Four out of the nine films shot during the Babylon International film development and training workshop held in Abuja last month, have attracted financiers’ attention at the Cinemas du Monde Pavillion, Cannes International Film Festival.
With their success at the forum, ‘The Land’ by Funke Oyebanjo and Sebari Diette-Spiff; ‘Wahala’ by Farouk Lasaki’; ‘Letter to the Prof’ by Chike Ibekwe and Jide Bello’s ‘My Brother’s Sin’ have qualified for production funding.
Babylon International 2010 was supported by a number of organisations including the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Media International of the European Union and the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg Germany, Scenario Films (UK), Script House (Germany) and Play Film (France).
Film professionals, Albly James, John Akomfrah, Tony Dennis, Lina Gopaul, Femi Odugbemi, Juergen Seidler, Gareth Jones, Nathalie Valentin and Afolabi Adesanya were the script consultants during the workshop.
The 2010 Babylon International programme was launched at the Berlinale, Germany in February with a script development workshop that brought filmmakers from Europe and Africa together. It allowed participants to network on how to forge links across the two continents.
Reacting to the development, Managing Director of the NFC, Afolabi Adesanya, expressed happiness that the four Nigerian films were selected out of several other entries. He added that partners and consultants to Babylon International were also happy with the development. Adesanya reiterated that more Nigerian films will compete confidently with others on the global stage if filmmakers adhere to “doing things right”.
In a related development, one of the four selected films has won another award. Chike Ibekwe’s ‘Letter to the Prof’ won the Best Film Prize at the just concluded 14th Ecrans Noire Film Festival in Cameroun. His ‘Eternal’ also shared the Golden Screen Best Film Prize with ‘An Unusual Woman’ by Burkinabe director, Abdoulaye Dao. Ibekwe got funding for the film from France.
Ibekwe, however, is not the only beneficiary of international sponsors. Kenneth Gyang, an alumnus of the National Film Institute, Jos, will receive support from the Hubert Bals Fund in Netherland to produce his film ‘Confusion Na Wa’. The film will be distributed in Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Gyang had previously worked as director on the BBC’s ‘Wetin Dey’. He also produced and directed the ‘Finding Aisha’ series.