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Still from 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.' Photo by Ilze Kitshoff, courtesy of Sundance Institute.

These 4 African Directors Are Set To Premiere Feature Films at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Institute has announced the first group of films that will grace the big screen at the premier film festival next year.

The Sundance Institute couldn't end the year without giving us a sneak peek at what to anticipate for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Screenings will be hosted in Park City, Salt Lake City and at Sundance Mountain Resort from January 24 to February 3, 2019.

Out of 4,018 feature-length submissions, 112 have been selected to premiere at the festival representing 33 countries. Out of the 112, we've identified the African talent who will be presenting new work next year.

Check out the synopses of the four films helmed by African directors from Sundance below, and check out the full list here.


Chinonye Chukwu | Clemency

Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams. As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.

Cast: Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Richard Schiff, Wendell Pierce, Richard Gunn, Danielle Brooks.

World Premiere

Julius Onah | Luce

Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.

Cast: Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Tim Roth, Norbert Leo Butz.

World Premiere

Shola Amoo | The Last Tree

Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Femi is a British boy of Nigerian heritage who, after a happy childhood in rural Lincolnshire, moves to inner London to live with his mum. Struggling with the unfamiliar culture and values of his new environment, teenage Femi has to figure out which path to adulthood he wants to take.

Cast: Sam Adewunmi, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Tai Golding.

World Premiere

Chiwetel Ejiofor | The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Against all the odds, a thirteen year old boy in Malawi invents an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine. Based on the true story of William Kamkwamba.

Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Maxwell Simba, Lily Banda, Noma Dumezweni, Aissa Maiga, Joseph Marcell.

World Premiere (Read more on the film here)

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For the complete rundown on black talent to keep an eye on at Sundance 2019, check out Shadow and Act's roundup here.

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Photo: Alvin Ukpeh.

The Year Is 2020 & the Future of Nigeria Is the Youth

We discuss the strength in resolve of Nigeria's youth, their use of social media to speak up, and the young digital platforms circumventing the legacy media propaganda machine. We also get first-hand accounts from young creatives on being extorted by SARS and why they believe the protests are so important.

In the midst of a pandemic-rife 2020, the voices of African youth have gotten louder in demand for a better present and future. From structural reforms, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and derelict states of public service, the youths have amplified their voices via the internet and social media, to cohesively express grievances that would hitherto have been quelled at a whisper.

Nigerian youth have used the internet and social media to create and sustain a loud voice for themselves. The expression of frustration and the calls for change may have started online, but it's having a profound effect on the lives of every Nigerian with each passing day. What started as the twitter hashtag #EndSARS has grown into a nationwide youth revolution led by the people.

Even after the government supposedly disbanded the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) unit on the 10th of October, young Nigerians have not relented in their demands for better policing. The lack of trust for government promises has kept the youth protesting on the streets and online.

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