Calabar—IT was another night of glamour and panache as this year’s edition of the prestigious Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF, came to a glittering end Saturday in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The grand finale of the festival, which kicked off amid gaiety on Sunday, November 9, held at the Cultural Centre, Calabar, with top Nollywood stars, producers, directors and stakeholders from Africa, Europe, America and other parts of the world in attendance.
Leading Nollywood stars at the event were Genevieve Nnaji, and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and they dazzled the red carpet with everything they had to showcase.
Others include Kate Henshaw, Rita Dominic, Segun Arinze, Ramsey Nouah, Kalu Ikeagwu, Fred Amata, and Uru Eke, who was co-anchor with Gideon Okeke.
Also, in attendance at what was arguably the most memorable event of the year as far as the calendar of Nollywood is concerned, were Kunle Afolayan, Andy Amenechi, Emem Isong, Nobert Ajaegbu, Tunde Kelani, Teco Benson, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Charles Novia, amongst others. Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State and his wife, Obioma, were among the dignitaries that graced the event.
Chioma Ude, the founder and CEO of what is now known as the biggest film festival in Africa, set the tune for the night, when she presented a passionate welcome address to the audience.
She expressed satisfactions that the objectives of the festival was achieved this year as great films were screened, while young and emerging talents were trained and empowered during the week-long festival.
Ude, however, commended this year’s AFRIFF ambassadors, including Rita Dominic and the South African actress, Xolile Tshabalala, for their contributions towards the success of the festival, as she invited them on stage.
Special Adviser to the President on Research, Documentation and Strategy, Mr. Oronto Douglas, urged Nigerian and African filmmakers to take up the challenge of promoting irresistible images of the society on screen to show that the people’s stories were also important and valid.
He said: “We need more biopics on the heroes whose exploits have impacted on our societies. We need more films focusing on pivotal episodes in our history. We need more period dramas that examine the past, and more speculative films about the future.
The high point of the event, however, was the special recognition of five Nollywood stars, including Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Ramsey Nouah, Kate Henshaw and Rita Dominic as outstanding stars of the industry by the organizers.
The organizers also honoured 10 students, who participated in the training scholarships to further their training in filmmaking in the United States of America.
Meanwhile, Kunle Afolayan’s newly released movie, “October 1”, was the biggest winner of the night, carting away three awards: Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Feature film.
The film defeated two Nollywood biggest films, Lancelot Imasuen’s “Invasion 1897” and Tunde Kelani’s “Dazzling Mirage” to clinch the three awards.