The Lagos Film Academy, a leading non-profit organization centred around support for young creatives who want to acquire life long skills and techniques as creatives across the continent has recently secured a 5000USD grant. The grant was endowed by the Global Philanthropy Alliance for the third edition of the ‘Film for Life’ project, which gives young aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to make a short film directed at impacting social change, themed in this edition around the upcoming 2019 general elections in Nigeria.
The creative industries are a major draw for young people, who find their voices marginalized and critiqued, and technology with the advent of social media has greatly facilitated this attraction. LFA’s Film for Life Project seeks to equip individuals with lifelong filmmaking and resource management skills. ‘Youth culture has long been associated with social protests as well as future hopes, thereby promising a new life and social change.’ (Creative industries for youth: unleashing potential and growth, United Nations Industrial Development Organization Working Paper, Vienna 2013.) Film for Life aims to give communities a voice through the youth who will be trained and empowered to create work that further creates social awareness about issues.
Eighty-six percent of Nigerian youths are pro-enterprise, according to research findings from Djembe Communications in association with Forbes Insight. Empowered youth entrepreneurs could play a key role in tackling youth unemployment, numbered about 11.1 million in 2012 by the National Bureau of Statistics. Film for Life aims to harness this entrepreneurial spirit in the empowered youth.
Global Philanthropy Alliance (GPA) develops young social entrepreneurs in Africa by funding youth-led or youth-engaged organizations that unleash the power of youth to advance the economic and social health of their families and communities. Film for Life has been in existence since 2011, when Chris Ihidero’s short film about rape; Big Daddy, was made and premiered to raving reviews and awards. It is the most watched Nigerian short film on YouTube presently, with over 600,000 views.
‘It Happened to Me’ was another film about HIV which swiftly followed in 2013; commissioned by UNESCO. The goal of the Film for Life Project is to make films about everyday life and to encourage social change. Over twenty themes have been earmarked to be developed in the near future by LFA. This will be the third film Film for Life is embarking on; and the beginning of a productive partnership between the LFA and Global Philanthropy Alliance.
“It’s really delightful to kick off the Film for Life series this year, thanks to GPA’s grant.” LFA Founder, Chris Ihidero notes. “I have always wanted to help young filmmakers make their first films, knowing what making Big Daddy in 2011 did for my own career. A short film is a call card, something that says: ‘Hey, I can do this!’ My hope is that the participants, whether they win or not, go away with a sense of understanding of what it means to be a filmmaker and to be socially aware as individuals interested in making the various societies they live in, a better place for all.”
Applications are now open to youth based in Lagos, Nigeria; between the ages of 18-30 who are interested in making their first film. They are to apply in teams of three (3) consisting of a writer, producer and director. The film, which they will write, direct and produce themselves after a bootcamp training with industry experts; will encourage citizen involvement in the electoral processes and the upcoming Nigerian general elections in February 2019.