FROM GOTHENBURG TO BERLIN: EXPLORING THE WORLD OF FILM
An inspiring experience for any festival organiser is visiting another festival. In February a team from IIFF made a tour of two European film festivals. The European winter was as brutal as usual, which made huddling down in cinemas all the more attractive.
The tour started in the charming Swedish city of Gothenburg with the 39th edition of the Gothenburg International Film festival (GIFF) which opened on the 27th of January. Although team IIFF arrived on the 4th of February, a week after the festival had opened, there was still many films and events to participate in. One of the highlights of the Scandinavian programming, on which GIFF focuses, was WELCOME TO NORWAY, the award winning Norwegian comedy which premiered at GIFF 2016. The well crafted take on immigration put a human face to both refugees to Norway and the Norwegians who have to integrate them into their lives. Another memorable film was the Danish film THE MODEL, a heartbreaking story of a young Danish girl who tries to break into the Parisian fashion industry.
A panel on Nollywood, an industry that has grown to become the second largest film industry in the world, included Nigerian writer and filmmaker, Biyi Bandele, filmmaker O.J “Fiery” Obasi and veteran film journalist and critic Shaibu Husseini as well as casting agent Sarah Inya Lawal. It was once again glaringly obvious that the only female representation on the panel represented a service branch of the industry and not the branch that has to do with deciding high narratives are or are not told. In a similar vein artist and filmmaker Onyeka Nwelue, who is making a documentary about Flora Nwapa and her seminal novel EFURU, complained that while much was made of THINGS FALL APART at fifty, little attention had been paid to the novel EFURU in its fiftieth year after publication. The discussion itself centred on the transition from mass production of low budget films to the what is termed “New Wave Cinema” which has higher production values.
After four days of networking and sourcing films for IIFF 2016 the IIFF team departed for Berlin to experience one of the largest film showcases in the world.