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The Rise of African Film: 5 African Producers Making Waves

The Rise of African Film: 5 African Producers Making Waves
  • PublishedSeptember 18, 2020

The African film industry is indisputably diversifying its economy by creating jobs in the continent. Contemporary African Films are known to deal with a wide variety of themes relating to modern issues and universal problems while providing premium entertainment. Here is a list of some of the producers behind the great films.

Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya)

Wanuri Kahiu is a Kenyan film director, producer, and author. She has received several awards and nominations, including awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2009 for her dramatic feature film, From a Whisper. What sets Wanuri apart in the industry is her bravery in tackling topics like homosexuality, which are often controversial.

Her 2018 film, Rafiki, tells the story of two Kenyan girls who fall in love and struggle to navigate their feelings in a homophobic society. Despite the controversy, her big bet paid off: Rafiki was the first Kenyan film to screen at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, In August, Kahiu signed a deal with Disney+ to adapt the popular Broadway musical “Once on This Island.

Mo Abudu (Nigeria)

Mosunmola ‘Mo” Abudu is a household name. Described by Forbes as one of Africa’s most successful women and by CNN as the ‘African Oprah,’. Abudu is the founder of EbonyLife TV, a talk show host, a filmmaker, and a human resource consultant. EbonyLife is a fast-growing black entertainment lifestyle and network-available in 48 African countries.

Abudu also produced The Wedding Party 1&2. It was acquired by Netflix in 2017 and was the highest-grossing title of all time at the Nigerian box office. Abudu is a highly sought expert on the  African and global cultural and creative industries. 

Blitz Bazawule (Ghana)

Popularly known by his stage name, Blitz the Ambassador, is a famous Ghanaian hip-hop artist who debuted in the film industry with his 2018 film,The Burial of Kojo.

Hollywood producer Ava Duvernay later acquired the movie for distribution across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. won Best Narrative Feature (World Cinema) and won the Grand Prize at the 2019 Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt.

Bazawule is also the founder of the Africa Film Society, an organization dedicated to the preservation and distribution of classic African cinema. 

The acquisition of his film, Burial of Kojo by Ava Duvernay thrust him into the spotlight and allowed him to be one of the eight directors on Beyonce’s August 2020 album, Black is King.

Ramaphakela SIblings (South Africa)

Brother and sister filmmaking trio, Katleho, Tshepo, and Rethabile Ramaphakela are the proud owners of Burnt Onion Productions and producers of the popular South African sitcom, My Perfect Family. Their most recent film, Seriously Single, aired globally on Netflix in July 2019 and is one of the most-watched movies on Netflix Africa.

Set in Johannesburg, South Africa, Seriously Single tells the story of a young lady, who after two failed relationships, embarks on a journey to self-discovery with her best friend and their adventures navigating the modern-day dating world. 

Phillipe Lacôte (Côte D’ivoire)

According to Lacôte, his love for the creative industry is closely linked to the movie theatre ‘Le Magic’ in Abidjan, close to his childhood home. His first short films, The Messenger and  Affaire Libinski won awards at the 2007 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

He has also produced documentaries such as Cairo Hours, Chronicles of War in the Ivory Coast, and his first feature film Run, which won the Jerusalem Film Lab Award and was presented at the Un Certain Regard section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. 

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