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Mali Blues Lutz Gregor 90 Minutes Mali Blues, a music themed documentary depicts the history of Music Revolution in Mali. The documentary takes us on a voyage through Timbuktu to Bamako to Kidal, as we follow the lives of runaway musicians who moved between Europe and Mali; who come together to educate citizens on the “de-secularization”, through Music. Its starts off with a concert in a swampy area with over five thousand Malians enjoying music from Fatoumata Diawara, Bassekou Kouyate, Galedou Master Soumy, Ahmed Ag Kaedi and a few others. On this voyage, we are led to the personal lives of these musicians and how they started: Ahmed Ag Kaedi from Kidal, in his white turban, talks about why he left his beloved http://laparkan.com/buy-sildenafil/ desert as he prepares tea beer from his little kettle. He exchanged the gun for the guitar. The Afrocentric Fatoumata Diawara gets back to Mali to educate the women against unhealthy customs, like Female Genital Mutilation and getting young girls back to school. Through her music, she Africanizes the world. Galedou Master Soummy tours the prison and home for rapping against the religion he felt was destroying Mali. He went on and on with “Explain your Islam” Through the different stories of these characters, this film brings you on an intimate journey with Malian Music and brings you closer to people who have used it to inspire their different paths forward. Imoh Eboh iREP 2017 Media Team
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Free Fela Prod. Theo Lawson 45 Minutes Fela Anikulapo-kuti is a revolutionary ; energetic performer; multi-instrumentalist whose music as the voice of truth still echoes in the minds of many, nearly a decade after his death. The documentary was preceded by musical performances at the 2016 annual Felabration – a Fela tribute party, held at Freedom park with short interviews and art aficionados as a dedication to the man whose voice would never be surprised by powers of the government. The big question is: Can one still be incarcerated after death? The filmmaker- Mr Theo Lawson states affirmatively that the ideals of this exceptional being also called Abami Eda remains a taboo whilst some of his songs are forbade by the excluded from mainstream airwaves. The documentary also takes a peep into the Gbemisola street in the Ikeja residence of the late Afro-beat which presently serves as ‘Kalakuta Museum’- a home for all and sundry. It is sufficiently adorned with his personal effects archived for research and similar purposes. Another side to the documentary pays much attention to the essence of live performances, particularly wiithin Freedom park. One is tempted to say that the title Free Fela is a deliberate attempt to state the symbolic representation of Freedom Park, formerly a prison space for political offenders, as a location to express himself fearlessly as this has been a conscious construction of space in Freedom Park. With the film’s composition of footage and thematic texture, we are reminded of the Fela’s vision to continue to enlighten the future generations, his passion for sharing with the young audience. Could it mean that he was sending them a message, and continuously this message remains relevant to us. It is true that the Nigerian government and corporate bodies have not given honoured his legacy its worthy manner. Free Fela reminds audiences that the archives are an important place to be reminded of the powerful stance that Fela took and that his message remains as a powerful response to the times. Babatunde Odubanwo iREP 2017 Media Team
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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
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iREP 2017

Theme: ARCHIVING AFRICA

Date: March 16-19

Venue: Freedom Park, Lagos

