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The Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) continued to dazzle and captivate audiences on its fourth day, keeping the spirit of cinematic celebration alive. Day 4 saw a glamorous and flamboyant display of elegance as both seasoned and aspiring filmmakers gathered to bask in the world of African cinema. The day was marked by the screening of remarkable films, insightful masterclasses, and a special guest appearance by the Nigerian acting powerhouse, Mr. Sam Dede, a native of River State.

The day began with the encore screening of the opening movie, “Orah,” which had already made waves on the festival’s first day. The film’s return to the big screen was a testament to its appeal and the AFRIFF audience’s demand for quality cinema. “Orah” is a poignant exploration of personal growth and resilience, and it beautifully set the tone for what was to come during the rest of the day.

However, “Orah” was not the only highlight of Day 4. The festival showcased a lineup of other outstanding movies that left the audience in awe. Among these cinematic gems was “Onyeegu,” a powerful and emotional drama that delves into the complexities of family, identity, and tradition in an African setting. The film’s gripping narrative and stellar performances kept the audience on the edge of their seats, underscoring the depth of talent in African cinema.

Another cinematic jewel that graced the screens was “Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti,” a biographical drama that shed light on the life of the iconic Nigerian activist and feminist Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. The film not only paid homage to a legendary figure in Nigerian history but also highlighted the importance of telling the stories of remarkable women who have shaped the course of their nations.

One of the day’s most eagerly anticipated events was the participation of Mr. Sam Dede, a renowned figure in Nollywood. As a native of River State, Mr. Dede’s presence at AFRIFF 2023 was a homecoming of sorts, and he brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the festival. He joined the event as both a speaker in the Industry Program and a special guest for three masterclasses and workshops, offering a unique opportunity for emerging talents to learn from one of Nollywood’s most celebrated actors.

Mr. Dede’s involvement in the festival’s masterclasses was a true highlight for aspiring actors and filmmakers. The first masterclass, titled the “Ronya Acting Workshop,” provided a hands-on experience for attendees to delve into the nuances of acting in a diverse range of roles. Participants had the privilege of learning from a seasoned actor who has portrayed a wide spectrum of characters throughout his illustrious career.

The second masterclass, led by Jeremy Zimmermann, was aptly named the “Acting Masterclass.” This session focused on the art and craft of acting, delving into the techniques and skills required to excel in the world of film and theater. Mr. Dede’s insights and personal anecdotes from his acting journey enriched the masterclass, providing invaluable guidance to those looking to hone their acting skills.

The final masterclass, “The Animation Workshop,” offered a departure from traditional live-action acting, delving into the fascinating world of animation. Attendees were treated to an exploration of the creative and technical aspects of animation, guided by experienced professionals. Mr. Dede’s connection to this workshop likely stems from his involvement with Wigwe University, where he has been actively engaged in nurturing talent in the animation industry.

During his interactions with the audience, Mr. Sam Dede shared not only his experiences in Nollywood but also his dedication to supporting and uplifting the next generation of African filmmakers. His work with Wigwe University, which has become a hub for animation and film education, highlights his commitment to nurturing talent and promoting innovation in the industry. Mr. Dede’s insights and words of encouragement resonated deeply with the attendees, inspiring them to pursue their dreams in the world of cinema.

The evening of Day 4 concluded with the screening of two of the festival’s most anticipated films, “Onyeegu” and “Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.” The decision to showcase these movies as the evening’s finale was a testament to their quality and significance in the African film landscape.

“Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti” provided a fitting end to the evening, serving as a tribute to a legendary Nigerian figure. The film’s portrayal of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti’s life and her contributions to the fight for women’s rights and social justice was not only a compelling cinematic experience but also a celebration of the indomitable spirit of African women. It served as a reminder of the importance of preserving and sharing the stories of such extraordinary individuals who have left an indelible mark on their societies.

AFRIFF 2023 Day 4 was a day of cinematic brilliance, masterful storytelling, and the nurturing of talent within the African film industry. The encore screening of “Orah” set the stage for a day filled with powerful films that left a lasting impact on the audience. The inclusion of Mr. Sam Dede as a special guest and masterclass leader added a layer of inspiration and learning to the festival, highlighting the importance of mentorship and knowledge sharing in the world of cinema. As the festival continues, it remains a beacon of creativity and a platform for African filmmakers to shine and tell their stories to the world.

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