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From left to right: Mati Diop, Ladj Ly, Mounia Meddour and Maryam Touzani.

4 African Directors Have Been Selected to Present Films at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival

Senegalese-French filmmaker Mati Diop and Mali's Ladj Ly are the only Africans featuring their work in the Competition program.

The 72nd Festival de Cannes returns in May to continue its mission to draw attention to and raise the profile of films on an international level. The festival announced the official lineup Thursday, where we found only four African filmmakers set to present their work at the festival's various programs.

Mati Diop, Senegalese-French filmmaker and the niece of Touki Bouki's Djibril Diop Mambéty, as well as Malian filmmaker Ladj Ly are the only Africans set to enter their films in the Competition program.


Diop will be presenting her feature film directorial debut Atlantique at Cannes. According to Indie Wire, this makes her the first black woman in the festival's 72-year history to be selected in the program. All eyes will be on her at Cannes this year—learn more about her career here.

Ly will be presenting Les Misérables, a film based on 2005 police violence in his French neighborhood of Cité des Bosquets in Clichy Montfermeil. Ly is also an actor and the director of the Kourtrajmé collective.

Two directors with roots in North Africa will be presenting films in the Un Certain Regard program—Algeria's Mounia Meddour with Papicha and Morocco's Maryam Touzani with Adam.

Meddour moved to France at 18 after her formative years in Algeria due to threats her family received during the Algerian Civil War. With a background in journalism and film, she landed her first award-winning short in 2011 with Edwidge.

Touzani was born and raised in Tangier, Morocco and is also a screenwriter and an actor. Working alongside her filmmaker husband, Nabil Ayouch, Touzani takes on sexuality, women's rights and even questions the makings of a conservative society through her work.

Stay tuned for more Cannes updates—and visit their website for more information about this year's festival.

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Photo courtesy of Cimarrón Productions.

Cimarrón Is the Women-Led Film Production Company Empowering Afro-Colombians to Tell Their Own Stories

The "first Afro-Colombian film production company," is teaching filmmaking in Colombia's black communities in order to combat the lack of representation.

When filmmaker, activist, and cultural agent Heny Cuesta first started her career in Colombia, she noticed a severe lack of black creators in the industry. Cuesta, an Afro-Colombian originally from Cali, was the only Black woman in a room full of mestizo directors at a panel discussion at the International Film Festival in Cartagena de Indias (FICCI) in 2013.

"None of the filmmakers were black, but they were talking about ethnic content despite the fact that they didn't know the territory," says Cuesta. That scene shocked her, but it reflected the low number of movies directed by black directors in Colombia. In 2018, Colombia's film industry premiered 37 feature films and only one of them –Candelaria– was directed by a black director. It received many international awards.

The lack of blackness in Colombia's film industry goes far beyond studios, film festivals and production companies. Afro-Colombians make up almost 20 percent of the population but historically have had few opportunities to access education. Most black Colombians, who come from cities and towns along the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts, have been neglected and isolated due to a lack of infrastructure, as well as a lack of education and job opportunities.

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Watch this Stunning South African Documentary Film 'Womanhood'

South African women from different walks of life speak about their experiences of womanhood through various lenses.

Womanhood is a short documentary film which is the result of a collaboration between South African insurer 1st For Women and digital media platform Vice. The short documentary features an array of South African women from different and diverse backgrounds speaking about what womanhood means to them. The documentary itself focuses on five important themes: freedom, body, pain, motherhood and future.

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Video: Mr Eazi On How He's Helping Young African Artists Grow

In 'Moments With: Mr Eazi,' the buzzing Nigerian star tells us about Banku music, being a serial entrepreneur, and how he's been pushing young African artists through his emPawa initiative.

Mr Eazi stopped by our offices in New York City during a packed round of promo around his new emPawa platform.

The Nigerian star sat down with OkayAfrica and spoke in-depth about his early days, how his friends all pooled money to help him get started, how his famous 'hat' look came about, the blend of Ghanaian & Nigerian sounds that make up Banku music and more recent things like collaboration with J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

Watch our Moments With video with Mr Eazi below.

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Asa 'Lucid' cover.

The 14 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Asa, Patoranking x Busiswa, $pacely, Vagabon, Shane Eagle and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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