IREP2017 Film Review – Footprints: The British Council Archive Project.
Footprints is a documentary about Nigeria’s colonial past that comes in form a good number of episodes recording the pre-independent . It reveals the various moments of the = period of the country, as well as other African countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone and others. The themes however dealt with Nigeria, her existing warfare, evolving cultural matrices and, her process and build up towards industrialization, militarization, governance, popular cultural essence. Throughout the sequences of the documentary, there is an understanding of cities (the development of cities across the country) and their histories. This valuable piece of work, also gestured towards the representation of the constructions of major bridges such as the River Niger, the first attempt at railway construction in Northern Nigeria and so on.
The film also gives credibility to the ways by which governance was conceived in Northern, Eastern, and Southern Nigeria- shortly before independence. One of the exciting moments in the film was the short narrative episode which was devoted to the growth and reputation of Star Beer, and how it permeated throughout the Nigerian nation as one of the earliest alcoholic drinks.
The crux of the presentation simply testifies to the social responsibility and role played by the British Council Nigeria, situated in Lagos, and its quest at promoting the culture and practice of archiving of visual production in Nigeria . The project according to the curator and representative of the British Council to the IREP Documentary Festival, 2017, Mr. Fusi Olateru-Olagbegi, “is simply a work in progress”. It also means that putting the episodes together is yet to experience its final completion. It privileges sustained education about not just the history of Nigeria, but also the history of Documentary film-making itself as an art and practice, which should be important to all.
Finally, in a time when the subject of History among High Schools and Colleges in Nigeria has been displaced from the curriculum about a few years back, there is a need for students to see such productions. This is not just urgent but crucial to their acquisition of unrivaled knowledge. British Council’s commitment to the development of the arts is not in doubt. It has shown remarkable temperament at social responsibility. Presenting a valuable work and material of history is not something to be seen as trivial in a time where the importance of Archiving Africa is imperative.
iREP Media Team