Desmond Eliot, Kunle Afolayan in Cannes Filmfest for Lagos


Notable filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan, and actor, filmmaker and politician, Desmond Elliot, arrived at Cannes, France, on Wednesday as part of the Lagos State delegation to the Cannes International Film Festival (CIFF), which opened last Tuesday.

The CIFF is reputed as the biggest in the world and the filmmakers are part of a delegation, comprising officials of the state Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board and selected journalists, who are in Cannes to, as Elliot quipped, “sell Lagos to the world as a tourist destination and a commercial hub.”

This is the second time in a row that Lagos State would provide a pavilion for Nigerian contingents in Cannes, and Elliot, a member of the Lagos House of Assembly representing Surulere State Constituency, who dashed straight to the well laid out Lagos pavilion situated at the Riveria section of the International Village on arrival in Cannes, expressed satisfaction with the level of work put in to get the pavilion ready before the commencement of the festival.

He commended Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and leader of delegation and Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Steve Ayorinde, who he acknowledged as a “veteran of the CIFF” for ensuring timely preparation for Lagos participation at the prestigious film feast.

“I am impressed with what is on ground. Lagos is here to create a truly satisfying impression on tourists and filmmakers who want to do business in Lagos and ultimately to sell Lagos to the world as a nerve centre.

“Also, showing her viability in the Commonwealth of Nations is paramount, because 
if you don’t market your state, no one would,” he added.

Speaking on the specific programme Lagos would be showcasing, the Director General of the state Censors Board, Deji Balogun, who described the Lagos pavilion as “home to all Nigerian filmmakers attending the Cannes,” hinted that Afolayan would be on hand with a special documentary on Nollywood in Lagos, which would be screened to guests before the unveiling of this year’s edition of Cinema in Lagos magazine, edited by Olumide Iyanda.

There would also be a Lagos Special Day today and a cocktail every other evening till the festival rounds closes.

Meanwhile, the festival, dubbed ‘Festival de Cannes,’ opened at the Grand Théâtre Lumière after a declaration by two great cineastes, Martin Scorsese and Cate Blanchett.

This preceded the presentation of an excerpt from Pierrot le fou by Jean-Luc Godard, from which the poster for this 71st edition was taken.

The first film in competition, Todos Lo Saben (Everybody Knows) by Asghar Farhadi was screened after the opening ceremony, with the director and his leading actors, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darín, in attendance.

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