Nigeria-US cultural ties growing, says envoy

Jesusegun Alagbe

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard has hailed what she described as “growing” US-Nigeria cultural ties.

Ms Leonard said this on Tuesday in her remarks at a reception for representatives from the Nigerian and American entertainment industries.

“I am proud of the US Mission’s contributions to this year’s Africa International Film Festival. Our goal is to build the capacity of emerging filmmakers on animation and post-production, two areas that could lead to tremendous growth in Nigeria’s film industry,” the envoy said.

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“The US government has long recognised the role of film in diplomacy, with its emphasis on free expression, creativity, democratic and collaborative teamwork,” she added.

In a statement, the US Mission said it had supported Nigeria’s burgeoning film industry and creative community with its participation at the 10th annual Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).

“In addition to sponsoring two masterclasses in partnership with American Film Showcase and Global Media Makers, representatives from the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and US companies including Amazon, Macro and Paramount are attending the ongoing festival to deepen their ties with the Nigerian film industry,” the statement read.

Founder/Executive Director of AFRIFF, Chioma Ude, offered appreciation to the US Mission for being one of the major sponsors of the festival over the last five years.

“We are grateful to the US Embassy in Abuja and the US Consulate General in Lagos for their continuing support of our efforts to build capacity of African filmmakers,” she added.

AFRIFF, an annual showcase of the world of filmmaking, with participation from local and international actors, directors, film critics, buyers, distributors, visual artists, film students, and equipment manufacturers, is taking place from 7-13 November.

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