Film & Television

iREP 2023 Pays Homage to the Underserved

The four-day festival, iREP Documentary Film Festival returns this year in its hybrid form on March 16. With the theme “Documenting the Underserved: Agenda for Nigeria 2023,” this post-election edition will take place at its traditional venue Freedom Park, Lagos Island as well as satellite screening centres in Bariga, Ajegunle, Ejigbo and Ikorodu.

The festival which ends on March 19 will be streamed live. This is in step with its format since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the uncertainty of the post-election period in Lagos, the organisers of the festival, namely the Board and management of the Foundation for the Promotion of Documentary Film in Africa, have resolved to stage a moderated version of the festival.

Unlike its previous editions, the 2023 festival would specifically focus on Nigeria in its season of epochal political transition.

The theme “Documenting the Underserved: Agenda for Nigeria 2023,” has been strategically designed to address cogent issues in the national polity. This includes interrogating a responsible political system that insists on good governance and participatory democracy – two ingredients that have been lacking in Nigeria’s chequered 24-year-old democratic journey which began in 1999.

Part of the objectives of the theme is to direct attention of particularly young people to the power of documentary films in empowering them to be active participants in the discourses in their socio-political, economic and cultural environment.

Specifically, the theme, as would be reflected in choice of films to be screened and discussions at the minimised plenary, is to spotlight the powerful tool the young people have in their hands through their smartphones and other electronic gadgets, which they could easily deploy to expose the needs of their communities for the benefit of their elected representatives, who hopefully would be assuming their various offices with fresh mindset of serving the interest of their people.

iREP is embarking on the pilot scheme of the Inner City Screening (ICS) project, which will manifest through screening films in such suburbs of Lagos such as Bariga-Makoko, Ikorodu, Ajegunle, Ejigbo as well as at the festival’s traditional home – Freedom Park.

We hope to use the screened films to awaken the interest of the participants to their civic responsibility,”the Festival Programme Directorate writes.

“The ICS project will also help us in fashioning a critical aspect of the agenda for the iREP 2023-24 main project: the Documentary Film Curriculum Development project.”

To execute this programme, the iREP is partnering with screening centres in the select four pilot centres in Bariga, Ajegunle, Ikorodu, and Ejigbo.

The plenary session for the festival will include a seminar on documentary film curriculum development. This is designed as an exploratory meeting of scholars, experts and a focus group of professionals.

The idea is to gather information and data on existing teaching methodology and structure in the few film studies departments in select Nigerian universities.

With a projected participation of 12 faculties — film scholars, researchers and teachers – five from Nigeria and four from around the continent, as well as three from Europe and the West, the plenary aims to produce a working document that would then form the basis of agenda for discussion at the main conference. This is slated for July.

The symposium segment will focus on financial inclusivity. With reference to the recent crisis engendered by the “Naira Redesign” policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, speakers will reflect on how the poor and the common people could be given material empowerment.   The common people are authentic and free participants in the democratic system. Mr. Olu Akanmu, President and Co-CEO, OPAY Nigeria and Ms. Bunmi Lawson, CEO EdFin Microfinance Bank are listed as speakers in this session.

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