Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Freetown film festival

The Freetown Film Festival has been launched as an opportunity for Sierra Leone's emerging new film industry to showcase their talents. The Festival, to be hosted at the Globe Cinema, near the National Stadium, will take place from the 16th-18th March 2007. It is the latest in a number of initiatives continually being developed by the Sierra Leone National Film Workshop. This new organisation is a local non-profit organisation that has quickly become respected as the only local filmmaking organisation working to help filmmakers in the development of an indigenous film industry. “We had become aware of the immense number of films being made, and - more interestingly - that had already been made, and which had received little in the way of screenings or distribution” said a spokesperson for the Film Workshop. It seemed that a Film Festival was a long overdue way of acknowledging the achievements of our country's struggling filmmakers as well as an opportunity to see films about Sierra Leone made by foreign filmmakers.” Using the Globe Cinema has an important symbolic significance to the Festival organisers. “Due to a shortage of decent venues in Sierra Leone, the British Council is usually every event organiser’s first choice. We consciously chose to avoid this as it’s obvious that Sierra Leone films need to be seen by local audiences in a local cinema environment. The Globe may not be the smartest place in town, but it is an honourable part of the long history of Sierra Leone filmmaking, and should be respected. It is envisaged that the cinema may be revamped to play an important role in the establishment of a national film industry. Indeed, exploratory discussions are already underway to assess its viability as a permanent home for Sierra Leone film, with facilities for producing, editing, screening and marketing of Sierra Leone films. “Without doubt, it is now widely acknowledged that film-making is an important part of any culture and can benefit the economy in the form of training, employment, income generation as well as wider areas such as helping to promote tourism and wider interest in a country. In post-war Sierra Leone, the Freetown Film Festival is set to create new opportunities for the benefit not only of film-makers, but for audiences, investors, and the country's culture and economy as a whole.”

About the Sierra Leone National Film Workshop The Workshop is the first, and only, dedicated, local, non-profit making organisation working with local filmmakers and local as well as international organisations to encourage and support local film production and assist its development into a viable industry for the benefit of Sierra Leone's culture and economy.

Freetown Film Festival website