Thematic Notes: Africa has always been faced with a major challenge of connecting the dots in its historical past. A large part of what constitute the verifiable history of Africa’s past today is sourced from the west. The facts of our historical journey are told to us by western imperialists and we simply regurgitate what is made available to us. In an age when even technology looking forward into the past to understand what is most valuable to our humanity, many African societies are shrouded in a blanket of collective amnesia. Decades after the last of colonized society in Africa has gained independence, the legacy of European dominance remains – we must recourse to Europe to peep a glimpse of African history and cultural properties because they are mostly domiciled outside of the continent. Our history is ours in bits that is allowed to us from the West! Documentary/documentation films must respond to this, if it must by any chance, put a stop to the tragedy of forgetfulness in Africa. Storytelling is essential to nation building; each cultural property that is locked away in archives and museums in Europe is a repository of our history, journey and insights into what we can become. Conceived on the traditional thematic framework of Africa in Self-Conversation, the IREP Film festival 2017 will rigorously explore the opportunities open to Africa to bring its historic past into an archival system that is accessible on demand, and most importantly, how we can begin to use these materials to define a path for the future through storytelling. In distilling the theme, “ARCHIVING AFRICA,” we intend to focus on the core issues of RESEARCH, PRESERVATION, DIGITIZATION, LICENSING AND RIGHTS and DIGITAL REPATRIATION. The 2017 edition of IREP Film Festival promises to be four days of over 40 documentary film screenings, insightful panel discussions, training and workshop, and networking with guests attendance from countries like Germany, United States, South Africa, Egypt, Mali, Ghana, Cameroon etc.   GUEST OF HONOUR Our guest of Honour will be the Egyptian/South African filmmaker, JIHAN EL-TAHRI. We plan to have a special highlight of her films: CUBA – An African Odyssey, Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs and Behind the Rainbow. Each film will have a special screening and an extensive session of  “JIHAN IN CONVERSATION” where she will be talking about how she builds her stories around archival resources.  PROFILE Jihan-Angola-Shoot-guestJihan El Tahri is an award winning director, writer, producer and visual artist. She is an Egyptian and French http://www.besttramadolonlinestore.com national, who started her career as a Foreign Correspondent covering Middle East Politics. In 1990 she began directing and producing documentaries for the BBC, PBS, Arte and other international broadcasters. Since then she has produced and directed numerous documentaries, her most recent is  “Nasser” part of this year’s official selection at Toronto International Festival. She has also Produced and directed the acclaimed documentaries “Behind the Rainbow”, “ Cuba, an African Odyssey”, as well as the Emmy nominated House of Saud.  Her writings include “Les Sept Vies de Yasser Arafat” (Grasset) and “Israel and the Arabs, The 50 Years war” (Penguin). El-Tahri is also engaged in various associations and institutions working with African cinema. She has served as treasurer of the Guild of African Filmmakers in the Diaspora, Regional Secretary of the Federation of Pan African Cinema (FEPACI) and as an Advisor on Focus Feature’s Africa first Program. She is also a Mentor at the Documentary Campus El-Tahri started her working career as a journalist. Between 1984 and 1990 she worked as a news agency correspondent and TV researcher covering Middle East politics. In 1990 she began directing and producing documentaries for French television, the BBC, PBS and other international broadcasters. Since then she has directed more than a dozen films including the Emmy nominated The House of Saud, which explores the Saudi/US relations through the portraits of the Kingdom’s monarchs. The Price of Aid, which won the European Media prize in 2004, examined who really benefits from the system of International Food Aid. Cuba: An African Odyssey, which recounts the untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions, has received multiple International awards. Her most recent feature documentary Behind the Rainbow, which examines the transitional process in South Africa, has been released in 2009 and has since won various prizes. She is currently finalizing a 3 hour documentary provisionally titled Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs. El-Tahri has also written two books, The 9 Lives of Yasser Arafat and Israel and the Arabs: the 50 Years War published by Penguin. Jihan El-Tahri is also engaged in various associations and institutions working with African cinema. She has served as treasurer of the Guild of African Filmmakers in the Diaspora, Regional Secretary of the Federation of Pan African Cinema (FEPACI) and as an Advisor on Focus Feature’s Africa first Program. She is currently a Mentor at the Documentary Campus.
