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Day 2 Recap – IREP Inspiring Change

The momentum of the 6th annual IREP film festival continued on day two, with the venues expanding to three different locations: Freedom Park, Afrinolly, and Nigeria Film Corp. Each venue showed films and hosted discussions that continued to explore the theme of #CHANGE through the use of documentary filmmaking. The day mostly consisted of film screenings, which led to very thought provoking conversations. The main venue at Freedom Park hosted a rich selection of films done by notable filmmakers such as Tunde Kelani, Niyi Coker, Femi Odugbemi and Andy Jones, to name a few. This fuelled a full day of provocative thought and reflection among the audiences, which was shown throughout all of the vibrant discussions during the Q&A sessions. Films like “Ota Benga” encouraged the audience to re-imagine the African identity as not only of the continent but as a global identity. What is revealed through the story of a person of continental African descent being forcefully removed to the United States to be put on display for his Black body? In the case of “Black Market Masquerade” how does the extraction of what’s conceived as “African art” to sell in Europe, reflect a misunderstanding about the cultures of African people. The audiences were brought into the discussion of these questions and beyond through the various documentaries shown. The films were in a fluid conversation throughout the day, offering important historical understandings of the African experience and the common misunderstandings that are used to tell the African story. Using various creative techniques, these documentaries show the international stories of African people. African, as a global identity. From the US (Ota Benga, Niyi Coker), to China (China Remix, Melissa Lekowitz & Dorian Carli-Jones), back to Senegal (Sembene, Samba Gadijigo & Jason Silverman), these films allow us to continue realizing the diverse but united African experiences across the world. The source of African unity breeding from a common historical experience of colonization that has transpired into African stories being told without the African voice. Inspiringly, the array of films of the day reminded audiences of the cinematic creativity that can be used through the documentary format. Odugbemi’s Makoko: Young Futures Afloat is an illuminate example of using the creative eye to give the audiences striking picturesque shots, where the visuals become a guiding narrative voice. The film explores the experiences of the people of the Makoko settlement with an inherent beauty that captures the reality without reservation. This is the power of documentary filmmaking. Artists can show the cultural reality of world stories through imaginative and thoughtful cinematic techniques. IREP continues to show the way the festival gives filmmakers a platform to creatively express these global identities and experiences, in the format of documentaries. This remains to have infinite potential, and as the festival continues, the beauty, power and potential of documentary filmmaking will guide the conversations of the people. The change happens here.   Nayo Sasaki-Picou IREP Media Team