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“Beyond Fela,” a Docu-series Project by Nigerian Filmmakers, Wins Sheffield DocFest Award

“Beyond Fela,” a Docu-series Project by Nigerian Filmmakers, Wins Sheffield DocFest Award

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The documentary will be directed by Aderonke Adeola, who will co-produced with Bolaji Kekere Ekun.

By Helena Olori

Beyond Fela, a documentary series in development by Nigerian filmmakers, Aderonke Adeola, and Bolaji Kekere Ekun, won the Sheffield DocFest Award at the just concluded 2023 Durban International Film Festival.

Sharing a tweet announcing the award, Sheffield Documentary Festival wrote, “We’ve been @durbanfilmmart this week & delighted to present an award to Beyond Fela (Nigeria).

Congrats to all the projects and makers who took home awards last night! The Sheffield DocFest Award is supported by @BritishCouncil […] Cultural Exchange programme, [which] supports cultural organisations, festivals, artists, and creatives between the countries of SSA and the UK to create art, build networks, collaborate and develop markets and share artists’ work with audiences.”

(Read also: Afrobeats Festival Makes Its Homecoming as Afro Nation Nigeria Gears Up)

Although details about the project are still under wrap, the docu-series, Beyond Fela (formerly The Darker Side of Afrobeats), as the name suggests, may chronicle the life and legacy of the legendary Nigerian musician widely acclaimed as the pioneer of Afrobeat, and the intricacies of the Nigerian music genre, which is currently gaining remarkable recognition globally.

The documentary will be directed by Aderonke Adeola, known for her UNESCO prize-winning short documentary, Awani. She will co-produced with Bolaji Kekere Ekun, who is the founder of 37thState media production, director of the short film, Call Me By My Name, and film editor for Tainted Canvas.

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Beyond Fela was among the 28 projects selected from African filmmakers for the Pitch and Finance Forum at the 2023 Durban FilmMart, themed Constellations. It was the only Nigerian project featured. Each of the selected projects received awards from renowned film funds and foundations, including the Hot Docs-Blue Ice Docs Fund, Red Sea Fund, National Film and Video Foundation, etc.

The Pitch and Finance Forum is a platform that connects filmmakers with international production and distribution  companies, financiers, streaming services, and sales agents. It avails them the opportunity to foster partnerships and garner the necessary support for their projects from development stage to distribution.

With the Sheffield DocFest Award selection, Beyond Fela will participate in the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival programme which will enhance the project’s visibility and chances of securing the required resources to move forward with production.

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