A Message from NFF Founder, Jonathan Adewumi
2015 was our inaugural year and this year promises to be more exciting, educational and exciting. The Nigerian Film Festival is an experience that brings internationally recognized film makers of African influence to colleges and universities in America.
2019 is a year that marks 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. Within the African diaspora community, this year is being declared as “The Year of Return,” inviting the global African family to a birth-right journey back to their home in the motherland.
Journey with us as we celebrate Black History Month this year in the United States. As we recognize the historic events and contributions people of African descent have had in the global community, we will examine the impact of slavery and its resultant colonization of the continent of Africa.
Our special invited guests will include filmmakers, prominent thought leaders, and industry executives. This event provides our audience exclusive screenings of present day African-themed films, and showcases the wealth of talent within the African diaspora.
The festival also features network opportunities between U.S. based professionals and Africa. Join us for an engaging panel discussion where our acclaimed filmmakers will discuss their work and what’s in store for Africa in the next 400 years.
The Nigerian Film Festival is dedicated to the memory of my mentor and friend Jonathan P. Hicks.
Jonathan P. Hicks, at the time of his death, was a senior national correspondent for BET.com and prior to that was a business and political reporter for the New York Times for 24 years. Early in 2014, Jonathan Hicks told me he was coming to Africa for his annual J. P. Hicks Family Mass Communication Scholarship, which helps finance studies at the University of Liberia for aspiring Liberian journalists.
While in Africa, he wanted to come to Nigeria to not only visit but to interview Nollywood Filmmakers for Black Entertainment Television (BET). He instructed me to find the filmmakers and have them ready for the interview upon his arrival in Nigeria. If you know Jonathan Hicks, you know that if he gives you an assignment you have to do a thorough job. So I started meeting and talking to filmmakers in Lagos to identify the ones Jonathan would interview.
When Jonathan arrived in Lagos we went to interview our first filmmaker, who was the talented and beautiful Ms. Michelle Bello, CEO of Blu Star Entertainment. The interview was amazing but by the end of the interview Jonathan was tired and needed to rest, due to battling pancreatic cancer and the rigors of chemo therapy—all while having being given only 6 months to live an unbelievable 2 years earlier.
Jonathan Hicks returned back to the US and a few months later passed November 3, 2014.
The Nigerian Film Festival was born from Jonathan Hicks last assignment to me: to share the Nollywood story with America. This journey so far has been amazing with tremendous support from different groups and individuals that see the potential of our vision to help build bridges between Africa and America that will aid in the exchange of culture and business opportunities.