The 2017 Irepresent international film festival has kicked off at freedom park, Lagos. Tagged, Archiving Africa, this year’s festival will feature short films and documentaries which tell stories about the past of Africa.
‘All over the world we are beginning to understand that history is the plot to the future, it is how we begin to understand our journey, our identity,’ Jahman Anikulapo, one of the founders of the festival said as he welcomed guests and friends of the festival to the opening cocktail ceremony.
‘Since the festival started seven years ago, this is the first time it will be built around a theme or based on the works of the filmmaker,’ he said. The special guest filmmaker, Jehan El-Tahiri, is a legendary filmmaker who started documenting pre-colonial, to pre-independent and post-independent struggles and other issues that shaped the continent since the early 90s.
‘The goal of irep, is not just to screen short films and documentaries but also to create a repertoire of documentaries, to archive our culture and history for the next generation,’ Jahman added. Irep also aims to promote a culture of documentary filmmaking in Africa, in order to achieve this, the founders have set up a foundation to promote documentary filmmaking, they help filmmakers to source for funds or provide them with funds for their films, they also hold workshops to train interested young people, about 60 young persons are enrolled in this year’s workshop.
The first film to be screened, Free Fela, was produced by a founding member of the festival, Theo Lawson. Free Fela opens up the huge legacy left behind by Fela and his continued influence in Nigerian music today. The documentary also tackled issues about copyrighted live footages of Fela and the lack of governmental support or corporate sponsorship for the Felabration brand.
Mali Blues, a short film produced by Babara Off came up after Free Fela- a documentary into the central place music takes in the culture of Mali and threat of terrorism.
Notable faces at the opening cocktail include Taiwo Ajayi Lycett, Theo Lawson, Efe Paul Azino, Wana Udobang, Tope Oshin, Lala Akindoju, and Bisi Silva. The festival will run from March 15 to March 19, 2017, there will be panel discussions after screenings. Follow the conversation on social media with #Irep2017.