If there is ever a time that this phrase makes the most sense, then it is now. The organizers of Enugu international film festival deserve every support they can get, if just because of this theme. It comes at a time when civilization is fast eroding everything that makes us who we are. From our way of life, language, mannerism, outlook, family structure, priorities, politics, religion, food, morality, health, entertainment e.t.c. everything that makes us unique is being washed off our soil. While it is very convenient to blame it on westernization, it is important to note that the mistake is not in embracing civilization but in not using the opportunities of civilization to further entrench that which is ours.
Africa indeed has sold out and we need to correct that. Google this subject and the statistics will shock you. There is need for us to start using the opportunities of today’s world to preserve our culture, language, music, food in fact, ourselves. In spite of the limitations of our ancestors, they were able to orally preserve whatever it is we have today to call our own. If with the tremendous opportunities we have, we fail to document our culture and tradition for tomorrow, we would have failed beyond redemption.
We can do that through books, poetry,festivals e.t.c. but I tell you the most potent is through the audio/visual practice. If a picture as they say is worth a thousand words, then we can speak volumes with motion picture. It is important we go all out to make film about ourselves, not just about the white man or the black in pursuit of a white man’s life. We need to start telling our own stories, in our own language and in our own way. The low budgets films must begin to flow, the documentaries must begin to come forth, the feature films in our local languages that tell love stories about us too must begin to romance cinema screens. I want to watch films that have scenes where the local meals of our people are served and devoured with pride. It is only in this way that we can document who we are and also export what we are. Look at how Bollywoodsold itself to the whole world, we can do that. See what Korea is doing, packaging their stories, culture and clothing in very interesting films, we should do that. We need to package our own. We need to stop killing what is ours and curtail the burrowing from the western world.
This task is easier said than done because of commercial value and returns on investment. That is why Enugu international film festival is here not just to encourage language and indigenous films but to create a platform for training, exchange, investment, financing and networking. Enugu international film festival attracts notable filmmakers, actors, writers, e.t.c. from Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, south Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Canada, Australia, united states e.t.c. as the first and biggest language film festival in Africa it is endorsed by both government agencies and the film industry guilds and players.
Enugu international film festival seeks to promote and sustain cultural values and peaceful co-existence among world ethnic nationalities through film. As the only film festival that encourages and promotes making of films in indigenous languages it deliberately creates opportunities for young film makers to showcase their works for possible funding.
We must all do beyond participating; we must all join in spreading the good news. I encourage you to submit your works and make sure you join the fight in saving the future. Your identity depends on it. Your life depends on it. Enugu international film festival, seeks your voice, finds your audience.