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 http://www.mindanews.com/buy-valtrex/ 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
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Egypt’s Modern Pharoahs.
Jihan El. Tahir.Director.
In Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs Tahir chronicles, using the leadership styles of four prominent leaders who were crucial to the rise of Egypt’s nationhood shortly after independence from imperial powers. In three distinctive parts or episodes the documentary focuses on the individual visions and objectives of General Mohammed Naguid, Gammel Nasser, President Sadat and Mohammed Mubarak. In this documentary, El-Tahir gestures towards chronicling the rise to ‘’stardom’’, and fall/demise of each of these leaders during a time of transition in Egypt to a full democracy. But the various transition rose against the complex issues of various groups such as the Islamic Brotherhood, Radical Islamic Fundamentalist group, students protestants, and also the civil rights movements. Each regime had its own visions, derived extensively from either socialist or capitalist ideologies. But such visions seemed to emerge with tense opposition from a larger chunk of the citizenry. The interest of the leaders were put above the well-being of the whole nation.
These visions led to the several uprising, snowballing into dangerous insurrections that gradually turned a once hopeful nation into a police state. Opposition to these governments were brutally smashed, outspoken critics were incarcerated unjustly, military prominence was kept at bay. These vestiges of history as documented in the film has led to the current state of the Egyptian nation.
Jihan El. Tahir’s style of presentation is obviously unique as she employs a composite media structure that enables the viewer to recognise her personal signature as a documentary filmmaker. Her gift of underlying truth and fact is constantly privileged by her personal styles- of providing series of interviews with key players, shakers and removed observers of Egypt, still pictures of the presidents that form the subjects of this film-juxtaposing dialogues, conversation and speeches were significant for appropriate visual interpretation. In addition to the above, there are also numerous still pictures of uprisings and all manners of insurrection between and among groups.
There are also footage of events which incredibly sustains the flow and narrative of the themes such as footage of the wars between Israel and Egypt; followed by the wreckage the wars left behind in Egypt.
The point which Tahir makes in Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs much like any of her other films is that the structure of governance has always been the same, and does not change. The transition which the people of Eygpt constantly and periodically anticipate every moment are thus the same and not different from any previous government. Her position, therefore, is that the meaning or subtext of democracy in Egypt is that which depicts absurdity, and has come from a history of political instability.
During a question and answer session after the screening of the film, she expressed her concerns pointing to the crux of the matter that, African leaders were never originally dictators as it was clear to all that they fought tirelessly for the freedom of the people. They also contributed immensely to the liberation of the people of Egypt from colonial rule-which lingered for no less than seventy four years. But a more crucial question which lurks on margins of the film is “how do our liberators become dictators?” This is an important question because it privileges the depressive realisation that all African leaders began with an ideal vision, and somewhere along the line ended up becoming extremely brutish and intolerant. They promised and failed to deliver the much needed nationhood and national solace desired.
Jihan El Tahir has given us yet another film to think about. Africa as a continent is always in transition, as seen from the perspective of the filmmaker. Female filmmakers are registering their voices and they are constantly heard. Their presence are felt at the threshold of this crucial moment in the annals of African cinemas. Jihan El Tahir presence in the production of African documentary films is phenomenal. Her style creatively produces that sense of the archival language, which has permeated every single thing she has touched in a most idiosyncratic of ways.
iREP Media Team
Behind The Rainbow
In the wake of an Independent South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC); the country’s foremost partisan political organisation is set to nominate the first democratically elected president. The one who is first to be considered for this leadership position is Mr. Oliver Tambo because of his courageous exploits during the apartheid era but his failing health disqualifies his candidature.
The man whose feet best fit this big shoe is no other than another respectable politician, brilliant lawyer – Nelson Rolihaha Mandela.
Upon being elected, he is saddled with the onerous task of ensuring that the Republic is set on the wheel of social reconstruct. A task which guarantees overall economic gradation and political stability but this was short lived with instabilities of policies ranging from Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), a socialist pilot programme aimed at ensuring general social wellbeing of the people to the outrageous GEAR’s capitalist policy – one who is targeted at enriching only a few.
The live coverage of the ANC’s National Convention and selected interviews with past and present political eggheads such as Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, and Chris Homi etc. gives an in-depth analysis to the very essence of the film. The precision with which narration follows and subsequent footages from street and actual parliamentary scenes affords the audience the rare privilege of living in the gory moments of the Katsung clash. The police and people confrontation as well the schism that pervades the ruling ANC party as well the defining moments when Mandela relinquishes power, the Thabo Mbeki ascension to power as well the incumbent Jacob Zuma.
