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Opening Night at IREP2017: The Archives as Narrative Inspiration

Last night we kicked off the 7th annual iREP film festival at Freedom Park for an opening cocktail reception of the four-day festival. This year’s edition commenced in a rather seemingly manner. The sultry tunes of jazz music was the spice as the evening blues gave an expression of colour, fashion and style as people of diverse callings converged in the amphitheatre at Freedom Park to attend the short cocktail party and to circulate the energy of the first ideas of the themed festival: Archiving Africa. To open the greetings of the night, Mr. Femi Odugbemi the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the festival said, “This year, the theme of focus is archiving. We’re beginning to see the need for history”. Given the theme, this year is a very special theme with the composition of the festival. He says further of this year’s edition “it is unique because we are hosting a special guest and building the festival around the filmmaker” and soon after, introduces Jihan EL-Tahri; a diplomat, journalist and filmmaker from Egypt whom he says most of his works have been inspired by. The evening would not have been complete without the unveiling of the iREP foundation board members Chaired by Prof. Awam Amkpa who is doyen of filming and who works extensively in cultural and film based departments in New York at New York University. In his words, “iRep foundation started as a set of conversations among friends that have grown and the aim is to develop a repertoire of promotion of filmmaking; to tell stories of ourselves, our environment, our politics, and our history”. Throughout the week, the festival will inspire guests to continue to explore the theme of The Archives as an important resource of knowledge and site of re-imagining the African experience. The Archives, are a place that we can look to for documentation of the past and understanding our present conditions of society, culture, identity and self. Sharing stories of the African experience(s) which is not only defined by the boundaries of the continent, but throughout the world, should continue to be shaped and understood by the archives. And of course, translated into the art of documentary films, which we will continue to explore through the 7th edition of the festival. Starting off the line-up of films was a piece titled Free Fela produced by Theo Lawson and followed by Mali Blues by Lutz Gregor. The day came to a close with remarks by Mr. Jahman Anikulapo, the event’s organizer; a co-founder of iREP and a communicator par excellence. The festival continues tomorrow at 9:00 am. Babatunde Odubanwo & Eseosa Eguamwense iREP 2017 Media Team