By Zosu Solomon

The founder and CEO of the Badagry International Film Cultural and Sports Festival (BIFIF), Viyon Awhanse, together with some of his team members Olumide Akinsanya Brand Comm. and Strategy and Adewale Muyideen, the Project Technical Director, were officially welcomed by Hon. Onilude Segun Teliat, Badagry Local Government Chairman, during their visit to the council on August 15th, 2023

According to Viyon Awhanse, the purpose of the visit was to discuss the upcoming Badagry International Film Festival, which has gained the attention of the Ministry of Tourism and stakeholders in the industry.

In his words, Viyon Awhanse disclosed that the BIFIF team led by the festival director Segun Aina Padonu Arinze in April and July 2023 had held a productive meeting with Mrs. Adebukola Agbaminoja, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board, and Mrs. Oloruntoyin Atekoja, the Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, to discuss some of the crucial roles of the ministry and board in the festival while emphasizing some of the significance of the Badagry International Film Cultural and Sports Festival, known as BIFIF, as a significant cultural milestone in our history and development.

During visit, Viyon explained that the ancient town, Badagry holds significant historical importance in Nigeria, as it was the first place where Western civilization made its mark with the arrival of white missionaries, hence it is crucial to highlight Badagry’s rich history in the art of cinema through the BIFIF explaining that the film festival will serve as an educational platform, enlightening people about the town and its historical relevance.

Notably, Badagry has been the backdrop for several outstanding movies and television shows, such as “Bisi Daughter of the River” “Mirror in the Sun “and Village Headmaster which are widely acclaimed Nigerian films that have garnered immense popularity. Another notable addition to the Nigerian film industry is Phone Swap, a production by the renowned filmmaker Kunle Afolayon, featuring an array of talented actors.

Additionally, there are several captivating movies set in the captivating locale of Badagry, such as Kanaani, expertly produced by Rogers Ofime, the enthralling PeaceVile crafted by Ayodele O Banjo, the compelling Tokunbo directed by Ramsey Noah and produced by Chris Ude, and the captivating telenovela Jemeji, created by the talented Sanchez Victor Aghahowa. It is noteworthy to mention that Sanchez Victor Aghahowa, a distinguished filmmaker, also helmed the production of his own television film, Sebla, set amidst the scenic beauty of Badagry, specially curated for Mnet AfricaMagic Viyon expressed

To ensure the success and grandeur of the festival, the organizers have joined hands with prominent Badagry filmmakers of utmost distinction. These industry experts include Segun Arinze, the festival director, Yinka Davies, Mawuyon Ogun, Sewedo Nupowaku, Ororo Pataya, Setonji Avoseh, Moyo Lawal, Medeyonmi Dada, and Miyonse Amosu, a former housemate of the acclaimed reality show, Big Brother Nigeria. He said

This noble initiative according to BIFIF organisers is fully committed to driving investments and fostering innovation within the entertainment industry, hence showcasing the crème de la crème in the film industry from across the globe by facilitating international collaborations.

This film festival is a designed Initiative to further stimulate economic growth, create investment opportunities, and elevate tourism in the region. He added.

‘BIFIF has successfully promoted an array of unique projects and activities that not only celebrate African culture but also strengthen its ties with African and global societies. The festival also serves as a platform for exploring fresh perspectives and insights that have the potential to inspire meaningful societal change. Awhanse expressed

While explaining some of the importance, Awhanse said that through BIFIF, filmmakers and participants from diverse backgrounds will have the opportunity to come together, exchange stories, and forge connections that will shape the future of our historical identity.

‘This film festival offers a platform for authentic storytelling and valuable cultural exchanges that can leave a lasting impact on our society. He said

Responding, Hon. Onilude Segun Teliat, Executive Chairman, Badagry Local Government expressed his sincere appreciation for the exceptional work being carried out by Viyon Awhanse and the BIFIF team, particularly in their efforts to showcase Badagry as a centre of excellence.

Onilude commended the longstanding dedication of the Mybadagry MyFuture Foundation (MBMF) in the region, recognising their invaluable contributions to the social and economic development of Badagry

The Chairman further acknowledged the pivotal role that Viyon and his team have played in the success of the new project, the Badagry International Film Festival (BIFIF).

In extending a warm welcome to the team, the council Chairman, Onilude assured them of his unwavering support for future projects that align with the progress and advancement of Badagry.

Impressed with the BIFIF presentation, the Chairman, Hon. Onilude further directed his Chief of Staff (COS), Dr. Sewedo Samuel to engage with the BIFIF team towards ensuring the BIFIF project is a successful one.

He further expressed his eagerness to collaborate with the team through the office of Chief of Staff (COS) and Supervisor for Tourism of the Local Government, emphasising the importance of their collaboration with the government.

In attendance was the Supervisor for Tourism, Hon. Hunsu Oluwasegun Olatunji, who further led the team on an on-the-spot visit to the Council Manager, Mr. Asokere Sejuro. Mr. Sejuro who also applauded the team and their remarkable partnership with the government, assuring them of the council’s unwavering support as the festival’s host.

The Badagry International Film Festival is packed by Gbagi Communication Ltd in partnership with MyBadagry My Future Foundation. It is scheduled to be held from 25th to 28th of October, 2023.

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