African Cinema Is More Exciting Than Ever. Where’s Its Wider Recognition?

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Creators are experiencing a heyday across Africa with filmmaking enjoying a particularly strong surge in new and critically acclaimed production. Despite all the advances, Hollywood hasn’t exactly embraced these new storytellers and has been stingy with devoting attention and resources to African works.

The issue, in part, is one of perceptions. Many Hollywood executives thought, and continue to think, that no one is interested in seeing films focused on Black and African people, said Moradewun Adejunmobi, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who studies African literature and pop culture.

That same lack of imagination is also at play when it comes to movies from the continent. She pointed to the Academy Awards as an example. In 2021, 12 countries in Africa submitted movies to the Oscars’ best international feature film category — the most African countries to ever submit.

Ivory Coast’s “Night of the Kings” made the shortlist, while Tunisia’s “The Man Who Sold His Skin” received an official nomination, which goes to just five non-US movies per year. This year, 10 countries submitted to the awards, none advanced.

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