The quiet city of Owerri, the Imo State capital recently lost its serenity as an ‘army’ of film makers, painters, sculptors and culture enthusiasts descended on the city for the maiden edition of the Village Arts and Film Festival (VILLAFFEST) signaling a revival of cultural activities in the heartland state recently, at the state’s Centre for Arts & Culture.
Speaking, the founder of the festival, Kelechi Eke who is also the founder of The African Film Festival (TAFF), held annually in Dallas,Texas expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the festival.
Describing the festival as a great success he said: “It came with great challenges but every day for three days, we had great turn out of participants. However, due to the ravaging COVID-19, many filmmakers who would have wanted to attend the event couldn’t make it.”
Among others, the festival opened with the screening of films from eight countries namely Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United States. The event also witnessed art exhibitions, workshops, networking and master classes and the likes of Francis Duru and Andy Boyo among other tested hands in the industry taking turns to train the participants on script writing, editing and directing.
The festival climaxed with an awards night which left many memories in the minds of guests as the night was ‘stolen’ by the beauty queens of the state who stormed the venue in a blaze of glory and taking turns to present awards.
Prolific filmmaker and boss of Diamond Pictures, Andy Boyo walked away with the award for Best Director for his film, Secrets of the Gods, while Cameroonian, Kang Quintus won the award for Best Actor for his role in Fisherman’s Diary. Other winners were Naboth from Uganda (Best Documentary Short), Firka Chanya from Tanzania (Best Narrative Short) and Onyentakuko from Nigeria (Best Original Soundtrack). Best Documentary Feature award went to Senegal while Cameroon and Nigeria took home the award of Best Costume and Best Screenplay respectively.