After a successful outing last year, Village Arts and Film Festival (VILLAFFEST), has once again reignited the quiet city of Owerri, the Imo State capital with filmic activities and showcase of the people’s arts and culture.
The festival which opened on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 with “Back To Our Roots” ended on December 16 with an award night. Like the maiden edition last year, the three-day festival attracted over 1,000 youths from across the state.
It also had in attendance notable film makers and actors including Chiwetalu Agu, Harry B, Livinus Nnochiri, Ogechi Obilonu (Nwanyi Owerri), Jibola Dabo, Chinwe Owoh, Zion Onyeka Nwaigwe, Royal Prince Ugo, Don Nkem, Alex Eyengho among others.
Film directors and producers of the selected films from Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda and the United States of America were also in attendance.
While it lasted, the organisers shot a short film as part of the festival practical workshop to depict the theme of the event.
This year, the organizers introduced “Best Students Film” award category in which all the higher institutions
within Owerri environs were encouraged to participate in the contest. Students from Imo State University, Federal University of Technology, Nekede Polytechnic, College of Agriculture, and Alvan Ikoku College of Education teamed up with their respective school peers to create a film that competed in this category.
Also, an art exhibition featuring work of artists from Omenka Ndi Imo and curated by Dr. Vivian Timothy, a multi-award winning Germany-based Nigerian artist ran side by side with the screening of films at the festival.
According to the founder and festival director, Kelechi Eke, the festival seeks to encourage youths with interest in arts and film making by providing them a unique platform to harness and push the boundaries of their creativity.
Eke, who’s also the founder of the yearly The African Film Festival (TAFF) in Dallas, Texas, said the project seeks to celebrate Africa’s cultural vibrancy through indigenous Arts and Films for the preservation of the people’s culture.
According to him, the festival will rekindle passion for local content as the only way in showcasing and exporting our unique cultural traits that has long been misrepresented across big screens around the globe.
VILLAFFEST, according to him, is a sister festival to TAFF, formed in 2015 to serve as a platform for educative references to African culture and to expose African films to non-African communities.