The organisers of the annual Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) have announced The Square, an Oscar-nominated documentary by Egyptian filmmaker, Jehan Noujaim, as the opening night film and Hard To Get, from first-time feature director, Zee Ntuli, as the closing night movie.
The festival’s Artistic Director, Keith Shiri, said during a press conference at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Saturday, that AFRIFF 2014 would once again celebrate the amazing artistry that African filmmakers are known for.
He said: “Our opening night film is The Square, an Oscar-nominated documentary by the Egyptian filmmaker, Jehan Noujaim. This is a stunning film that charts the course of three years of Egyptian political upheaval that began in 2011. Our closing night film, Hard To Get, is a compact, highly enjoyable, kinetic and action thriller. The young South African director, Zee Ntuli, displays a mastery of the action genre with breezy performances from its main cast.”
Shiri, who was flanked by AFRIFF Founder/CEO, Chioma Ude and the festival’s Goodwill Ambassadors, South African actress Xolile Tshabalala and Nollywood star Rita Dominic, noted that this year’s selection is an array of feature films, “some hard-hitting documentaries and a generous selection of shorts representing over 30 countries from all the regions of Africa.”
According to him, other films that have made it into the festival’s official selection include Gone Too Far, an adaption from Bola Agbaje’s Olivier award-winning play set in London. Directed by Destiny Ekaragha, the outrageously enjoyable comedy focuses on two estranged Nigerian brothers as they meet for the first time.
He further stated: “Difret is another affecting feature debut from Ethiopia, detailing the traumatic experience of an Ethiopian girl accused of killing a man who had sexually abused her. Nigeria is strongly represented again this year with Tunde Kelani’s Dazzling Mirage, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen’s Invasion 1897 and the much-anticipated Kunle Afolayan’s October 1.
“There is equally a feast of compelling stories in the short films category, among which is the African Metropolis’ six short films that examine the complexity of urban life from Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi.”
Emphasizing Nigeria’s strong representation at the festival, Ude revealed that Invasion 1897, an epic on the historical Benin Empire, will enjoy a special screening at the festival. The film features top Nigerian stars such as Segun Arinze, Paul Obazele, Charles Inojie, the late Justus Esiri and Mike Omoregbe who played the lead role as Omo n’ Oba Ovanrawmen Nogbaisi.
In addition to the wide range of films, the festival also offers industry platforms for skill acquisition, financing, pitching, symposia on digital distribution and piracy.
AFRIFF 2014 is scheduled to take place at the popular Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, Calabar, Cross River State, from November 9 to 16.