African cinema assumes another dimension at Cannes

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There were moments of glory for Africa at the 72nd edition of the Cannes International Film Festival, which has just taken place in France. Although deserving entries from France, USA, Palestine and Poland received awards, as expected, this year’s event clearly showed that it was Africa’s time to shine. The introduction of the New African Pavilion at the festival certainly did usher in a new dimension in the African cinema. During the course of the two-week long event, panels were held at the Pavillon Afriques, with regard to the future of the African film. The panels circled around distribution and financing of films as well as how to make Africa a viable film destination for international productions. Naturally, Nigeria stood out as the largest African film industry, while the representatives of countries like Ethiopia and South Africa laid out steps to give film making additional support from the governments in their respective countries. To strengthen film production in their region, Tanzania and Kenya signed a co-production MOU with states that both countries shared a mutual objective, in terms of achieving sustainable strategies that would support filmmakers in creating, distributing and exhibiting their content within and outside Africa.

Nigeria’s National Film and Video Censors Board Executive Director, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, was there to witness and help facilitate the treaty. Nigeria was also represented firmly during the official screenings program with a short film by multiple award-winning film maker, Stanlee Ohikhuare. Titled Trumped, Ohikhuare’s unique thriller stood out for its cinematography and creativity. Starring Brutus Richard and Ronya Man, the movie was received with much appreciation, bringing the audience to tears at the end of the screening. Ronya Man’s acting received many compliments for its intensity and realness. The other African films screened during the festival were Papicha by Mounia Meddour (produced by Algeria-Quatar-France-Belgium); Adam by Mariam Touzani (Morocco) and Atlantique by the Senegalese-French Writer-director Mati Diop (France, Belgium and Senegal). Some private screenings took place at the Pavilion Afrique, including award-winning filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan’s and Gelila Bekele’s documentary titled, Life Is Not Honey.

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