The Africa International Film Festival was inaugurated by Chiona Ude, a Nigerian entrepreneur and ardent cinema lover. She has been actively participating in the development of Nigeria’s film industry since 2007, when she was involved in the production of the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board UK Roadshow. In 2008, Ude produced the Africa Movie Academy Awards. A year later, she was the local producer of the global touring festival ION International Film Festival held in Port Harcourt.
In 2010, Ude organized the first edition of the Africa International Film Festival. The inaugural festival was held from December 5–10, 2010 in Port Harcourt. The event was supported by the Africa Movie Academy. The program of the first festival featured film screenings (including premiers), workshops and seminars, an awards ceremony, a fashion show, and live performances by local musicians. The theme of the festival was “Africa Unites”. The award for the best feature film was given to Hawa Essuman’s Soul Boy.
The main goal of the festival is to attract the attention of a wide audience to the huge potential of Africa’s film industry and the socio-economic impact the entertainment industry can have on developing economies. The AFRIFF focuses on finding and supporting local young talents. Its program includes mainly African films and international movies directed by people of African descent from different countries. The films don’t have to be filmed in Africa, but they often connect with the themes of national and cultural identity.
The AFRIFF is a competitive film festival. Its jury gives out awards in several categories such as Best Feature Film, Best Nigerian Film, Best Short Film, Best Documentary Film, Best Animation, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The categories might slightly change from year to year. There’s also an Outstanding Jury Award. The audience vote to determine the winner of the Audience Choice Award.