The inaugural edition of the Edo State International Film Festival (ESIFF) kicked off in Benin City Thursday with the first lady of the state, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, flagging off the ceremony at the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub, and Sound Stage in Benin.
The Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs), whose purview the project is under, was on hand as were prominent members of the state executive as well as filmmakers and lovers from across the country and beyond.
Also in attendance were the Convener and Co-Chairman of the festival, Mrs. Dare Ukinebo, Chairman, Lancelot Imasuen; Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism, and Diaspora Affairs Hon. Prince Bamidele Obaitan as well as other dignitaries and stakeholders in the films industry.
Delivering the keynote address, the Governor of the state, his Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, revered the uniqueness of the state as a hub of culture and innovation which has been of advantage to the people.
He also stated that the state has worked with partners in investing in the creative industry towards making it a haven of tourism.
‘’Over the centuries, we have been the cradle of culture, innovation, and creativity in this part of the continent. What you see here today is believing in our Arts. Edo state has taken the lead in working with our partners to strategically invest in the creative industry. We have taken our time to take advantage of our unique opportunity in terms of our creation and our endowment. Our goal is to be the hope of culture and tourism in West Africa’’ The Governor said.
To showcase this effort and improve capacity building among filmmakers, the governor sponsored 10 movie productions that will be part of the screening. This is expected to provide jobs for a thousand people. He reiterated his optimism about the impact of the festival to be held annually stating that the date for the next edition will be announced on the last day of the festival.
The event also featured a noiseless party for attendees. In attendance were dignitaries including Team Leader TME, Sandra Vermuijten, Aubrey Silinyana, Director of the King Moshoeshoe film festival, Head of Programmes Skills Development for Youth Empowerment, Tobias Wolfgarten, Convener and Co-Chairman, Mrs. Dare Ukinebo, Festival Director, Mr. Davidson Izegaegbe.
The Edo State International Films holds from September 1 – 4 at the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub, and Sound Stage in Benin.
The event had a special screening and premiere of the movie ‘‘We cannot be silenced’’ produced by the Edo State Committee against gender-based violence. The four-day event will also feature masterclasses with industry experts, panel discussions, movie premieres, virtual sessions, and networking opportunities with local and international industry participants.
The Edo State International Films Festival is sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Registration is ongoing on https://www.edofilmfestival.ng/
Follow @esiffestival on Instagram, for more details.