An intensified piece it is as it digs deep into the analysis of history and nationalism describing in all sense describing the pitiable state of the African politics. Using archival contents derived therefrom, it will certainly do well for further academic and sociological researches.
iREP Media Team
Green Passport in a Rainbow Nation
The short film is a welcome detour in the wake of recent xenophobic attacks on foreigners, particularly Nigerians living in South-Africa.
With its backdrop as Ubuntu, a term in South-Africa that means ‘humanity’, the documentary investigates the implications of being a Nigerian (Green Passport) living in South-Africa (Rainbow Nation) and also profiles the resourcefulness of Nigerians that have gone on to establish successful businesses despite the existing stereotype ascribed to them. Ronke Macaulay interviews other nationals living in the country and their references about the Nigerians they have come across since living in South-Africa are nothing short of honourable. ‘They are responsible people’, says a Cameroonian, excitedly.
Temi a Nigerian Law student in one of South-Africa’s Universities complains that ‘it is a difficult living as a Nigerian here because we are usually associated with drugs and termed as ‘snubs’. Despite the stereotype, the Nigerian Consul General in South-Africa, Mrs. Uche-Aijule, says that some Nigerians have gone on to appropriate the negativity by dominating and holding strong positions in major sectors in South-Africa including education.
Perhaps Ronke is right when she states that ‘what unites us should be more than what divides us’.
IREP Media Team
The reputation of Jihan El-Tahri the foremost female Eygypian documentary filmmaker is a rare one. Her tenacity and painstaking attitude and elan towards her art is phenomenal. The in-conversation was much anticipated by the audience, and on the heels of the screening of her significant documentary, Behind the Rainbow. The documentary examines the transition of the African National Congress (ANC) and its crucial aspiration as a liberation party “by means of the evolution of the relationship between the prominent leaders, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma.”
Not only does the film show the bitter rivalry, but the resultant temprament is such that it threatens to tear apart the ANC and the South African nation, while the masses seek and anticipate the much needed hope of change.
The conversation became a moment of reflection for we Africans, and indeed the filmmaker herself-whose decision to make such a documnetary, is met with a kind of awareness. An awareness that the problem of African leadership, is constituted by the ‘veritable antipathies’among party members in any nation’s democracy, which has also become for Africa, a universal phenomenon.
Fielding questions from media practitioner and scholar, Ropo Ewenla (who stood in for the much revered curator, documentary film maker, and professor of long standing) Professor Niyi Coker, Jian El-Tahir provides sensitive and yet techinical responses that encourages one to come to terms with her reasons to make Behind the Rainbow. Her stance is essentially humanitarian, as it resonates deeply with the challenges of a people whose political structures in the twenty first century are not divorced from its imperial past, and how such a past has influenced the development of a political and yet democratic birth or rebirth.
The conversation with Jian El-Tahri was framed in such a style that it was inextricably linked to the screening of Behind the Raindow. The documentray is much more than an interrogation of South African politics but, an interrogation of an African political system. The film raises questions that are crucial to the current climate and problematic issues that are associated with African political independence such as: What are we not getting right in postcolonial African democracy? How has the mythologies of poltical independence in Africa, cut the people of Africa out of her restructurung agenda?Can the subaltern speak? If they can speak can they be heard by thier politcal leaders? If they are heard how do they (their political leaders) respond? What is the appearance of the structural problems of African poltics?
In spite of the problems that actually lingers in South African politics, one thing comes to mind. Among the ANC party members and stalwarts, there are no lords and servants. And even if there were lords and servants such dichotomies are not allowed thrive or exit among them. (An ideal that has permeated the party simce the time of Oliver Tambo- handed down to Nelson Madela, to Thabo Mbeki and then to Jacob Zuma).
Jian El-Tahri has given provided an important cinematic thriumph which tasks us all to rethink our politcs, our democracies as Africans and begin work (if we ever will) on changing the structures, which relied heavily on antiquated colonial structures. The documentary is a turning point to rethink Africa’s future. The first shift to the much anticipated restructuring of an ideal African dream.
Jian El-Tahir’s growth and reputation is significant to African cinema. Her work will continue to generate discussions, conversations and controversies at various points and platforms for a long time. For the 2017 IREP Festival, her particpation and appearance, and the screening of her films are a set of mines, to the quality and finesse of the festival.
– Tunde Onikoyi
IREP Media Team
Since the start, no film (arguably) better reiterates the theme of this year’s edition of the festival in bare minimum; Archiving!
