CELEBRATING AFRICA'S FILM HISTORY
Africa has a proud film history, dating back to the 1890s. African films have won almost any award you can imagine, from Cannes to the Oscars. They have gone viral on YouTube, been selected as Vimeo Staff Picks, and featured on taste-maker sites like Nowness. And we believe they're getting better and better.
But the tragedy is that most Africans are unaware of how much they have to celebrate. Too often, Africa's classics have been forgotten, silenced or overlooked, never getting the distribution or publicity they deserve.
This site aims to change that and is built with the following goals in mind:
BUILD AUDIENCE TRUST
As Senegal's Oscar-shortlisted director Alain Gomis told Variety recently, across the continent, African audiences have grown accustomed to seeing Western lives depicted onscreen. “You have this feeling that your life is not real life,” he says. “It’s very violent. We are destroying ourselves.”
We believe it is damaging when you are not visible in the stories that give your life meaning, so we've built this site where Africans - on the continent and across the diaspora - will be able to see themselves reflected on screen.
Watching African films can be high-risk, high-reward. Some of our favourite films are African; some of the worst we've ever seen are too.
African critics are often so eager to encourage local filmmaking that they praise things they shouldn't. One result has been a breakdown of trust - an inability for ordinary Africans to know whether what they're watching will be revelatory or rubbish.
So the primary goal of this site is to build trust with our audience, by showing only Africa's best videos, as curated by Africa's best filmmakers. We've also curated collections of African videos from the world's most prestigious festivals, awards, and websites.
Taste is not universal, so we can't promise that the next film you watch here will be your all-time favourite, but we can promise that it is someone's favourite.
GET AFRICAN FILMS ONLINE IN AFRICA
At present, many of the African films we want to feature on this site are not available to stream legally in Africa, although many of these are available in other territories.
We believe that if you want to make a film about Africa, the least you can do is make it available to Africans.
When the internet first launched, we naively believed it would be the great leveler. Then we discovered the vast differences that remained between internet access, download speeds, data prices, geo-blocking that restricted what content was available where, and the increasing pay-walling of content in currencies stronger than our own in Africa. The internet has increased inequality, not defeated it.
So we don't believe this website will miraculously make all the African films we feature finally available to all Africans - most will still be unable to access this website.
But we want to lobby for all films featured on this site to at least be available to stream legally in Africa, as a small first step towards the goal of making them more widely available in the continent.
If that resonates with you, please sign our petition.
A SEARCHABLE RESOURCE
Need to write an essay on the difference between African treatments and foreign perspectives on the Arab Spring, the Ebola outbreak or liberation struggles? Search by topic on africa.film.
Need to write a thesis on the difference between South African and Nigerian cinema? Search by country on africa.film.
Need to put together a treatment or mood board on the Sapeurs or soccer in Africa? Search by topic on africa.film.
Need to write an article on the latest African award-winner? Browse previous winners to provide context for your article.
We want africa.film to become the primary resource for journalists, academics and filmmakers researching African film. If you are using africa.film for professional purposes though, we ask that you consider supporting us on a 'pay what you can' basis on Patreon, as money is time, and we want to be able to put as much time as possible into making this site a game-changer for Africa's film industry.