Tuesday, August 15, 2023 8:00 am
Emmanuel’s movie was judged the best among the 67 shortlisted for assessment among over 100 entries submitted for the Film Challenge organized jointly by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, OSSAP-SDGs, United Nations Information Centre, UNIC and FreshNEWS Multimedia.
Emmanuel, who started making film in 2022 was awarded the grand cash prize of N1 million at the grand finale of the event organized to mark the International Youth Day 2023 held at Abuja Continental Hotel at the weekend. The award was collected on behalf of Emmanuel by his sister.
Stephanie Phillips, a recent graduate of Ebonylife Creative Academy who came second with her film, HALIMAH was awarded a cash prize of N500,000 while Rimamkongnde Yakubu “Kongs” Shamaki, a photographer and filmmaker was the second runner up with his film, Tailored. He was awarded a cash prize of N350,000. Ikpongke Fred’s FOREVER YOURS won the Viewers’ Choice Award at the event.
Speaking as a special guest of honour at the event, Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, hailed the SDGs Short Film Challenge & Awards, describing it as a worthy and timely initiative that seeks to involve the country’s youths in national development. Senator Akpabio, represented at the event by Sen. Idiat Aderanti Adebule, noted that the project is worthy of commendation because it offers Nigerian youths the opportunity to be direct partakers in the nation’s development agenda.
Sen Akpabio also commended the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, UNIC and the initiator of the film challenge, Desmond Utomwen, for committing himself to picking up the initiative. “I want to commend you for committing yourself to this course. A lot must have gone into the effort. That is quite commendable.”
In his opening remarks at the event, Ahmad Kawu, the Secretary of Programmes, OSSAP-SDGs noted that it is extremely fitting that the International Youth Day was chosen to celebrate the economic and cultural contributions of Nigerian youth creatives to SDGs advocacy through film.
He noted that as a major stakeholder group, young people must carry the baton of leadership and innovation to chart the kind of sustainable and inclusive future which the 2030 Agenda envisions.
“It is for this reason that this initiative is extremely significant as it seeks to highlight stories from Nigerian society which illustrate developmental issues that require urgent action. We applaud our youth especially the entrants of this challenge who are using their creative potential to create the necessary awareness for the Goals.
“We must continue to support young people with the skills and resources they require to deliver the sustainable development goals for our country and for future generations.
Also speaking, Roland Kayanja, Director of UNIC who also represented Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria for Nigeria, UNHCR, at the commended the initiative while noting that film is a weapon that can be deployed to realize the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. There were also goodwill message from the Actors Guild of Nigeria, and the state governments.
Speaking in the same vein, the EU Charge d’Affairs in Nigeria, Mrs Agnieszka Torres de Oliviera said the film challenge was ongoing efforts of the organisation to empower Nigerian youths by offering them different opportunities.
Also, Nollywood actor and member of Lagos House of Assembly, Desmond Elliot was one of the star attractions at the event. Elliot also endorsed the SDGs Film Challenge, describing it as a veritable way of spreading awareness about the SDGs.
“As a filmmaker, I firmly believe in the power of using film to promote the SDGs. I encourage everyone to rally behind the SDGs Short Film Challenge and Awards. This initiative not only offers a stage for emerging filmmakers but also acts as a potent tool for advocating for the Sustainable Development Goals.” Elliot stated.
There were also goodwill messages from state governments presented by Dr. Ebiwari Wariowei, the Bayelsa State Focal Person on SDGs and the leadership of Actors Guild of Nigeria delivered by the Mayor of Abuja Chapter, Ugochukwu “Twenty Mouth” Ohuonu at the event.
Also present at the event were members of diplomatic community as well as representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government.