…how the organisers performed a miracle in 3 weeks to deliver a pretty successful maiden edition.
Miracles don’t only happen at religious events alone, in our daily endeavours too such feats can also happen and that’s what happened concerning the maiden edition of the ‘Edo State International Film Festival 2022 that held in Benin City the capital of Edo state where his excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki reigns supreme.
Once you land at the airport and get to the street you immediately knew that something was happening in Benin City different from the countdown to the 88th birthday of the great Esama of Benin. All the markers pointing out that Edo State was hosting visitors to the ESIFF 2022 were all over the town.
The organisers of the film festival from the Convener/Founder by the name Mrs. Ukinebo Dare, who wears many caps apart from that of the ESIFF, as she also doubles as the indefatigable Managing Director/CEO of #EdoJobs, an organisation tasked to help the administration of Godwin Obaseki with the onerous responsibility of providing jobs for the teeming populace of Edo people; to the organising committee chairman in the person of the award-winning and untiring film-maker par excellence, the one and only ‘Ambassador Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen’ who was an extraordinary bridge and very many others too, most especially also Latasha Ngwube, the Director of Media, Publicity and Communications, all of whom with the staff members and volunteers and more, who all contributed immensely to the success of this inaugural edition.
For Ukinebo Dare, she got a public commendation from the Governor and a standing ovation for her efforts. So also too Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, who had thought about such a thing like tje ESIFF for a long time, but it took until tje administration of Obaseki to make his dream come true.
It was no doubt 4 days of fun and glamour and razzmatazz spiced with quality educative information centered around the entertainment industry at the panel discussions where many top drawers in the entertainment sector plus practitioners contributed immensely. They spoke about how to enter the industry, how to be successful in the industry and the business of entertainment, via turning your gifts/talents into a money spinning endeavor.
We saw the likes of Desmond Elliot who doubles as a politician in Lagos at Lagos House, we saw Mercy Aigbe, Etinosa Idemudia, Nosa Rex, Linda Osifo, Kene Mkparu who by December of 2022, God willing would be declaring open, an entertainment centre that would have a whopping 22 screens and also have the biggest screen in Africa all in Nnewi, Anambra State alone. We saw Alhaji Adeoti Kazeem better known as Ade Kaz, very stylish Lilian Afegbai whose badass structure (body) was the cynosure of all eyes. We also saw Angela Eguavoen who starred in a movie that premiered during the festival to very loud applause by the name Dear Sister and very many others too that we couldn’t just name for want of space.
Like we said at the beginning, ESIFF 2022 was a miracle that happened in 3 weeks! All the structures used at the ‘Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub’ with that massive and very upscale sound stage that held the gala and more and the theaters too were all done exquisitely in that 3 weeks. Those who had come around 4 weeks before couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
From the testament of all, Governor Godwin Obaseki bent backwards to help in making sure the miracle happened.
Benin City welcomed visitors from near and far, even as far as England, Italy, South Africa, all of whom all participated in various ways.
The culmination of the 4 days of goodness was the Gala night on Sunday that ended it all, as the event centre, which was the sound stage was literally transformed in such a way that left mouth agape.
It was a night of music, drama and presentation of awards with monetary gifts as was donated by tje Governor. At least about 10 of those given awards also got monetary gifts in thousands of dollars as a form of encouragement. The idea about the monetary gifts was so that it would help to hone the crafts of those awarded and so that they too could further employ others too.
And in attendance at the wow gala were his excellency Governor Godwin Obaseki, his beautiful and well spoken wife, Mrs. Betsy Ifueko Obaseki, many Commissioners in the Edo State cabinet, most especially the host commissioner Prince Bamidele Obaitan and very many other guests. It wasn’t a boring affair at all.
16 awards in all were presented many carrying cash awards like $2000 dollars for some, $5000 dollars for some and a grand prize of $10000 dollars.
In all there were 2000 entries from all over where 200 were selected by the jury who had to still narrow down to about 20. Over the 1st 3 days, there were plenty of movies to watch from morning till evening as part of the activities for the ESIFF 2022.
All in all, kudos to the Governor, the commissioner for Arts, Culture and Diaspora, Ukinebo Dare, Lancelot Imasuen, Latasha Ngwube and all others for a fantastic job well done.