By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The foundation for the next success stories in Nigeria’s film industry was laid on Wednesday as Sahara Group announced Joseph Duke as winner of its ‘Grooming Film Extraprenuers with Kunle Afolayan’ project. Duke won with a documentary entitled ‘Give Us This Day’.
Duke’s documentary, which beat entries from 20 finalists, highlighted the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, including a story about caring for special needs children. More than 150 entries were received in the competition which began in June 2016 following the partnership between Sahara Group and the award winning filmmaker Kunle Afolayan, designed to identify and empower young film makers in Nigeria.
Chinenye Balogun and Alabi Kayode emerged first and second runners up respectively, with entries that showcased the creativity and resilience of Nigerian entrepreneurs.
The overall winner will undertake a six month internship with Kunle Afolayan, while all the three top finalists will attend the 2017 Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France with the support of Sahara Group.
The competition also attracted entries from outside Nigeria. Two of such entries stood out. They include: Daniel Ecwalu (Trash Cash – story based on taking children off the streets and empowering them) from Uganda and Akshay Makar (Climatenza – The happenings of Climate Change).
While announcing the winners, Tonye Cole, Group Executive Director, Sahara Group, congratulated all the 20 finalists for rising up to the challenge of taking their craft to the next level.
“You are lucky your generation has this kind of opportunity which Kunle Afolayan and I never had. When you get this kind of opportunity you take it seriously. At Sahara we are willing to go the extra mile to take entrepreneurship to a different level. That is why we created the Extrapreneurship platform to facilitate a meeting point for talent and opportunity. We believe you have the potential to be the best in the sector as well as change the narrative of Nigeria and the entire continent through your films,” he said.
Cole further explained that the competition is part of Sahara Group’s contribution to the development and growth of the Nigerian economy. He said the 20 finalists will be inducted into Sahara Group’s extrapreneurship hub where young entrepreneurs can access support to nurse their dreams to fruition.
Foremost film maker, Kunle Afolayan, who led the screening of the entries, said he was impressed by the documentaries. He said entries were assessed based on sound, lighting, production design and quality.
“I feel privileged to have seen all the documentaries,” he said, adding: “I believe you all have the potential to do even much more. You are the next big success stories we expect to emerge from Nigeria. There are a few things I observed. I saw a common trend in the entries where you all concentrated on telling stories which is common in Nollywood. However, there are certain elements that are vital achieving success in film making. What is very important is the production value. If your production value is poor your story will never fly no matter how good it is.”
Describing his success as a “pleasant surprise”, Duke said: I am very happy to have won the competition. I wasn’t expecting this at all. I am grateful to Sahara Group for the opportunity. I look forward to working with Kunle Afolayan.”
The competition challenged young Nigerian film makers to capture the spirit of entrepreneurship in Nigeria in a Docu-Film with the theme ‘My Nigeria, My Platform…Nigeria through an entrepreneur’s eyes’.
Meanwhile, Sahara Group has said it hopes to reach over 12 million youths via its Extrapreneurship Hub that will drive integrated economic empowerment programmes through strategic partnerships and support for innovative as well as scalable business ventures.
Nigerian-born Ayobola Kekere-Ekun Shines at 2021 Absa L’Atelier
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Nigerian-born Ayobola Kekere-Ekun has been selected as one of the winners of the prestigious 2021 Absa L’Atelier at an online event hosted on the Absa Art Hotspot.
The artist was among the finalists from Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya and Namibia.
She is among the one ambassador per group chosen from the three groups of African countries. The others are Adelheid von Maltitz from South Africa and Blebo Michael Jackson from Ghana, while the winner Absa L’Atelier Gerard Sekoto category was Abongile Sidzumo.
Absa, in partnership with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts (SANAVA), hosts the event to celebrate African art.
These winning artists now take on the title of Absa L’Atelier Ambassador 2021 received trophies that depict hands, symbolising the physical manifestation of creation, designed, and produced by established South African artist Roberto Vacarro, while the Gerard Sekoto trophy depicts a bull, representing prosperity and resilience.
Since its inception 35 years ago, Absa L’Atelier has showcased and continues to invest in some of Africa’s finest young artists between the ages of 21 to 40.
This year, the competition established itself as the first African art competition to be hosted completely virtually; from entry, submission and adjudication of the artworks, to hosting a series of masterclasses and a mentorship programme for the 2019 Absa L’Atelier ambassadors, culminating in the online awards ceremony.
Entries were received from across Africa and judged by an independent panel of adjudicators including acclaimed artist and Director at BKhz, Banele Khoza as well as Armelle Dakouo, independent curator and artistic director at AKAA Art & Design Fair.
Criteria for selecting the Ambassador included technical execution, conceptual and thematic engagement, the freshness of artistic vision within the context of the contemporary African art landscape; as well as aesthetic appeal.
Established 17 years ago, the Gerard Sekoto award goes to a South African artist, aged between 25 and 35 years, who has continued to demonstrate integrity in the quality of their artwork.
The award is made possible by the Embassy of France in South Africa, the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), which is the cultural arm of the Embassy, and the Alliance Française network in South Africa.
“With our partners Absa and SANAVA, we are proud to support the Gerard Sekoto award and to accompany young artists to share their work both nationally and internationally.