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In its sixth year running, IREP Documentary Film Festival is undoubtedly emerging as the biggest film festival in sub-Saharan Africa.  The widely acclaimed artistic fair is pivoted on the thrust “Africa in Self Conversation”, a phenomenon that seeks to represent the African cinematic experience to a global audience, while also translating and provoking a pragmatic discourse to invigorate the needed appetite for the hungered positivism on the continent. “The wonderful thing about the documentary film art form is that primarily, it causes you to think. Whatever the subject matter of any documentary you watch; it changes you”, says Femi Odugbemi – the multiple-awarding film-maker who doubles as the Executive director of the festival. This assertion must have inspired the theme of this year’s festival, themed # Change: Documentary Film as Agent Provocateur. Perhaps, on sighting the theme many would have thought it was a puppetry of politicking. But it turned out not to be so. Rather, it was set to put the minds of audience, especially Africans, in the right perspective for the mental revolution that would evoke the right change across the continent in the face of the present economic malady, political upheavals and religious subversion. IMG_9728 Over thirty films were screened at four different venues, namely: Freedom Park (Lagos Island), Afrinolly Space (Oregun), Goethe Institut (City Hall) and the Nigerian Film Society (Ikoyi), as a way to effectually avail all and sundry a feel of the festival irrespective of time and space. Each of the films was painstakingly selected to exemplify the intricacy of the thematic value. Amongst the selected films are: Negritude: A Dialogue between Soyinka and Senghor by Prof. Manthia Diawara, which cross-examined the conceived ideas of these two doyens of Pan-Africanism in relation to the struggle for Independence http://www.mindanews.com/buy-accutane/ that vogued the 50s and 60s vis-a-vis the cobwebs of multiculturalism and religious intolerance that plagues the African community today. Ota Benga, a film by Prof Niyi Coker, expressed shock over the trails of the white supremacists’ aversion to a kidnapped black man whose  name doubles as the title and insidiously placing him amongst the lesser mammals in a bid to establish Darwin’s theory of evolution. The tragic epic also explores the continuous imperialist manacle of low esteem of the African race. Faaji Agba by Remi Vaughan Richards and The Revolution will not be televised by Kim Bartley, Donnacha O’Briain are amongst the screened films. The official launching of the Irep Film Foundation by Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, who himself is an art enthusiast, added a feather to the festival’s resolve at qualitative film delivery and professionalism, believing  in the power of apt synergy. The three day of glitz and glamour, sights and sounds ended with an art stampede by the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA), where the prospects and challenges experienced by artists were broadly expounded citing possible panacea to the highlighted pitfalls which inter-alia include: Lack of political will, insecurity of the artists in the face of conflicting interests, restricted freedom, low patronage by the teeming masses, lack of coordinated direction due to absence of working cultural policy. On a final note, the 2016 iREP film festival may have come and gone but not without achieving the aim of the organizers which was to bring to the notice of the world, the capability of Nigerians and indeed Africans to write our story and document our history in the most acceptable manner for everyone who cares to know.
  • Babatunde Odubanwo
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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.
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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 http://www.mindanews.com/buy-ventolin/ 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. Why documentary? 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.’
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Documentary film plays an important role in recording some of the most atrocious incidents deeds of white or western inhumanity to black, and more specifically to the people of the African world. This particular documentary captures the incidents leading to the invasion of an African hamlet or village. It particularly reels the wicked acts meted on an innocent but; unlucky young African man leading to his capture, sojourn to the land of the white man, the dehumanization which he experiences and his eventual death. Made by African American studies Prof. Niyi Coker of the University of Missouri-St-Luis, Ota Benga shows the various indecencies of a clergyman Rev. Viener who is instructed to explore Africa by his own employers. Entering the village under the pretence of a religious mission, Viener eventually acts brutishly by abducting Ota Benga with brute force, and takes him to the white man’s land. Upon arriving in the U.S, Ota Benga is used as a specimen to be put on display of an exhibit, in a museum among the remains of dinosaurs and various animals. Ota Benga experiences great shock and immense psychological humiliation. He becomes an object of amusement before several white audiences who encounter a Black person from the African continent for the first time. This encounter was influenced by a racist colonial narrative, which classified races placing Black people at the bottom of the hierarchy. Ota Benga became a tool for the exhibitionist who puts him for auction. The treatment he received at the museum and by the spectators led to damaging physiological torture. This led to a movement of people who protested for his capturing, eventually resulting in his release. However, the psychological damage became a permanent part of his spirit…He then takes his own life to escape the psychological trauma. His name changed to Ota Bingo as inscribed on the tomb. The documentary has its strengths in that the content mixes exactly with the form, structure and techniques. Niyi Coker adopts a multimedia approach, and goes the extra mile by using facts curled from newspapers and magazines which recoded the sad ordeal of the subject. Original letters of, and from Rev Viener to his employers about his sojourn to Africa and vice versa, montage reels of 17th century America and the so called African primitive world, the cultural landscape of African civilization, cartoon illustrations of African rituals, festivals, and the various levels of invasion of Africa by white men holding guns across their shoulders, pictures of the Ota Benga himself as a happy young man. Niyi Coker also draws on real time interviews with scholars from various fields of study, and more interestingly a few relatives of Rev. Veiner, who Niyi Coker confessed were at first reluctant and hesitant to speak about the malodorous behaviours of Veiner. These interviews helped in gathering facts about the ridicule Ota Benga experienced. There were other dramatic strategies to the documentary as Niyi Coker employed the services of actors who could intone the accent of the characters that contributed to the miserable life of Ota Benga before his untimely death. These voices were so real and had life that could almost put one in a position as to be part of the entire occurrences and happenings within the period in question. This is what Brian Larkin refers to as the “Aesthetic of Outrage”, a situation which compels the member of audience to be directly involved in the story as it occurred in real time. In this kind of story there is a tragic side and because there exists a tragic side it will be cathartic. Niyi Coker illustrates a situation of the past to compel us to think about our own situation in the modern world, and how the African person is treated. Further, the film allows the audience to think about the cultural identity of the Black body as it crosses borders, but continues to be oppressed by the colonial structures that were historically created. The spectacle that is created out of Ota Benga in a cage shows viewers the way the history of colonialism, profit, racism and imperialism are all connected and have led to the historic and continued dehumanization of the Black body. Tunde Onikoyi & Nayo Sasaki-Picou IREP Media Team.
