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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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Image courtesy of ARRAY.

What to Watch at Home During Coronavirus Shutdown: ARRAY's New Digital African Film Series

The film platform, from director Ava DuVernay, is hosting a weekly movie-viewing experience for the "global online community of cinephiles."

If you're looking for African films to dive into while at home during the coronavirus outbreak, a new digital series from award-winning director Ava DuVernay's film collective ARRAY is a great place to start. The multi-media platform and arts collective is launching its #ARRAYMatinee series, and each film will be available for viewing here.

#ARRAYMatinee is a virtual movie-viewing experience that will screen a string of the collective's previously released independent films from Africa and the diaspora. The weekly series begins on Wednesday, April 1 with a viewing of the 2015 South African coming-of-age film Ayanda. "Viewers will take a cinematic journey to the international destinations and cultures featured in five films that were released via the ARRAY Releasing independent film distribution collective that amplifies that work of emerging filmmakers of color and women of all kinds," says the platform in a press release. To promote a communal viewing experience, viewers are also encouraged to have discussions on Twitter, using the hashtag #ARRAYMatinee.

The five-part series will run weekly until May 13, and also includes films from Liberia, Ghana, and Grenada. See the full viewing schedule below with descriptions from ARRAY, and visit ARRAY's site at the allotted times to watch.

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News Brief
Image by Sabelo Mkhabela.

'If you have no savings you are screwed': South African Artists Call For Coronavirus Relief

South African artists take to social media to criticize the government's lack of plans during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

On Monday morning, a few ministers—including the minister of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa—asked South Africans on Twitter to partake in a #LockdowngymChallenge.

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Cover art of "Banjo".

Watch Cameroonian Drag Artist Bebe Zahara Benet's New Music Video for 'Banjo'

Video Premiere: Bebe Zahara Benet releases the colourful visuals for her latest single 'Banjo' ahead of her upcoming EP 'Broken English'.

Cameroonian drag artist Bebe Zahara Benet has just released the colourful visuals to her latest single 'Banjo'.

The single, which features on her upcoming Broken English EP, is the follow up to several EPs titled Face and Kisses & Feathers as well as a number of singles including "Fun Tonite", "Get Fierce (Lose Yourself)" and "Starting a Fire".

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8 South African Albums & EPs to Stream While Staying Home

Let these South African releases from Bongeziwe Mabandla, Shabaka and the Ancestors, King Monada and others hold you down during lockdown.

This month saw a number of releases from South African artists. While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken money away from a majority of artists, this could be the best time for listeners to go through the new music that was released.

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