By Omoye Uzamere
Lights, Camera, Africa is touted as the film festival for the artsy.
You know that not every artist or art lover is a great lover of film, but when a film festival brings the art community together, I’d say it deserves an applause.
Musicians and music lovers. Writers and readers. Artists, Collectors and Curators. Filmmakers and critics. Audiences, socialites and the NTDILagosians. Everyone finds someone like himself or herself at LCA!
The first time I attended, it was 2011 – the very first edition. Yona told me about a lady who was planning a film festival and I invited her to be a guest on my radio show to talk about it. That’s how I met Ugonma Adegoke. But I really met Ugonma when I went to the Life House (an art space that felt like home and brought joy to many of us, but that’s a story for another day) and discovered her many abilities – she’s a fashion designer and curator of fine art and lifestyle.
The festival fell on my birthday weekend and I had made plans, but I remember spending that weekend sitting on a foldable chair, leaning against the wall, my shoes discarded and feet on the cool, wooden floorboards, watching films from around Africa. I could not bring myself to leave and returned each day. Remember, I was still a newcomer to Lagos and chasing the life of a working actor, so this was an opportunity to see what my colleagues were doing and have conversations about film and storytelling.
Every year since then, Independence Day weekend has been something to antitipate. Usually between September 28th & October 1st, for three days there would be an experience of film and art.
From the Life House at Sinari Daranijo to Southern Sun, Ikoyi, the Federal Palace Hotel and most recently, the Muson Centre… you would think the change in venue would affect things, rather it showed off the organisers’ ability to plan (a kick ass event in any venue). Also, they choose a selection of films that resonate with you and that you would recall for years to come, spark conversations and inspire the artist or art lover in you.
A couple of years ago, I saw a documentary about one of my favourite musicians, Nina Simone. Another time, it was Man on Ground by Akin Omotosho (Akin is on my director bucket list by the way), a heart wrenching film addressing Zenophobia. In the earlier days, it was White Wedding, a South African comedy about a groom and his best friend who get lost trying to make it to the wedding. Who remembers B for Boy by Chika Anadu, about the woman who was going to lose her home if she didn’t steal the baby boy? (That’s not the exact sequence of events, but it was the crux of the matter!?)
This year, the Lights, Camera, Africa! festival opened on my birthday and it was another brilliant weekend of film, art of all kinds and networking. Always such a well organised event!
Ema Edosio’s much anticipated and critically acclaimed Kasala opened the festival. I’ll say that Ugonma’s choice of opening films is always something to keep us talking, and is usually premiere material.
Last year, she chose Abba T. Makama’s internationally favoured yet locally snubbed (side eyes, Nollywood film distributors) Green White Green [And All the Beautiful Colours in my Mosaic of Madness]. I really liked it – not just because I’m in it, but I digress…
Kasala is not a fluke – it’s actually a well-made film and a beautiful story and was very well received. Much talked about this year also were Delivery Boy by Nodash Adejuyigbe and Baby Mamas by writer/director, Stephena Zwane.
Altogether, the Lights, Camera, Africa! festival is well curated and thoroughly enjoyed. I am glad the organisers have stayed consistent with the dream and maintained the standard of cultural excellence.
I’ll say this, Ugonma Adegoke is a curator par excellence. Word on the street is she throws some amazing dinners… If Lights, Camera, Africa!, the Woman Rising concert and the amazing Zebra Living brand are anything to go by, that would be a certainty.
Lights, Camera, Africa is touted as the film festival for the artsy. I think that might be true.
Next year is a long way away and everyone who attended the festival last weekend will have memories to last a year. But if you’ve never attended LCA, simply leave the weekend of October 1 free going forward.
See photos from this year’s Lights, Camera, Africa Film Festival below:
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