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IREP 2016 Review by The Nation Newspaper

IREP 2016 Review by The Nation Newspaper
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IREP 2016 was featured on TheNation yesterday, 13th April. See extract below:

Viewers were spellbound by powers of documentary films during the Sixth iRepresent (iRep) International Documentary Film Festival at the Freedom Park, Lagos. The event was themed#Change: Documentary Films as Agent Provocateur. Over 30 select films were screened.

It was a fest of documentary films that explored its theme from an angle quite dissimilar from its erstwhile detached slant. Executive director/co-founder of Foundation for Development of Documentary Film in Africa, organisers of the iRep Film Festival, Femi Odugbemi said: “This year’s IREP festival comes at a time when it is most important to take the African storytelling experience to a new level of reckoning and celebration. The dimension of documentary as a tool for deepening experiences and mediating history makes it a powerful tool to unpack what we need to grow our nascent democracies.”

He described documentary films as a means of expression, probably as an alternative to or a partner with art, noting that “there is a need to find an outlet to document the “truths” of our experiences for historical purposes and hopefully, the negative chapters of that history, when documented in powerful narratives, will be slow to repeat itself. Documentary today must be about engineering open and more vibrant democracies”.

In her keynote address, Jane Mote who spoke on Documentary as Agent Provocateur at the film festival, said: “We have a responsibility to document the world honestly and to ask the questions that get us nearer to the truth. I passionately believe everyone should own their own stories”. Mote is media consultant for TV channels and digital media companies including Discovery, BBC Worldwide, London Live, The Africa Channel and One World Media

She expressed her belief in documentaries as a real opportunity for people to take control of their stories to define their cultures.

Meanwhile, four documentaries were screened at the opening and the first was Kenya: A Guidebook to Impunity, a 62-minute documentary by Maina Kiai. The documentary, which was about the Kenyan election that saw Uhuru Kenyatta become Kenya’s president. It is a deconstructive exposé on the election that had extraordinary consequences in Kenya. Reviewing the film, Dare Dan said: “It takes us from the grassroots to the apex of how things went down through the eyes of locals, rape victims, and those who lost limbs, property and loved ones.”

Also on the menu were HID Awolowo; The Legend, The Legacy by Dare Akpata, Negritude: A Dialogue between Senghor and Soyinka. These documentaries, as their titles readily imply, discuss the deceased wife of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and the well-known ideological differences between Professor Wole Soyinka and former Senegalese president, Sedar Senghor.

The Democrats by Camilla Neilsson is probably most engaging of all. A 100-minute documentary shot in politically unstable Zimbabwe where a new constitution was being put together by the ruling party of Robert Mugabe, ZANU-PF and the divided opposition party, MDC. It invites the audience to observe the entire process a la motion picture.

Reviewing the film, Agnes Atsuah said: “Any documentary, short film and such about Zimbabwe and her 30-plus years under the dictatorship of her president Robert Mugabe is bound to draw considerable interest and this 100-minute documentary is no exception. From the opening archival scenes where a small look into Zimbabwe’s past state of affairs is shown to the almost flawless transition to the film itself, it is almost impossible not to be drawn in.”

On the pace of the film, she said: “Pacing is done almost perfectly as each scene seems on the verge of an impending, inevitable finale of the failed system that the two often warring political parties so desperately tried to put into place. Desperation, frustration, disappointment and laudable hope are major emotions that mostly close-up shots translate so well.”

Among the guests present at the opening included Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka; veteran filmmaker, Tunde Kelani as well as other scholars and film enthusiasts.