African films submitted to the Oscars
Nobody can deny it, the little golden guy which goes by the nickname Oscar matters to any filmmaker around the world. It is the most coveted and acclaimed award in the film industry though not with its own controversies. This year nine African countries submitted their films for consideration with Namibia submitting a film for the very first time. The list of the submitted films is below.
Burkina Faso Title of Film: Sira….
This is a film in French and Fula and the first to be submitted by the West African nation since 1989. It tells the story of a young Fulani girl named Sira who is traveling across the Sahel to meet her bridegroom but an attack from terrorist groups leaves Sira in a dire and harrowing state of affairs.
Cameroon Title of Film: Half Heaven
The film is in Cameroonian pidgin and English. It was directed by Enah Johnscott. The blurb reads “The revelatory encounter between an Evangelist sent on a mission and a prostitute.”
Egypt’s submission is a film in Arabic directed by Omar Hilal. The movie tells the story of a security guard named Hassan (Mohamed Farag). He lived in dire poverty along with his mother but harbours dreams of a better life and travel. He joins a football team for the blind and embarks on a new adventure bringing him in front of various interesting characters and dangerous adventures.
Kenya Title of Film: Mvera
Mvere is a self-centred woman who is in search of her lost mother and also finds herself in the centre of an organ trafficking ring. The story is about corrupt leadership that has left Mombasa in poverty. The film is in Swahili and was directed by Daudi Anguka.
Morocco Title of Film: The Mother of All Lies
The director of ‘Mother of All Lies’ Asmae El Moudir, won herself an Un Certain Award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for her work on this documentary film about the director’s search for truth in both her family and national history. The film is in Arabic.
British-Namibian filmmaker Perivi John Katjavivi took on a mystery movie set in a desert town in Namibia. ‘Under The Hanging Tree’. This is a movie which tells the tale of how colonial genocide in Namibia continues to profoundly shape people’s lives. The impetuous city officer Chrisitine Mureti is assigned to a morbid case in a small desert town. The film is in Afrikaans, German and English.
Nigeria Title of Film: Mami Wata
‘Mami Wata’ is a fantasy, black and white film written and directed by C.J. “Fiery” Obasi. The film is based on Nigerian folklore.
Senegal Title of Film: Banel & Adama
‘Banel & Adama’ is classic love story. Banel (Khady Mane) and Adama (Mamadou Diallo) live in a remote village in Senegal and fall in love, they make the decision to leave their families in order to live together. This brings about conflict and other challenges for the lovers. The film is in French and Pular. It was directed by Ramata-Toulaye Sy in her directorial debut.
Mpumi Mbele directed this feature which chronicles the life of Joseph Shabalala, the leader of the multi-Grammy winning musical act Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Committees in Uganda and Malawi made calls for filmmakers to submit film but ended up not receiving any submissions. In the Academy Awards’ ninety-five year history only three African films have won the award for International Feature; Tsotsi (South Africa), Z(Algeria) and Black and White in Color (Ivory Coast). The final list of nominated movies will be announced in January of 2024 then and only then will the continent know if they have secured their name on the ballot papers.