Rethinking Cities, an advocacy group on urban and development issues based in Lagos, has hosted the Inclusive Lagos Film Festival to screen short documentaries that highlight issues of housing and forced evictions in informal communities.
The film, a combination of 6 documentaries produced by YanMe TV in collaboration with Heinrich boll Stiftung (HBS) Abuja, was screened at the KAP Cinema in Lagos.
Deji Akinpelu, Co-founder, Rethinking Cities explained that the documentaries were produced and screened, to show the true state of residents of informal communities and change the negative perceptions and narratives that the public have about informal settlements.
“The festival features stories on housing challenges experienced by the urban-poor, forced evictions and gender issues. We are using this to change the stereotypes and criminalization of informal communities,” Akinpelu added.
He also noted that the festival would help to project the core and true issues about informal communities to a wider audience with a view of addressing the numerous challenges experienced by the urban-poor.
Dr Temilade Sesan of Future Cities Nigeria while speaking to participants after the screening noted that every resident of Lagos has a duty to stand against the oppression of the poor.
She noted that addressing the challenges experienced by the urban poor “is our collective responsibility because irrespective of tribe or class, the Lagos that works for one will work for all.”
On his part, Nollywood Actor, Mr Frank Konwea mentioned that the documentaries highlighted the true state of the communities and what residents experience on a regular basis.
He applauded Rethinking Cities for the initiative, which according to him would help to transform the lives of the urban poor. He also encouraged the community members who played vital roles in the production of the short films to use film as a tool for development.
Blessing Oladunjoye, Publisher BONews Service while speaking to the audience also noted that it is high time that positive narratives are being spread about informal communities, as a way of countering the widespread negative perceptions.
She also tasked the media to continually propagate positive information about the urban poor.
Participants at the film festival were drawn from the Theater industry, Civil Society groups and informal communities across Lagos State.