The Inaugural United States Consulate Documentary Film Festival kicked off in grand style on Monday, August 19 at Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The film festival, US Consulate Public Affairs Officer, Russell Brooks, says is an expression of the commitment of the US Consulate to strengthen the ties that link Nigeria and the United States of America.
He explained further: “We recognize that we have many common interests and concerns. We are very proud of our engagement with Nigerians in the areas of health, education, economic development, security assistance, and the promotion of democratic institutions.
“Here in Lagos, we are also intimately involved with the creative community. We especially support that community’s efforts to use the power of film, music, dance, or literature to expose society’s ills or celebrate the brilliance and artistry that also form the human experience.”
Throughout the duration of the festival, there will be a showcase of eight documentary films accompanied by eight panel sessions. Each of the films is designed to spark thoughts and dialogues, with the hope that they will inspire the audience to explore the means of telling their own stories.
“Over the next few days, we will highlight the American Film Showcase, the premier film diplomacy programme of the U.S. Department of State, which is produced in partnership with the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.
“The American Film Showcase brings award-winning contemporary American documentaries, independent fiction films, and documentary know-how to audiences around the world, offering a view of American society and culture as seen by independent filmmakers,” Brooks stated.
A major highlight of the festival was a virtual appearance by the director of I Am Jane Doe, one of the most discussed documentaries in recent years, due to its riveting subject matter. I Am Jane Doe and other documentaries that being showcased at the film festival are intended to offer contemporary insights into American society. With this, film lovers are able to see exciting and inspirational stories that span entrepreneurship, technology, food, music and dance as well as some disturbing aspects of the darker sides of human nature.
“Whether these stories are uplifting or distressing, these are important stories that must be told. We owe it to the heroes … to the victims … we owe it to ourselves,” Brooks said.