It’s a special year for the Berlin Film Festival’s Forum section: 2020 marks their 50th anniversary. They also have a new section head, a new selection procedure, and a lot of ‘new faces among the advisors and in the selection committee.’ The Forum section is organized by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art (an independent film institute that shows more than 1000 films every year) and this year, Eyimofe (the only Nigerian film in the collection) has been selected by Arsenal – Institute to screen in the Forum category of the Berlinale. Filmmakers participate in discussions with the audience after every Forum screening, and the platform is a unique opportunity for budding filmmakers to connect with other creatives and institutions from all over the world.
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Eyimofe will screen at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, which will begin on Thursday, February 20th and end on Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Germany.
The Eyimofe Film
In July 2019, the International Filmmaker Project (IFP, a not-for-profit organization that assists independent filmmakers) announced that Eyimofe was one of the 10 films it was supporting last year.
Eyimofe tells the story of two Nigerians who crosshairs with fate when they set out to better the lives of their families. Here, it’s important to note the Berlinale’s comment on this year’s selection: many of the films in this year’s Forum section were selected for how they attempt to combine the past and the present. Perhaps this is a nuance for film lovers to look out for when Eyimofe finally premieres in its homeland.
The film was written and directed by Arie Esiri and Chuko Esiri; two brothers with a relatively robust background in filmmaking. Chuko Esiri has an MFA in screenwriting and directing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program. He also works as a producer with the Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program. He has two short films to his name: Goose (2017) and Besida (2018). In a Nataal Magazine piece, Arie Esiri shared that he began with short films for Maki Oh before he began to create narrative and feature films. He worked on Half of a Yellow Sun and produced B for Boy alongside Chika Anadu. B for Boy went on to premiere at the 2013 London Film Festival.
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The Berlinale Forum
The Berlinale Forum is the independent section of the Berlin International Film Festival (also called the Berlinale). On the Berlinale’s official website, they explain that the ‘Forum and Forum Expanded stands for reflections on the medium of film, socio-artistic discourse and a particular sense for the aesthetic.’ They go on to explain the significance of the Berlinale Forum in detail:
“The programmes of the Forum and Forum Expanded aim to expand the understanding of what film is, to test the boundaries of convention and open up fresh perspectives to help grasp cinema and how it relates to the world in new ways. The programmes can include anything that serves these ends: contemporary and historical, analogue and digital film, installation art, performance and music.
The Forum and Forum Expanded are programmes independently curated and organised by Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art as part of the Berlinale.”
The Lagos Review
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