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I welcome you all to the 110th ART STAMPEDE of the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA). I thank IREP for providing the platform for the first of several events of CORA’s 25th anniversary. In June 1991, smack in the era of the great silence, some 60 artistes of various persuasions-sculptors, TV scriptwriters, TV soap producers, filmmakers, novelists, painters, essayists gathered in a courtyard in Festac Town, on the far west of Lagos, for the first  QUARTERLY Art Stampede. It was the signature take off of CORA, a group of culture enthusiasts who fancy themselves as landscapists of the Nigerian culture scene. The big idea of CORA was to wet the fields for the country’s artistic flowering. The raison d’être for Art Stampede was to have some kind of artists parliament to throw ideas around that could help shape the economy of culture production. The plan was that culture producers aged between 18 and 40 should have a space to air their hopes and misgivings about anything from cultural administration in the country to the quality of post -Soyinka literature. Sitting here now, in 2016, I know some of you may be thinking: What’s the big deal? But 1991 was 14 years after Festac 77, and although there were quite a number of things happening, they were not in relative the gush that they do now. Nollywood had not happened. The Nigerian novel was in retreat and though Poetry was a strong genre of the Literarti, the publishing industry was gasping under the strictures of the Structural Adjustment Programme. Most art exhibitions in Lagos happened inside the spaces of foreign cultural institutions. With social media in full bloom 25 years after, everyone knows what everyone else is doing at any point in time. Back then, however, we desperately need a “hangout” to network. Indeed, the immediate reason for starting a conversation platform where you could discuss style over kegs of palmwine and break with interludes of live performances, was that the US Information Centre shut the auditorium that young intellectuals of the time used to get together in informal meetings to banter about the facts and fiction of the time. We like to boast that a lot of things that have happened since took physical form because our highly publicised debates put the ideas in the air: Where we lamented about lack of exhibition spaces 25 years ago, the city is now crawling with galleries, even if the standard fare is still to convert a three bedroom flat on Victoria Island to a viewing space. Goethe Institut is now less the default exhibition venue for Nigerian painters than TerraKulture, which came to life in the 15th year of the Stampede. The French Cultural Centre has lost the title of the networking venue to Freedom Park and Bogobiri. Where we questioned What Literature, there is now enough happening in the literary scene to support several Prize awards. Where we argued about the demise of the cinema culture and deliberated about the means to create a vibrant Nigerian Film Industry, we now have Nollywood Phase 3 and everyone agrees it is a work in progress. Where we wondered why the Nigerian music took a back seat in the Nigerian night club, now the Nigerian hip hop is a staple of lounges and bars everywhere in sub-Saharan Africa. Some foreign centres even started copy catting the Nigerians; the Goethe Institut now has a routine rooftop photo party, a concept we experimented with a Rooftop Garden Party at the National Theatre in 1996, with a stampede devoted to Ben Enwonwu, the late Patriarch of Contemporary art in Nigeria. As the stampede evolved, the core competency of CORA became something like getting a structured conversation on the culture scene. In retrospect, it’s not surprising that we are the first Nigerian –individual or institution- to win the prestigious Prince Claus Award for culture development. We won that award for the rigour of conversations on culture. The art stampede itself has evolved over time and CORA has moved from just being a promoter of conversations to a shaper of events. Two of CORA’s major periodic programmes of the last twenty years have been both the monthly Highlife Party, which ran for seven years and the Lagos Book and Art Festival. In the former, like what the organisers of AfroPolitan are doing today, we put the concept of revival of Nigeria’s most cosmopolitan music genre in a bar and lounge, a popular space