our rich cultural heritage. Oguta Ameshi, obodo girigiri, is a land of history with a lot of tourism potential. Oguta has everything that a creative mind wants and we intend to explore these natural resources of ours in line with the economic diversification drive of the Federal Government as a sure path to moving Oguta beyond oil,” Ekine said.

He further explained that this year’s edition will feature a blue carpet, Nollywood novelty football match, a business and investment roundtable, Igbo filmmakers’ forum, master classes, lake tour, Ogene Nkirika parade and a host of other fun filled activities.

He assured that LACIFF will continue to focus on indigenous films as a way of supporting local practitioners. Also speaking at the diner, which was attended by notable players in Nollywood, Dr. Ernest Nwapa, who has been a major patron of the festival, believe that Nigeria has enough potential to be a successful nation.

“This is why the Tourism Committee of the League of Oguta Professionals, of which I’m part of, is putting its weight behind LACIFF. We want to do tourism and this industry is made for places like Oguta. What we need to do is to work together to promote and design creative ways to grow of this union of Film and Tourism,” he said.

Lamenting the inability of the government to harness potentials in the film industry to boost Nigeria’s tourism, Nwapa said, “I believe this Omerife edition of the Lakeciy Film Festival, will be memorable. I promise the film Industry the food will be fresh. Oguta is very ready for Nollywood, the question is, how ready is Nollywood for Oguta.”

He commended the founder of the project for his passion, adding, “It is for this reason that I decided to invite some investors to be part of this year’s festival and see how they can engage film makers for investments,” he said.

Among other Nollywood stakeholders at the event are Board of Trustees Chairman of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Prince Ifeanyi Dike; President of the Association of Movie Producers of Nigeria (AMP), Mr. Ralph Nwadike, former president of the association, Paul Obazele; Actress Hilda Dokubo; Actors Chinedu Ikedieze, Charles Inojie, who is also the President of the Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN) and veteran filmmaker Tunji Bamishigbin.

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