IREP 2016 was featured on ThisDay last week. See extract on IREP below:
For the sixth year running and again in the month of March, the iREPRESENT Film Forum produced another iREPRESENT (iREP) International Documentary Film Festival. And from all accounts it was a very productive and successful outing. What with the array of experts from around the world that were in attendance as guests. The film entries were quite bountiful too. Considering that from a modest ten entries or less at inception in 2010, this year’s edition of iREP had well over a hundred entries from local and international participants. And there were guests and resource persons from different parts of the world too including Prof Awam Amkpa, Jane Mote, Prof Niyi Coker, Onye Ubanatu, Barbara Off, Julian Reich, Madeleine Dallmeyer, Barbel Mauch and others.
The 2016 edition of iREP held under the theme: ‘Change…Documentary Films as Agent Provocateur’. Expectedly, films were screened at different centres all over Lagos beginning from the Freedom Park ‘base’ of iREP. Also following through on one of its objectives of ‘providing an intense learning environment for young and aspiring film makers’, the festival held ‘hands on and skills development workshops’ in the course of four days between March 24 – March 27.
And of course, having continuous conversations is one of the things iREP has sought to promote. Manthia Diawara under the segment ‘In Conversation’ talked about Trends in African documentary; Steve Markovitz (South Africa) spoke on Documentary Funding while Andy Jones (UK)dealt with the Pitching. Onye Ubanatu on the hand spoke on ‘Doing More With Less: Introduction to Guerilla Film-making.’ And the big discussion coordinated by the Committee For Relevant Art the CORA Stampede titled ‘Change…Documentary and Creative Freedom.’
Faaji Agba as festival special
Many films leapt out at one from the iREP 2016 line up. You had titles like ‘Am I Too African To Be American Or Too American To Be African’ (Nadia Sasso), ‘I Shot Bi Kidude’ (Andy Jones), ‘My Big Nigerian Wedding’ (Ekene Som Mekwunye), ‘Obama Mama’ (Vivian Norris), ‘Negritude: A Dialogue Between Soyinka and Senghor’ (Manthia Diawara), ‘The Revolution Won’t Be Televised’ (Kim Bartley, Donnacha O’Briain).
Nonetheless, ‘Faaji Agba’, by Remi Vaughan Richard the festival special was also winner Best Documentary, AMVCA 2016. Faaji Agba, from 2009 to 2011, followed seven musicians aged between 68-85 years around Lagos: Fatai Rolling Dollar, Alaba Pedro, SF Olowookere, Ayinde Barrister. and others. Most of them were no longer active in the music industry but were brought together by Kunle Tejuoso, owner of Jazzhole Records.
I watched Faaji Agba last November in the company of some friends and we found it thoroughly informative not to mention entertaining. The musicians were a joy to watch. You could see they were happy more than anything else just to be acknowledged. The documentary Faaji Agba showed just how (much) professional the older brigade of musicians were.
It also showed that we do need to talk about our stars -put them in perspective, preferably when they are still alive. But even if they’re no longer around, it would still help to know some more about them.
I imagine organisers of iREP have been asked this question countless times: Why have a documentary film festival? Out of all possible aspects of film making to focus on? I think the fact that documentaries can be used to treat and tackle absolutely any subject matter is one factor in their favour.
What’s more, the fact that documentary films can run for as long or be as short as possible is another good point. But to put it in proper iREP perspective, Femi Odugbemi, co-founder of the iREPRESENT Film Forum explains the rationale behind iREP International Documentary Film Festival. He says it’s because documentary films aren’t just about ‘having all the answers but asking the right questions’.
More so, as documentaries ‘the nexus between fact, opinion and point of view…cause us to think…’ making them the ‘ultimate agent provocateur.’