Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots. Digital Odyssey Blog

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.    

 

 

Wanuri Kahiu 

 

Rafikis (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. 

Digital Odyssey Blog. Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots - Wanuri Kahiu.

Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots – Wanuri Kahiu.

Image Source: WWD

 

 

Leyla Bouzid

 

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. 

Digital Odyssey Blog. Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots - Leyla Bouzid.

Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots – Leyla Bouzid.

Image Source: The Guardian 

 

 

Mbithi Masya

 

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.   

 

Digital Odyssey Blog. Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots - Mbithi Masya

Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots – Mbithi Masya

Image Source: Daily Nation 

 

 

Alain Gomis

 

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.  

 

Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots - Alain Gomis

Digital Odyssey Blog. Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots – Alain Gomis

Image Source: Screen Anarchy

 

 

Rungano Nyoni

 

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. 

 

Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots - Rungano Nyoni

Digital Odyssey Blog. Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots – Rungano Nyoni

Image Source: Twitter

 

 

Haile Gerima 

 

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. 

Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots - Haile Gerima

Digital Odyssey Blog. Our Favourite Film Directors with African Roots – Haile Gerima

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. 

 

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