Nigeria, December, 14th, 2017 (SIGNIS Nigeria). The grand finale of the Catholic video-film/ video-music festival was held on Saturday, 2nd of December 2017, in Enugu, the coal-city of Nigeria. The Festival organized by SIGNIS-Nigeria, with the theme, Video-film for a culture of peace and justice, brought together ecclesiastical and political authorities, communication professionals, and lovers of film to share a gratifying experiences of viewing video-films and music-videos, listening to melodious music and erudite paper presentations.
In his welcome address, the President of SIGNIS Nigeria, Rev. Prof. Walter C. Ihejirika, noted that the Festival is aimed at celebrating Catholic film producers, directors and actors and their media productions. He explained that the rationale for limiting the festival to only Catholics was to ensure a gradual take-off of the Festival and assured that in coming years it will open up to everyone. He also said that the reason for highlighting only video productions is because it is the dominant technology of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry.
The host Bishop, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga, in his goodwill message expressed gratitude to SIGNIS Nigeria for choosing Enugu as the permanent location of the Film Festival. He urged Catholic film producers and directors to infuse more Christian values in the film industry. He decried the situation where some producers, in their effort to make money, paint a wrong picture of the Nigerian culture with excessive images of fetishism and the projection of get-rich-quick lifestyle.
The four-day Festival included the screening of short-listed films which were evaluated by a four-member jury. The films were categorized into Video Films (both feature and Short), documentaries and Music Videos. They were evaluated on their capacity to project the ideals promoted by SIGNIS – which include respect for Christian values, human rights, protection of the dignity of the human person, as well as those which seek to influence public opinion through sound ethical and spiritual teaching; with a view of promoting justice and equity. Best feature film, best cinematography, best sound or best documentary are some of the awards that were given that night.
Awards of recognition for professional excellence were also given at the Festival. The recipients included, renowned Nollywood actor, Chief Pete Edochie and veteran Nollywood actress Madam Louisa Nwobodo. Also recognized were Prof. Femi Shaka, the first Nigerian Professor of Film Studies and Rev. Fr. Dr. Innocent Uwah, the first Nigerian Catholic priest to specialize in film studies.