Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals (RCIFF) is the first film festival, and film festivals Founded by a reigning Monarchy, and the only film festival in Nigeria hosting two major festivals April 7-11, 2022 - Lagos, Nigeria and November 25-28, 2022- The Kingdom of Eti-Oni, Osun State Nigeria.

ABOUT Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals

Osun State Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola on Thursday 25th November 2021 launched the Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals (RCIFF) as part of the events marking the 8th edition of The Cocoa Festival in the state of Osun, Nigeria. The Governor who was represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Adedayo Adewole launched the Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals (RCIFF) at the Filmhouse Cinemas, Osun Mall in Osogbo, the state capital. Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals (RCIFF) is an initiative of Eti-Oni Development Group to promote cocoa renaissance in the country and the continent. Speaking on behalf of the Governor, Adewole said the state government was supporting cocoa farmers in the state in many ways to ensure that they farm with ease and make commensurate profit. Oyetola lauded His Majesty The Oloni of Eti-Oni, Oba (King) Dokun Thompson Gureje IV for consistently promoting cocoa and pledged support of the Osun State government for cocoa farmers and The Cocoa Festival. In Addition, Adewole said though he was there representing Mr. Governor, he was also present in his own capacity as a farmer and saw the film festival as an initiative to bring young people into agriculture and that the Olori brought another perspective to it, so it was not just about promoting agriculture but how we can all look beyond our differences and work together irrespective of our creed or color of our skin.” He then went on to add “It’s the start of something new that will be remarkable. Olori, I heard you sing and I will finalize this by saying welcome home and hereby declare the Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals open.

While speaking, His Royal Majesty Oba (King) Dokun Thompson, The Oloni of Eti-Oni Osun State, Nigeria said Cocoa farmers are in a very difficult situation and that they were looking for a way out. He said the state government was also doing all it could do to support the cocoa farmers. The traditional ruler said the cocoa farmers must also work to pull themselves out of the difficult situation they have found themselves.

Series of films watched included the "Legend of the Cocoa King", A 2D animation short film to celebrate Cocoa farmers all over the world, by His Royal Majesty Oba (King) Dokun Thompson, Executive Produced by Their Majesties of Eti-Oni, Osun State, Nigeria.

Other films included - "Son of the South" by two time Oscar nominee Barry Alexander Brown, Executive Produced by Oscar winner Spike Lee, "5150" by Denzel Whitaker Executive Produced by David Oyelowo, "Come with Me" by Vineesha Arora-Sarin, and "Between Mountains" by Vineesha Arora-Sarin Executive Produced by Amit Sarin and Queen Angelique-Monet.

The President of the Eti-Oni Development Group, HRM Queen Angelique-Monet Gureje-Thompson, Yeyeluwa Olori of Eti-Oni and co-founder of Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals (RCIFF) said the initiative was to redefine the continent's cocoa industry. She noted that the initiative was to return value to cocoa with a renewed mindset and transform cocoa producing regions so that the farmers can have self worth and self dignity for the coming generation to embrace cocoa farming with pride. A member of the Board of Advisors of Eti-Oni Development Group, Prince Charles Jibromah expressed gratitude to the state government and others who attended the event.

Earlier last week, the Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals (RCIFF) was launched virtually to allow international participants who were part of the films that were screened to be part of the festivals which the founders said was a series of festivals to also take place in not only in the Kingdom of Eti-Oni, but Lagos, The Caribbean, New York and London alongside all the cocoa and chocolate events organised by Eti-Oni Development Group (EDG).

In attendance was the Chief of Staff to the Osun State Governor, Dr Charlie Akinola who represented His Excellency Mr Adegboyega Oyetola (Governor, Osun State). In his remarks, he congratulated Eti-Oni Development Group (EDG) for consistency in holding The Cocoa Festival and in their relentless pursuit of renaissance of the cocoa sector in Nigeria.

Lawrence David Foldes, a Critically Acclaimed Filmmaker, Executive Committee Member-Oscars Student Academy Awards, a member of the Honourary Host Committee was also present and he sent “Greetings and Best Wishes with assurances of support from the Academy in Los Angeles." He said further that there was a big industry in Nigeria and the concept of now combining with cocoa is worthwhile and a lovely way of combining film and industry."

Eve Pomerance (Casting Director for Son of the South and Producer) made remarks on behalf of the team thanking Queen Angelique-Monet for "keeping independent film world alive in covid and giving people hope and faith and in addition to all the previous works having this amazing festival to help cocoa farmers is remarkable.

Two Time Oscar nominee Barry Alexander Brown Director and Writer "Son of the South" in his remarks commended the efforts of Their Royal Majesties in the launch of RCIFF, and stated that with films like "Son of the South" messages can be delivered but it’s a struggle that must be constantly fought for, as it’s never really over. This is why a festival of this kind is unique and certainly needed.

Denzel Whittaker Director and Writer "5150" who acted in the film, "Black Panthers" said: “In America we are only seeing certain examples of what the black America experience could be like as being part of a festival like this and linking arms across the sea, my personal initiatives is to show all the nuance of multi-faceted examples of what the black American experience could be

Vineesha Arora Sarin Director and Writer "Come with me," & " Between Mountains" commended the vision of RCIFF as being a platform that supports the emerging technology of smartphone cinema and provides a voice specifically for women filmmakers.

