In the distance atop New Culture Studio, Ibadan, the panorama of an old city spreads, gilded with rust and forgotten history. The resigned compliance of age ricochets, punctuated with occasional loud car horns. There is a permanent nostalgia roaming this city. Turn away from the vista, and you will find the Ibadan Indie Film Awards (IFA) waiting. The festival mirrors the ancient city’s sensibilities yet is a different kind of beauty itself. An assemblage of over a hundred creatives and filmmakers; some dressed with avant-garde leanings, others downright bizarre. Come for the dressings, stay for the films.
The Ibadan Indie Film Awards is a young film festival established in 2022. The inaugural award show was held in November of that year. The organizers want the festival to recognize and reward the excellence of young independent Nigerian filmmakers worldwide and to be a platform to promote and introduce said filmmakers to new audiences. The festival is free, and it prioritizes indie films. This year’s just-concluded edition is the second Ibadan Indie Film Awards.
In 2022, the festival received 98 submissions and selected 32 films. This year, 87 submissions, selecting 13 of those. And those 13 films were screened across three days, from November 23-25. The festival’s special guest appearance was award-winning German filmmaker Johannes Krug. The gathering of attendees had musicians, photographers, filmmakers, writers, critics, and general cinephiles. There was laughter, food, conversations, and the giddiness of company. The films screened in a medium-sized room, the audience seated on raffia mats, and a projector before them. It created the ambiance of a small community cinema. After each screening, the audience shared opinions and held discussions with the filmmaker or their representatives at the festival.
Across the three days, there were other non-film highlights, such as music performances by Judo, Tega Ethan, Iyanu Osho, and DJ. Twilight. Biye “Kaizen” Adeitan held a poster exhibition. Photowalk also displayed their works as a collective of photographers and models.
“Other than making IFA that haven for independent filmmakers and film enthusiasts, we wanted to offer everyone attending this year’s event a vast film and art experience,” said festival director Moses Ipadeola in a statement. “And we are glad to see these ideas come to life. See you at the next IFA, and don’t stop creating.”
On the final day, IFA organisers also presented awards at the New Culture Amphitheatre.
Here is a list of the winners at IFA 2023
Best Director – TEAR: A Tale of Two Hands by Dir. Greygon E. Avwokuruaye
Best Actor (Male) – Nebechukwu Ndukwu (The Last Sane Man in Lagos)
Best Actor (Female) – Victory Emodi (Traffick Me)
Best Cinematography – TEAR: A Tale of Two Hands by Dir. Greygon E. Avwokuruaye
Best Short Film – TEAR: A Tale of Two Hands by Dir. Greygon E. Avwokuruaye
Best Documentary – AGBO: Poison or Remedy by Dir. Samad Uthman
The organizers intend to “show more films in conversation with filmmakers throughout the year leading to IFA 2024.” There is a general excitement around the festival. A feeling that this might be the beginning of something truly special for the city’s film culture. If you will not attend to see the films, then go for the vista at New Culture Studio.
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What Kept Me Up is a media partner of IFA 2023.