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B Side, Film

Bounce Film Fridays: Promoting African Independent Filmmakers

Film Fridays is a screening event aimed at promoting and celebrating African filmmakers and their works.

  • Fancy Goodman
  • 16th March 2023
Bounce Film Friday poster


In January, the first edition of Bounce Film Fridays took place, where indie filmmaker Yinusa A. Korede screened his film Purple Story. Jade Osiberu’s Brotherhood also screened, and Tobi Bakre, who starred in the film, was present for the screening. Film Fridays is an event held every other month by Bounce Networks, where African independent and mainstream films are screened, discussed and celebrated.  


The second edition of the film watching party is upcoming, and three independent films will be screening that evening: Ayobola Eniola’s Shikari, Ese Ariremu’s Stain and Director Tam’s One-Sided Back Seat Love Affair (OSBLA). 


Every filmmaker draws inspiration from experiences, whether personal or second-hand. Director Tam says OSBLA is inspired by the life problems we go through in our down times. It’s a story every hustler can just connect with.”  Ese Ariremu, who started his filmmaking journey two years ago, reveals “ I grew up in the part of Warri called ‘Old Warri’, and it is really hard to not witness some of the vices that plague that part of the city, especially unwanted pregnancy and a high rate of clandestine abortion. I can vividly remember one early morning cry that woke my compound up because a popular teenager had bled to death in her sleep after an abortion”. He continues, “I want this to be a topic that people take seriously”. 


These independent filmmakers are determined to tell their stories no matter what, despite the challenges they face. For instance, Director Tam says he began his journey in secondary school, over a decade ago. “You grow something from nothing and just keep going. Obviously creating takes in a lot of money but you just have to keep pushing. So I would say it’s a beautiful experience for anyone with ambition”, he adds. Ariremu says “There are times I wake up and ask myself why I got into this in the first place. And there are times I wake up and I am grateful for every moment that has brought me this far”. Ayobola Eniola says being an independent filmmaker is “rewarding because the journey has helped me pay more attention to different aspects of the production chain. As an independent filmmaker, you can’t afford to be a monoglot speaking one language of film. You have to be rounded in all areas making one a better filmmaker and storyteller because you can see the story you’re telling multi-dimensionally. Also, it has been rewarding because it has allowed me to spend time honing my voice and finding all the elements that light my fuse as a storyteller.”.


The importance of screening events like Film Fridays for indie filmmakers cannot be over-emphasized. Ariremu puts it this way: “If short films are a portfolio, screening outlets are the avenues for seeing and appreciating the portfolio. It is an avenue for an array of other creative like minds to see and learn from what you have done.” Director Tam says doing things like this “shows your grit” as a filmmaker. Ayobola Eniola adds that it “has helped the industry discover emerging talents that would otherwise have remained unknown if they had been waiting for that ‘big opportunity’ to tell a feature-length film. And till date, it continues to be that pipeline through which emerging talents find their tribe, hone their voices, and forge their path”. He also opines that film outings provide community: “Filmmaking is tough and storytellers are a special breed in that they start their work in isolation, struggle with self-doubts. They must be able to gather in a community where they are seen, heard, and celebrated. This is a significant benefit of outings like Film Fridays”.


Nollywood needs fresh voices in the industry, and the audience longs for stories that are outside the box. Up-and-coming filmmakers are daily looking for ways to stand out with their craft, whilst solving the industry’s problems in the ways they can. Director Tam identifies casting as one of these major problems: “I feel Nollywood focuses on the right face for a character, rather than the right talent”. Ariremu points out other things he would like to change. “Firstly, I think I would love to change the monopoly mentality, where only one media house gets to gate-keep all the juicy opportunities. Secondly, the bandwagon story telling style where everybody tells stories streamlined to only one genre has to be changed. It makes Nollywood look less innovative”. Ayobola Eniola feels that  “writers are undervalued and underpaid”, and he would love to see that change in the industry, as well as how the Guilds currently function.


We can’t wait for the second edition of Film Fridays where a feature film, which is yet to be revealed, would be screened alongside the films of these indie filmmakers. It promises to be a fun evening with snacks and Q and A sessions with the filmmakers.

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