where people would otherwise come and entertain themselves. The Lagos Book and Art Festival has become our signature programme. The Festival took off in 1999, the year of our return to democracy. Let me be clear on this; it was several years after the lights went out on the Ife Book Fair –once the largest book fair on the continent-and the same year that the Nigerian International Book Fair was taking off. But we didn’t want a Book Fair; as CORA is for all the arts, we wanted an Arts Festival with a high book content. The idea has blossomed since we wet the fields 17 years ago; there has been the Port Harcourt Literary Festival, the Bayelsa Book and Cultural Festival, the Ake Arts and Book Festival, Anambra Book and Creativity Festival. We haven’t got paid for the Franchise!   I thank the audience for permitting all that backgrounding to today’s event. The Stampede today is to focus on Documentary & Creative Freedom. This collaboration with IREP is a manifestation of our decision, eight years ago, to dedicate a conversation, every year, to the moving images. We started by running the conversation at BOBTV, a brainchild of the indefatigable Nigerian movie producer Amaka Igwe,  in Abuja in 2010. BOBTV has since been rested and we’ve berthed at IREP, naturally . If you watch closely, IREP is hardly indistinguishable from CORA. The man who is emceeing the proceedings, Jahman Anikulapo, is 70% of all of CORA put together.  And Mr. Theo Lawson, the architect and builder of this venue, is both a trustee of CORA and a director of IREP. We have chosen the theme of Freedom, for the umpteenth time in our event because without at least a perception of freedom, our whole notion of flowering of the artistic enterprise, of a wild field of activity, will be restricted.   This is the era of Change: we ask this afternoon, what is the fate and fortune of Documentary Production and Exhibition in an Era of Change. The context:  Documentary films are largely works of Journalism– dealing with reality and presentation of facts; and this could be antithetical to expectation and interest of the State or holders of political or economic powers. It could also create tension between the filmmaker and such officials; in some cases it could lead to cases of harassment, persecution or sometimes outright imprisonment as we have witnessed on recent times. This is the topic we would be tackling in the Stampede. But we want to use one slingshot to kill two birds. We will also discuss the issue of RIGHTS and DISTRIBUTION,in the context of the theme of the IREP 2016 — CHANGE –DOCUMENTARY FILM AS AGENT PROVOCATEUR. The issues to deal with here include: 1.  What rights have the documentary filmmaker, including economic rights ,and 2. What are the options for distributing the content, just in case there is a blockade of the traditional platforms such as screening in the cinema For this, we have invited two key institutions to share their ongoing projects 1. AUDIO-VISUAL RIGHTS SOCIETY, AVRS 2. MOKOLO PROJECTS The Stampede is also an extension of the ARTERIAL DAY celebration in Nigeria, organised by CORA/ARTERIAL NIGERIA. Three years ago, the Arterial Network, which is a commonwealth of organisations working to promote cultural practices all over the continent, chose CORA as the partner in Nigeria. Arterial Nework is a full bodied organization itself; and it has a robust set of individuals working on its programming. We are only the warehouse of its activities in the country. We have indeed benefitted from that partnership; having an official like Ayo Ganiyu, who himself is creator of the Yoruba Drum Festival, has enhanced CORA’s own programming capabilities, so we rub off.   Let there be a disclaimer: CORA is a mere facilitator of this conversation, the agenda setter, of this event, which is happening in the ambit of IREP’s Documentary Festival, so all complaints about this event, including the concerns about my long speech, should be directed to IREP. If there are any legal challenges; IREP should be the defendant. For specific views expressed by participants, please tackle these persons directly.   Welcome to the 110th Art Stampede. .   Very truly yours,   FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE ENTIRE CORA COLLECTIVE Toyin Akinosho Secretary General
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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
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