Renowned documentarian Dr Jim Fara Awindor has expressed his heartfelt plight on the misconception of documentaries in Ghana. The father of the songstress Efya and key speaker at the official launch of The African International Documentary Festival (AFIDF) Los Angeles 2020, disclosed how unfair the documentary genre has been treated. “The documentary genre hasn’t been taken seriously in this country’’ he voiced, speaking to cinetwa.com in an exclusive interview.
In a speech delivered at the event hosted on May 25, 2019, at the British Council – Ghana, Dr Awindor highlighted that many haven’t come to the understanding of what documentary really is. The seasoned filmmaker added that documentaries are not just factual things, but a concept of storytelling.
However, he admitted that the festival couldn’t have come in any better time than now, as many are jumping on to fiction films. He revealed that this is a great platform to tell our own stories positively as Africans to the world.
Ato Kwamena Nyankom, the founder of the AFIDF, in an interview with cinetwa.com, stated categorically that funding is a key factor why documentary films are almost in extinct in Africa and especially Ghana. “If you are a documentarian and there is no funding it is very tough. This festival is to create a platform to enable the up and coming talented journalists and filmmakers who don’t have exposure in the international field to get funding and grants to support the documentary films they are doing.” He said. The Ghanaian by decent also added that irrespective of whether one emerges as the winner of any of the categories or not he or she will have access to funding.
The festival, AFIDF has, in addition, developed several professional activities, contributing to the development of African documentary filmmakers and their films at all stages.
At co-financing and co-production market AFIDF Forum documentary filmmakers and producers pitch their plans to financiers; at Docs for Sale new documentaries are on offer to programmers and distributors; the AFIDF NOAH’S ARC Fund supports filmmakers and documentary projects in developing African countries; and the AFIDF Academy offers international training programs for up-and-coming African doc talents, to promote young talented, underprivileged journalists and documentary producers to a global prominence.
In attendance was a cross-section of acclaimed Film industry players, stakeholders and documentary film enthusiasts. Dr Samuel Nai (Rector, National Film and Television Institute) added his voice on the need to create more publicity for the festival and openly pledged his support to vision.
AFIDF is said offers an alternative to Africa’s mass entertainment and uniformity, confirming that there is an increasing need in audiences for high-quality African documentary films that delve deep and urge us to reflect. In 2020, the festival’s New Media program AFIDF DocLab will showcase the best interactive African and African Diaspora non-fiction storytelling and explores how the digital revolution is reshaping documentary art across the continent of Africa.