‘The Figurine’ goes international

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By NeXt

After a successful showing in Nigerian cinemas, Kunle Afolayan’s critically acclaimed film, ‘The Figurine - Araromire’ is set for a run on the international film circuit.

The film, which reportedly earned around N15 million on first release in Lagos last year, will be screened at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam on January 28. It is the first time a Nigerian film has been invited to participate in Rotterdam, one of the five leading film festivals in Europe.

“The film made it there purely on merit. It was by official selection and not nominated by an agency,” Afolayan said, in reference to the fact that Nigerian films are usually nominated for special categories at international film festivals by government agencies.

“The entries had even closed before they called me. They want the film and are excited to see ‘The Figurine,’ ” he added. Afolayan’s film will feature in the Independent Filmmakers’ category at the festival which attracts film buyers, distributors, producers and others from the international film industry.

‘The Figurine – Araromire’ is also programmed for the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, holding from February 11 to 21 in Berlin, Germany. Afolayan will sit on a panel alongside filmmakers Oliver Hermanus (South Africa) and Caroline Kamya (Uganda), for a discussion on the state of African cinema.

‘The Figurine’ will be shown to a select audience of film insiders at the Smithsonian National Museum of Arts in Washington, USA, on February 25. Afolayan is expected to give a talk on the African film industry at the event.

The film premieres at the African Film Festival in New York in April; its London premiere attracted a large turnout late last year.

On the international success of ‘The Figurine’, Afolayan said, “The challenge is to stay creative and make good films. It is not getting into my head yet. With all the success ‘Irapada’ achieved, it didn’t get into my head.” Afolayan, who plans to shoot a romantic comedy for an international production company, is currently busy promoting ‘The Figurine’, which is likely to hit Nigerian cinemas again over the Valentine and Easter periods.

However, the director says a VCD/DVD release of the film is not imminent. “There is a collection of academic essays on ‘The Figurine’ being written by [academics] in Nigeria and abroad. Maybe when it is done, we will release the DVD along with the collection,” Afolayan said.

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