This year’s International Women’s Day was marked with a session “Expanding the frontiers for women filmmakers in Nigeria,” by the author of the book “Ladies Calling the Shots.”
The session which was held at Isolo in Lagos, was held in conjunction with the Pencil Film and Television Institute (PEFTI) and filmmaker Temitope Duker.
Held at the Isolo Lagos campus of PEFTI, the event which tagged along this year’s IWD theme of Press for Progress had students from the host school, the Royal Arts Academy, Surulere, the University of Lagos and the Lagos State University.
Adedokun, while welcoming guests said that following the reception of his book which highlighed the work of female filmmakers in the country, “my friend Temitope Duker and I thought it important to create avenues for aspiring females to learn lessons about how to start off, stay the course and finish well in the business of filmmaking.
He said following the decision, they approached PEFTI for a collaboration to explore the occasion of the International Women’s Day.
He thanked the management of the Royal Arts Academy, the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos and the Lagos State University for the presence of their students at the event.
A panel comprising six female film directors, namely, veteran Remi Vaughan-Richards; Ema Edosio; AdeolaOsunkojo; Grace Edwin-Okon; Belinda Yanga-Agedah and Vanessa Nzediegwu were backed by veteran actor and President of the Guild of Directors in Nigeria, Fred Amata, had discussions targeted at mentoring the students and other aspiring filmmakers.
Tope Oshin, who was also expected at the event but apologised for her inability to make it, sent in a video where she discussed the topic: “Secrets for the journey: withstanding the storm.”
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Amata, spoke about the recent meritorious membership granted nine female directors by the DGN and encouraged directors to join the guild.
He also spoke about the importance of hard work and diligence, advising the younger ones that nothing other than competence and continuous learning and keeping at it guaranteed success for practitioners.
Writer, Cinematographer, Director and Editor, whose debut self-produced movie, Kasala, is due for release, Ema Edosio, spoke about how she had continued to reinvent herself and the fact that a woman cannot excel in isolation.
She explained that men would support anyone whom they had tested and confirmed to be competent and willing to learn.
So, she advised young women to aim to be the best.
“I did not get to where I am because I am a woman but because I am one of the best,” she concluded.
Remi Vaughan-Richards, director of the documentary Faaji Agba and a series of other work focused on social change spoke about how she transited from an artist on the set of production into a multi-tasking practitioner who could write, direct, film and edit her work.
She spoke about the importance of learning on the job and continuous training for would be practitioners.
Belinda Yanga Agedah, director of the popular Romance is Overrated advised that the path to making authentic movies as a director was telling stories that come from the soul.
She maintained that unless a director really felt the story, it would be impossible to tell it in any convincing way and ultimately find an identifiable voice.
For Adeola Osunkojo, known for the Diary of a Nigeria Couple and a number of other productions, it is paramount that aspiring practitioners start out wherever they are and with whatever they have.
Given the advantage of social media, she encouraged talented people to shoot their stories with their phones and put out on the various platform from where they get noticed.
She spoke about the need to be honest in their relationship with family, friends and would be spouses on the demands of the job and never give up on the prospects that exist.
Grace Edwin-Okon, director of the wave making Pepper Soup, spoke about the importance of mentorship giving the difficulties she experienced at the beginning of her career.
She assured the students of her willingness to support the production of any outstanding story after same might have been subjected to proper scrutiny.
To gain the support of family, especially spouses, Edwin-Okon said “being the best at what you do and proving to those around you that you can pull it through with hard work is essential to winning the support of even the most hardliners.”
Finally Vanessa Nzediegwu, who won Best Director at the 2017 Best of Nollywood Awards for her What lies within, reiterated the need for determination and not allow discouragement from people.
She told the younger ones about the importance of identifying their specific desires and pursuing same with doggedness by doing everything legitimately possible to actualise it.
Students were then allowed to ask further questions at a session moderated by broadcaster Funmi Akinsola after which Biola Adenuga, managing director of PEFTI gave a vote of thanks.
She thanked Adedokun, Duker, the directors and all invited guests for the opportunity the students had to interact.
Guests at the event included veteran filmmaker, Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki and Vice President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Mr Foster Maydieu.
Others are the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners’ (NANTAP) Faith Eboigbe; multitalented artiste and director, Judith Audu; award winning actress, Omowumi Dada; actor and film producer, Paul Utomi; actresses Opeyemi Olusanya and Bolatito Sowunmi who once played the role of Miss Pepeye in the popular TV comedy Papa Ajasco.