By Bianca Iboma-Emefu

In today’s world where most youths go after blue-chip jobs and aspire to live life on the fast lane, writing and shooting short film can offer a sustainable career and fulfilling life for a Nigerian youth looking to improve her living standard, craft and build a sustainable career.

That was the submission of Abimbola Akinribola, winner of the 19th edition of Abuja Film Festival, ‘Clean to Shoot Short Film Competition.’

Akinribola said she recognized her struggles as a  budding filmmaker who left her area of certification at the university, where she had studied Biology, but attended a film institute for one year to developed her skills in filmmaking. When she saw the opportunity, she immediately participated in order to test the waters.

“I am glad I won the competition, because my parents never believed that I could make out something from the competition. In fact, they didn’t support me because they preferred I concentrated on my area of study. Though I am enjoying the glitz and glamour associated with it, I was inspired by that saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” That is where the title came from.

“As a budding filmmaker, who won the overall prize for my work, ‘Rule No 1,’ I was awarded N500,000, while Henry Akinseye emerged the first runner-up with his title, ‘Dirty Space,’ and carted away N300,000.And Charles Okolowonu was declared the second runner-up with his video, ‘My Juju,’ and was rewarded with N200,000.”

The brand manager of Hypo Bleach brand of Multipro Enterprise Limited (MPEL), Mr. Akintayo Akinseloyin, expressed happiness over the synergy with the festival to reward young filmmakers. Over 200 entries came from within Nigeria and the diaspora.

“It was a global competition but three persons were chosen and would be working with us on the cleanliness message to Nigeria and the world at large,” he said.

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Akinseloyin explained why they  decided to partner with the Abuja Film Festival to promote cleanliness, as a platform to educate and reward excellence, creativity, hard work and originality and also to provide a bigger platform for talented young people to achieve their dreams.

 He said: “During the process, we noticed the great potential of the industry and we were surprised by many young content creators. They are passionate, hardworking and full of inspiration.”

He pledged that the organization would continue to collaborate with the AFF in order to support young Nigerian filmmakers: “Although this is the first time we are working together on a project, it was just an experiment, but it came out very impressive, as the film passed on the message of hygiene and cleanliness meant to provide a safe and healthy nation.”

In his remarks, the founder of the festival, Fidelis Duker, said the emergence of “Rule No 1,” emphasised the need for people to practice hygiene and cleanliness.

“After COVID-19, one of the basic challenges we had was that most people stopped going back to hygiene,” Duker said: “If you remember, during COVID-19, you washed your hands and put on your face mask, but everybody has gone back to normal life.

“The whole idea of the project is to see how people can go back to that idea of cleanliness, better than what we are doing today.

“The platform has been devoted to encouraging the development of the movie industry through this festival. Now, we are joining hands to support new faces. We are honoured to be working with the brand on this beautiful course, while we keep bringing fresh new content to our audience.

“We have to clear the stage for young and up-and-coming artistes. If we catch them young and structure them properly, it will actually help  in developing great ideas and talent.”