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KILAF: A Great Platform for Celebrating African Languages in Films

By Patience Chat Moses

The maiden edition of the Kano Indigenous Languages of Africa Film Market & Festival (KILAF) held in 2018, where it became the first festival organized by Africans to celebrate films produced in the continent’s own languages and not in English, French or other colonial languages, which used to be the only media of international film festivals.

KILAF is an indigenous festival that helps to promote films produced in indigenous languages of Africa, while encouraging their cross-border sales, especially amongst continental markets. KILAF is a project intended to be marked annually to foster the growth and development of the African media and entertainment landscape within an African context. It is primarily driven by Africans, hinged on the philosophy of ‘Africa First’ to promote and market African content within the entertainment international ecosystem.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KILAF, Alhaji Abdul-Kareem Mohammed, stated that the idea of organizing the festival was the realization that the worst things that can happen to an individual is to have a culture and lose it without any justification.

According to him, while on a study tour to the United States of America, he had come to appreciate the dilemma African Americans face regarding the gap that exists between who they are and who they were.

The festival’s award recognitions are based on eight categories entered by the contestants. These are, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screen Play, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Director, Best Film and Best Short Film or Student Film.

Recently, more categories covering Best Supporting Actor (male), Best Supporting Actor (female), Best African Indigenous Language Film, Best Editing, Best Sound Engineer, Best Make-up, and Best Social Media Content Creator were added.

The sixth edition, KILAF 2023, recorded entries from different parts of Nigeria and other African countries. The event took place at Bristol Hotels, Kano, with 500 people in attendance, 1,500 estimated submissions, one selected project and 19 awards chosen from a total of 16 competitive categories, with each category having three nominations where a winner will finally emerge. Three Lifetime Achievement Awards were given solely on merit.


Meanwhile, Funke Akindele’s blockbuster, ‘A Tribe Called Judah’, broke a Box Office record within 21 days of its release in cinemas to become the first Nollywood film to gross One billion naira.

Veteran Nollywood actress and producer of the movie, Funke Akindele, disclosed this on her Instagram page as she shared the N1 billion hit feat, while expressing gratitude to God and Nigerians.

After the movie hit cinemas on December 15, 2023, it has continued to break records, becoming the first to gross over N133 million in its opening weekend.

It became the highest-grossing Nollywood film for the year 2023 after grossing over N613 million within the first 14 days of its release.

The film earlier made history on January 2, 2024 emerging as the highest-grossing Nollywood film ever with a reported N854 million at the Box Office, 18 days after it was aired in cinemas.

This feat has surpassed Akindele’s previous films ‘Battle on Buka Street’ (N668.4 million) and ’Omo Ghetto’ (N636.1million) which currently sits as the second and third highest-grossing films at the Nigerian Box Office respectively.

Directed by Adeoluwa Owu, known popularly as Captain Degzy, ‘A Tribe Called Judah’ tells the story of a family of boys, who decide to rob a mall to raise money for their mother’s hospital bill. However, on getting there, they are faced with armed robbers.

The movie featured seasoned actors and actresses including Nse Ikpe Etim, Funke Akindele, Timini Egbuson, Ebelle Okaro, Uzor Arukwe, Genoveva Umeh, and Nosa Rex, among others.

Others in the cast include, Boma Akpore, Ebele Okaro-Onyiuke, Etinosa Idemudia, Fathia Balogun, Jide Achufusi, Olayode Juliana, Olumide Oworu, Paschaline Alex, Tobi Makinde, Uzor Arukwe and Yvonne Jegede.

According to Akindele, “the story is so dear to my heart and it has a part of my late mum in it, representing the struggles faced by many single parents and mothers in the society.