The Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, on Thursday, officially declared open the maiden edition of the Edo State International Film Festival (ESIFF) with the premiere of the first film for the event at Kada Cinema Center in Benin City, Edo State.
The first lady, who was accompanied on the premiere by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Barr. Adaze Emwanta, and his Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs counterpart, Hon. Obaitan Bamidele said the festival will revive the history, culture and heritage of the Edo people.
She said, “This is a rebirth of our rich history, culture and tradition which is world-acclaimed and has been in coma for decades. This film festival will revive the history, culture and heritage of the Edo people. We expect that the history, culture and life of the Edo people centuries passed will now be exhibited to the world through this film festival.
“The first film to be watched and premiered at this festival is an Edo-made film, and I am proud of it. This project is born out of the work we have been doing regarding gender-based violence in Edo State. I am the chairman of that gender-based committee in the state.”
Mrs. Obaseki added, “We have the support of a grant to the state amongst three other states in the country to help us build and develop capacity and mechanism to fight this menace in Nigeria. We are expected to develop a film in that space that will help the advocacy and fight against gender-based violence. Our film to be premiered today is titled ‘We will not keep silent.’
On his part, Obaitan Bamidele said, “The strongest point is our rich culture, heritage and exemplary talent in the state.
“I wish all the creative talent in the state the best during this film festival as Edo to the world is happening now. I urge you all to project Edo positively to the world."
The Chairman of the planning committee and veteran filmmaker, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen commended the state government for the initiative, adding, “Within these four days, we would be watching several movies as over 1,500 movies were received from 95 countries around the world. About 200 films will be screened during the four-day festival.”