iREP 2023 festival to hold March 16-19 despite governorship election shift

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Board members of iREP cutting festival anniversary cake

AS feared, the Governorship and House of Assembly elections slated for Saturday, March 11, 2023 has been shifted to Saturday March 18, 2023, which runs smack into the March 16-19 date for the iREP Documentary Film Festival 2023. The Board and Programme Directorate of the festival have, however, resolved to proceed with the festival as scheduled, a statement said. The iREP runs from Thursday through Sunday, March 16 – 18, 2023, but as it stands, only the Saturday programing content will be adversely affected. This means that the plenary sessions (all virtual) will run as planned, with only the evening screening on Saturday at the various centres will be affected.

The opening event is scheduled for March 16, 2023 at Freedom Park, Lagos Island, with a cocktail, preliminary speeches and film screenings. A 31-minute film Oso Afia, directed T. Nwaiwu and a 58-minute film, Boys on the Brink, by Peter O. Oke and Rume Renee Onosode, will be openers for the festival. The two plenary sessions will hold next day, March 17, at Freedom Park. The first plenary is on the theme ‘Documentary for Inclusivity’ starts at 2:00pm and has ‘Political Inclusivity’ as first topic. There will be a 30-minute screening excerpts from Motherland The Musical and a virtual conversation with the Producer/Director, Bolanle Austen-Peters. Also, a presentation of ‘Street Art Project’ by Rita Ezenwa-Okoro will also take place. The second topic will be ‘Financial Inclusivity, with the MD/CEO of O’Pay, Olu Akanmu and MD of Edfin Microfinance Ltd, Bunmi Lawson addressing the issue.

A 38-minute Awon Boys, directed by Tolu Iteoje, Sunset in Makoko, by Allen Onyinge, Extra Time on Kondo Street, by Sam Umukoro, Genius in Disguise: Demystifying Dyslexia, by James Amuta and Jimmy Show, by Ayo Adewumi will be screened. Also, screening will also take place at Inner City Screening Centres like Okorodu, Bariga, Ejigbo and Ajegunle at 7:00pm same day. All activities on election day, March 18, will be held virtually. Screening will also take place at the respective Inner City Screening Centres.

MD/CEO of EdFIN Microfinance Ltd, Bunmi Lawson

Two plenaries will also hold on March 19, with the first at 2:00pm that has ‘Serving the Underserved Communities’ as theme. It will be virtual. It has ‘Content Inclusivity’ as topic, with Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies, Florida International University, US, Saheed Aderinto, presenting his project, My Story of Fuji. The second plenary at 3:00pm is on ‘Serving the Community’, with keynotes being given by Inner City Screening Partners in Bariga (Segun Adefila), Ejigbo (Jelili Atiku), Ajegunle (Eric Obuh) and Ikorodu (Eriata Oribhabor), who will speak on the ‘Prospects and Challenges of Deploying Art to Serve the Underserved’. The third plenary will hold virtually at 4:00pm. It’s Art Stampede and has as theme ‘Art, Media and Fate and Fortune of the Underserved.’

This will be followed by film screenings at 7:00pm at Freedom Park. The line up include Please Darling, Don’t Die Before Me, directed by Debbie Soni, Her Story: Educate a Woman, Educate a Nation by Sally Nuamah, The Plight of the People of Ndi Inya Abam, by Vining Ogu, Ode to Heroines, by Ebunoluwa Akinbo and Omoregie Osakpolor, Concrete Under Water by Peter Okojie, Afterlife, by Jubilian Anikazinma Ngaruwa and Black Deutschland by Oliver Hardt.

A short profile of resource persons for the Inner Screening Centres and financial inclusivity plenary provides a glimpse of the personalities who are making art work on the fringes of the city and those providing inclusive financial services that that make a difference. The Art Factory at Bariga is a community arts centre that places young people at the centre of its creative activities. The Crown Art Factory encourages young people to channel their energies towards participatory and responsible leadership through the arts. The result is an outstanding, diverse and accessible artistic programme for everyone. Activities at the Art Factory are mainly targeted at harnessing passions, channelling energies and shaping futures. The factory is where young people change their lives through the arts, and audiences of all ages experience exciting artistic creations. Versatile Segun Adefila runs the Bariga The Art factory.

In Ajegunle, dreams indeed do come true, as Dreams of Brighter Days Initiatives (DBDI), an NGO that has a unique mission of creating platforms for disadvantaged individuals to succeed holds forte. The group regularly embarks on various community-based projects that encourage education and skill acquisitions and has worked with young and old people in Ajegune in the past five years. It is founded by Eric Obuh, aka Vocal Slender, a former scavenger at the Ojota refuse dump site before the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) produced a documentary titled Welcome to Lagos, where he was featured as the lead character on the operations of scavengers at the dump sites. This singular BBC production would propel Obuh to stardom on which he has built a humanitarian organisation that guides others to the path of education and responsibility.

In Ejigbo, Jelili Atiku Foundation, established in 2014 by the performance artist, Jelili Atiku, enhances and promotes indigenous Yoruba culture, philosophy, civilisation and values. The foundation aims at re-activating ancient indigenous Yoruba cultural activities in Lagos State, especially in Ejigbo area of Lagos Mainland. It also aims to entrench the artistic legacies of Jelili Atiku to increase the sensibilities of communities on the essence of humanitarian values to human growth.

In Ikorodu, Eriata Heights, a unique place for different events targeted at young persons for personal and professional development through trainings, workshops, seminars, skills acquisition, fairs and exhibitions, has begun to make steady impact. The facility also serves as a creative space that promotes creativity through various events organised to support the honing of diverse skills and talents. Eriata Heights has a Creative Book Space with a library that is open for anyone wishing to have a moment of quiet reading and research activities. Its founding vision is to build creatively grounded youths to positively impact society. It’s founded by a notable poet, Eriata Oribhabor.

Bunmi Lawson is the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of EDFIN Microfinance Bank Limited, which prides itself as the first specialized Education Microfinance Bank with unique and well researched products and services tailored to cater for the needs of its customers and the education ecosystem. Lawson holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the IESE Business School, University of Navarra and is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

President/Co-CEO of O’Pay Nigeria, Olu Akanmu

The Co-CEO of O’Pay Nigeria, Olu Akanmu, has a successful track record at executive levels in both telecommunications and financial services industries that are invaluable in providing strategic leadership to businesses at the convergence of both and similar industries. He was Chief Marketing Officer at Airtel Nigeria with responsibility to lead commercial strategy and achieve revenue targets of more than USD$1.5billion annually. He was previously the Managing Director/CEO of Retail Banking at former BankPHB. Akanmu has start-up experience at MTN-Nigeria, where he played critical roles in the phenomenal growth of MTN Nigeria to a network in excess of ten million subscribers in its first five years.

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