In addition, Professor Karl Bardosh, an educator, critically acclaimed filmmaker and pioneer in smartphone cinema offered his support and reaffirmed he will assist the RCIFF in the smartphone cinema and content development. Bardosh also stated, "Nigeria became the number two only behind Bollywood in terms of the number of feature films made in the world, number three being Hollywood. Now RCIFF brings in another angle that is extremely important in the democratization of media through the smartphone initiatives."

Public Relations Guru Executive Ron Carter who has worked with legends such as the late Michael Jackson, the late Prince, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, "It is an opportunity to create a cocoa renaissance in the cocoa industry. I believe that it is a noteworthy venture and more importantly it should be celebrated. I think that using the vehicle of film to tell our African Diaspora stories is important and I think the world is ready to hear our stories."

Independent Television Station Pioneer, Gregory Schimizzi stated, "We are here in New York and the Hamptons and we consider Queen Angelique a sister and we are honored she included us in this and we pledge to do our best to bring it forward and promote it as best we can and we believe in the project and we believe that the economic development in Nigeria and environmental issues that are presented in film are important."

Award winning filmmaker, Native American storyteller and actor Ginew Benton Ojibwa raised on Shinnecock Reservation stated, "I really enjoy being a part of an initiative like this because far often being Native American our voices in Hollywood are represented by other nationalities other than Native American people. e ten went on to state, "Far too often our history and the actual truth are buried under the interpretation of those who want to represent our stories for us. So if we represent these stories ourselves we can eventually come to a place where we can come to an understanding and eventually come to a place of healing especially through cinema."

Gbenga Sokefun, a lawyer with passion in the entertainment industry spoke about his new project of adding value to his writings by turning them into films and was interested in the challenges faced by the African Male child who appeared to be forgotten in the scheme of things as only the girl child was spoken about and he believed that his project will begin to address the African child irrespective of gender as they come of age.

Queen Angelique-Monet Gureje-Thompson (co-Founder of RCIFF) discussed the film selections and issues of those of African descent faced in the western world. Gureje-Thompson went on to add that she is part Native American, European and very proud of her African heritage coming from Nigeria through the transatlantic slave trade. The feeling of singing African-American spirituals over 400 years old of her ancestors and now singing them at the Kingdom Eti-Oni where she now feels at home. Singing before the audience of (RCIFF) opening she went on to sing "Motherless child."

RCIFF also hosted a "New Age and New World of Filmmaking" with panel discussion and workshop via zoom and introduce African youths involved in cinema for additional training to include filmmaking, acting, and smartphone. Panelist included honorary host Committee Eve Pomerance (Casting Director and Producer), Peter Ferris (Actor, Top Teacher Prize), who spoke in detail about Casting and a new world of auditioning. Actresses Tonya Canady and Judi Beecher who spoke of the pandemic and acting trends. Queen Angelique-Monet chimed in and spoke about the need for African and Indigenous stories told before the global marketplace, fostering minority talent with education platforms and resources, and the work pioneered with Professor Karl Bardosh and smartphone cinema.

Best Narrative Feature Film
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Documentary Feature Length Film
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Animation Short
Best Animation Feature
Best Climate Change and Environment
Best Conservation
Best Narrator (Feature Length Documentary)
Best Smartphone Narrative Film
Best Smartphone Narrative Short Film
Best Smartphone Documentary Short Film
Best Smartphone Documentary Feature Film
Best World Peace & Tolerance
Best Spotlight on African Cinema
Best Spotlight on Indigenous People Stories

* Opportunity for Film Distribution (Domestic & African Marketplace)
* Award Certificate
* 30 Minute Film Consultation with film veteran for future project

ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible for consideration:

Entrants must fully comply with these Entry Rules & Regulations, including all deadlines, film length, entry material and other requirements.
Non-English language works must have English subtitles at the time submitted. Dialogue lists will not be accepted.

ENTRY MATERIALS*
All entries must include the following:

On-line screeners only. The Festival reserves the right to disqualify any submission, without refund of any kind, which does not arrive at the shipping destination within the deadline window selected by Entrant. ALL FILES if selected must be sent digital.

*Entry materials will not be returned

If your work is selected, you must fulfill the following requirements by the date(s) designated by the Organization: By submitting on filmfreeway platform this executes a release agreement wherein you (i) accept responsibility for obtaining any and all clearances necessary to exhibit your film at Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals (RCIFF) (ii) warrant that you have the rights necessary to exhibit your film; and (iii) indemnify and hold harmless Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals , its parent company, its affiliates, and subsidiaries and any of their respective directors, officers, employees, and representatives against any claim arising out of exhibition of your film at Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals. You must deliver to the address(es) designated by the Festival (i) two exhibition copies of the invited work; All exhibition copies must be delivered in the manner our Production team advises. This includes BluRay, or HD Cam or digital file (.Mov)

FESTIVAL SECTIONS*
Works invited to participate will be shown in the section determined most appropriate by programmers, in their sole discretion and are made available through on-line streaming platforms and for future streaming applicable by Royal Cocoa International Film Festivals (RCIFF).

No film will be selected unless the filmmaker agrees to participate in the on-line screening platform for our hybrid and physical event.