The 97 minute long documentary directed by Filipa Cesar, takes us through the affects of a digitized protean research work that started in 2010 with collaborations from Sana na N’hada and Flora Gomes along with other contributors. From narratives about the fight for independence in Guinea-Bissau between 1963 to 1974, to images of the decaying audio and visual samples of abandoned http://www.cheapxanaxpriceonline.com archived of tapes of actual events, Spell Reel raises issues on the importance of archiving a people’s story; a people’s history because “we are gradually losing sight of who we are”.
The filmmakers travel to the places where the raw footages have been shot and from where they originate and this invokes a fresh set of conversations and debate.
Spell Reel captures an ‘archival’ example and serves as a reminder audiences of the use of the archives in the present.
iREP Media Team
Prod. Theo Lawson
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.
iREP 2017 Media Team
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
In 2010 Makin Soyinka, Jahman Anikulapo and I founded the I-Represent international documentary film festival in Lagos. Since then, We have made some progress making a case for rebuilding a vibrant documentary cinema culture in Nigeria. Our annual documentary festival has screened over 250 films from across the world partnering with other documentary festivals such as the Dok.fest in Munich Germany and the WADF out of the University Missouri in St. Louis Missouri and the New York University’s African Studies department. We have vigorously advocated documentary cinema as an important art form, yes, but more so as a powerful tool for empowering new voices and new perspectives on the issues of our political and cultural history and our development agenda within the framework of our ambitions for development, constitutional liberties, human rights, social justice and democracy. That is why IREP chose from inception to frame our intervention on the theme “Africa in self-conversation.” The clear recognition being that, Nigeria needs more than a cinema that entertains. Whilst we must continue to celebrate the emergence and growth of our Nollywood industry as an artistic and economic engine projecting globally the realities of our culture in fictional cinema, non-fiction day-to-day realities of institutional corruption, poor governance, gender inequality, ethnic divisions and economic paralysis of our country challenge our sense of responsibility as artistes. Our film industry is stronger and more relevant to our community if our filmmakers, can be persuaded to also turn their cameras on questions of important social issues armed with the power and perspective that makes documentary cinema so compelling. For me and for IREP, Making the case for documentary cinema at every opportunity such as today presents, is an on-going conversation. We need all of us in Nollywood especially to continue to hear it. The vibrance of our industry, the audience attention we have gained, gives us huge power to which we must now add purpose. Someone said filmmaking is an “act of provocation.” Perhaps the irony of Nollywood’s success, in this regard, may be that after these many years we are challenged to wonder what is the subversive value of our thriving cinema culture? What is our artistic response to the stagnation of development in our nation? We cannot continue to abdicate the space for the public intellectual to silly NYGoodHealth online bloggers and compromised newspaper columnists. The world is going through a whirlwind of complex issues on many fronts that challenge our understanding of the world, of ourselves and how we sustain our pursuit of peace and prosperity. These challenges are urgent and critical. They demand a response. As artistes, WE ARE THE RESPONSE! In a world of Sound-bites, documentaries provide us an opportunity to think, understand, and connect the dots. They are exploring the issues of our time, offering perspective, historical context and possibilities. They are controversial, divisive, fascinating, unexpected, and surprising. That is because Documentary is not a deliberate art form. It starts from questions not answers. Its success relies not in having all the answers, but in asking the right questions. And because development is a conscious agenda that requires mass mobilization, documentary cinema is a desirable “ideology” embracing diverse voices and realities. It insists on reflection. It invites debate. It is too important to be left in the hands of institutions. It needs to be in the hands of the population. Documentary cinema is vital to helping us express our ‘individualities’ within the blurred boundaries of globalization. All human experiences today, (social political and economic) are moving at a rapid pace requiring not only perspectives but individual interpretations of their meaning and impact. Thankfully the ‘accessibility’ of digital film equipment and the ease of digital broadcast and distribution have created possibilities for personal perspectives and individual voices to be heard. We need a cinema culture that deepens democracy, we need a cinema culture that advocates responsibility, elevates accountability, defends human rights and freedoms and exposes the vestiges of disease, poverty and illiteracy. Documentary cinema must be at the centre of these conversations. The complication of documentary of course is the intersection between art and activism. The narrative of reality and “truth” does not always allow for simple answers. But because its content is about shared experiences, its capacity for emotional connections cannot be contrived. That is why Nigerians have for so long dismissed the institutional documentary structures as more propaganda. We have to engender a new consciousness that reframes documentary’s importance not as a place to archive history but as a tool to make history and forge a future we desire. Our Filmmaking culture must do more than entertain, it must commit itself as well to engineering open, honest, connected and more vibrant human experiences.