“We believe in this award which grants a talented young South African artist an amazing opportunity: to expand his or her horizons with a 3-month artistic residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and, of course, gain greater exposure as a result.
“The artists are inspired and inspire. They learn, and they teach. They explore, and exhibit, allowing people in France and in South Africa to learn more about their individual style and vision”, says Aurelien Lechevallier, who is France’s Ambassador to South Africa.
Though COVID-19 provided its challenges, the past two years were likewise a period of innovation and technological progression.
“The pandemic has allowed us to advance our digital art presence with the launch of the Absa Art Hotspot. This unique virtual experience platform made it possible for us to host live events such as webinars, art exhibitions, art masterclasses, and art auctions, while certain elements of our art-related sponsorships and partnerships such as this year’s awards event were also migrated to the platform,” says Paul Bayliss Senior Specialist Art Curator at Absa.
Hosting the competition digitally allowed for the removal of any barriers to entry as all the artist required was a smart phone or access to the internet.
“With this year’s theme The Act of Art, we called our continent’s fearless creators to act and to enter. This years’ competition once again provided an opportunity for visual artists to respond and make their voices heard.
“We are committed to putting the basic building blocks in place to ensure that young artists from across the African continent can reimagine their futures and bring their possibility to life,” says Bayliss.
SANAVA President, Dr Avitha Sooful, commended her partner, Absa, for forging ahead and continuously seeking ways to impact the African visual arts scene even during the ongoing pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic derailed our plans for 2020 but through some innovative thinking, we were able to come back stronger this year and we actually have more entries than we have ever had for this competition. I commend the work that our partners, Absa, have done in making sure that African artists continue to reap the rewards of their hard work,” Dr Sooful said.
“We look forward to working with this year’s ambassadors and Gerard Sekoto winner and providing the next generation of young African artists with the support, recognition, and exposure they need to solidify their careers and build their brands,” concluded Bayliss.
Glo Promises Dance Competition Winners N84m
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
Telecommunications solutions service provider, Globacom, has announced that it will be giving out N84 million to winners of the Glo Battle of the Year dance competition.
This was revealed by the company at a press conference on Wednesday, October 14 in Lagos. The firm, which is sponsoring the dance show, assured that the competition would redefine the entertainment industry in Nigeria.
According to the Director at Globacom’s Communications, Mr Andre Beyers, the contest will offer unlimited opportunities for Nigerian youth to pursue their passion.
“In line with our commitment to promoting the Nigerian entertainment industry and youth talent development across the country, we are excited to unleash the unlimited potential of Nigerian dancers and provide the platform for them to showcase their abilities on the world stage,” he noted.
Apart from the N84 million, the winners will get a chance to represent Nigeria at the international Battle of the Year contest in Germany.
The competition is scheduled to take place across six states, with intending contestants required to upload a 30-second entry video, after which the top 20 entries in each category would be selected to partake in the competition.
The Battle of the Year competition is an annual international breakdancing tourney that began in Hannover, Germany, over 20 years ago.
The regional qualifying tournaments are held worldwide and culminate in the world finals, usually held in Germany, with over 12,000 visitors across the world. It is widely regarded as the World Cup of breakdancing.
AFRIMA Commences Public Voting
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
Organisers of the prestigious All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) have announced the commencement of public voting for the 2021 edition of the awards.
A statement said the voting is global and that fans and lovers of African music worldwide would determine who wins the various awards for the 38 categories.
The voting, which commenced on September 27, will end on Saturday, November 20 and can be done via the website of AFRIMA.
However, intending voters must have an account and log in with the appropriate details to access the voting platform, while new users are expected to create an account by clicking on the create account option visible on the web page, and fill in their details, ensuring they remember the details to login later.
Upon successful login to the voting platform, voters will find the dashboard area where the impact of the voting engagement is displayed as well as the shareable Uniform Resource Locator (URL).
The unique shareable URL enables voters to acquire more vote count when they share the URL on social platforms to be used for any artistes in any category as chosen.
To make this easy, AFRIMA has made the web interface user friendly, as voters can navigate to the menu and find the regional and continental categories to vote from.
On each of the voting categories, intending voters can find respective artiste, artistes images, artistes name, track title of nominations, country, including YouTube or Soundcloud link to preview before voting.
Every voter upon sign up are entitled to three vote counts per day for each of the 38 categories of the awards, more vote counts can be acquired or accumulated based on fans engagements with a unique shareable URL found on the fans or voters’ dashboard.
According to the show organisers, winners will be determined by 100 per cent public votes in some categories while a combination of 50 per cent public votes and 50 per cent of votes from the academy of voters’ will determine winners in other categories.
The AFRIMA international academy of voters comprises professionals in the music industry in Africa, including various musicologists, producers, veteran artistes, artiste managers, music or entertainment journalists and DJs among others.
The International Committee of AFRIMA has 100 per cent votes to select the winner in the ‘Legend Award’ category. It is seen that the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and King Sunny Ade who hails from Nigeria, are a few of the past winners of this category.
AFRIMA also announced that over 8,800 songs have been received as entries which were screened down to 400 songs by the jury into continental and regional categories cutting across African talents and creatives living on the continent and in the diaspora.
In partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), AFRIMA 2021 will be broadcast live on 84 television stations in 109 countries from Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos, Nigeria.
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