From November 5–10, 2023, Lagos, Nigeria, hosted the 11th annual African International Film Festival (AFRIFF). The biggest annual gathering for African filmmakers, and of African filmmakers. The festival engaged attendees in the diverse range of stories that the continent and its diaspora have to offer.
AFRIFF 2023 showcased a diverse array of films, each a testament to the cinematic prowess emerging from Africa. Among the standout features were “When Morning Comes,” “Nganu,” “The Homes We Carry,” “Kipkemboi,” “Kuvah – Legend of the Sea,” “All the Colors of the World,” and a compelling Senegalese entry capturing the coming-of-age journey of an Afro-European woman navigating Senegal for the first time.
These films collectively painted a vivid picture of the African experience, addressing issues ranging from identity and migration to the profound connections between humanity and nature. The festival, now in its 11th year, demonstrated a commitment to celebrating and fostering the growth of African cinema, providing a platform for both emerging and established talents.
Two films, in particular, had the audience buzzing with anticipation: “This is Lagos” and “I Do Not Come to You by Chance.” The latter featured the charismatic Blossom Chukwujekwu, delivering a stellar performance that left an indelible mark on viewers. These films not only showcased the evolution of the African film industry but also underscored the global appeal of Nigerian cinema.
AFRIFF 2023 though a fantastic event, was not without its challenges. Organizational hiccups, such as last-minute schedule changes and multiple adjustments to screening times and workshops, caused a degree of inconvenience for attendees. There were instances where individuals eagerly waited for an event to start but found themselves barred from venues due to VIP reservations.
Despite the occasional turbulence in the logistics, the festival succeeded in bringing together a community passionate about the African film industry —movie lovers, actors, producers, and directors alike. It was also a melting pot of creativity and collaboration. Filmmakers from across the continent seized the opportunity to connect, share ideas, and potentially lay the groundwork for future collaborations.
Gbemi Ipaye is a writer and creative, movie and TV show enthusiast. When Gbemi isn’t lost in the world of art and design, you’ll find him immersed in the latest movies and TV shows.