Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots
What happens when you put a Kenyan director, South African producer, and Ugandan short film together?
Magic at the Cannes Film Festival in the form of Rafiki.
However, it isn’t just Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki making waves on the silver screen, so we’ve rounded up some of our favourite film directors who have been producing pioneering films; they illustrate what happens when Africans come together to tell their own stories by drawing on their rich cultural heritage.
Our digital marketing agency is committed to bringing the best of Africa to you, and African film directors weaving contemporary stories through new mediums and aesthetics is the best way to understand that.
Rafiki’s (2018) 36-year-old director Wanuri Kahiu is a Kenyan film producer, director, and author. Kahiu is the creator of the Afrobubblegum genre that celebrates a “fun, fierce, and fantastical representation” of Africa, like the lesbian love story in Rafiki. It represents a growing frustration and desire to change the way Africa is perceived across the world. Wanuri is a TED fellow and a World Economic Forum cultural leader.
Image Source: WWD
Bouzid started out as an assistant director to fellow Tunisian Abdellatif Kechiche’s coming-of-age queer drama Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013). Her own debut feature film As I Open My Eyes (2015) is a tribute to her heritage – a story about a young Tunisian woman who pursues a singing career against her family’s wishes right before the 2010 Jasmine Revolution. Her cast and crew were all first-timers, and a testament to her belief in exploring the national history and introducing the world to the creative Afro-Arab youth culture.
Image Source: The Guardian
Born and raised in Nairobi, Masya’s began his career in advertising, and worked on several video installations. With a highly professional sheen, Masya’s debut film Kati Kati (2016) had its world premiere in the discover program of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. portrays a girl who wakes up in an unsettling universe where she learns she is dead and must begin to find her way in her new world. With the tranquility and claustrophobia of the rehabilitation clinic, Masya plays with form, subject, and style to create inventive work.
Image Source: Daily Nation
Gomis studied at Sorbonne University, but failed his entrance exams to France’s leading film schools. Undeterred, the son of working-class Senegalese parents began making short documentaries while teaching filmmaking to students in the French suburbs. His most recent film Félicité (2017) was nominated Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, and won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. The film follows a proud Congolese woman working as a singer to save her hospitalized son, all set to the background of Kinasha’s live music scene.
Image Source: Screen Anarchy
Zambian filmmaker Nyoni won widespread acclaim with her debut film I Am Not A Witch (2017) at the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight. The story features a nine year old girl accused of witchcraft by her villagers, paraded around to courts and TV stations, but her attitude remains indomitable. Nyoni perfectly blends empathetic storytelling, a silenced social issue, and dark humor.
Image Source: Twitter
Born in Gondar, Ethiopia, Gerima studied acting and directing in the United States. His films are notable for their exploration into the issues of the African diaspora, and comment on the psychological, cultural and physical dislocation of black people during and after slavery. His films Ashes & Embers (1982) and Harvest: 3000 Years (1976) received international acclaim and the latter won the Grand Prize at the Locarno Film Festival. Gerima is a leading member of the L.A. Rebellion film movement, also known as the Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers.
Image Source: Take Part
Though not an exhaustive list by any means, these film directors with African roots cut inspirational figures by showing the world (and a younger generation of Africans) the beauty and nuances of diverse African experiences – and why they should be proud of their history and culture.
After all, not all superheroes wear capes, but we can recognise them regardless.
Digital Odyssey can help you stay on top of trends to effectively navigate the complex waters of the internet. Our marketing agency can help you with further ideas on how to design world-class websites, seamless user journeys and digital marketing campaigns.
Contact Us to Learn How