Film
"Our Lady of the Nile" image courtesy of TIFF.

These 'Hidden Gems' From Africa & the Diaspora are Now Showing at TIFF

Here are 12 films from across the diaspora to check out before the Toronto International Film Festival ends.

The Toronto International Film Festival, one the largest international film festivals in the world, is currently underway in Canada's largest metropolis.

As with previous years. the festival sees some of the biggest names in the industry gather for premieres of the most noteworthy films released this year, as well as screenings of older titles. Amongst these standout titles are several from filmmakers from African and the diaspora.

READ: The OkayAfrica Guide to Getting Your Movie Into Film Festivals

The folks at TIFF have compiled a list of films that they consider to be "hidden gems" on this year's program and we've chosen twelve of them to highlight below. These exciting features and short films come from filmmakers from a number of countries, including Tunisia, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria and more.

Read more about each selection below, with descriptions and images from TIFF.


Rocks | UK

Image courtesy of TIFF

"An empathetic portrait of a girl at a turning point that highlights the essential value of friends. Teenager Rocks fears that she and her little brother will be forced apart if anyone finds out that they are living alone. With the help of her friends, Rocks evades the authorities and navigates the most defining days of her life so far."

Read more here.

1982 | Lebanon, Norway, Qatar

Image courtesy of TIFF

"It is final exams week. Eleven-year-old Wissam decides to tell his classmate that he loves her when an invasion disrupts the school day threatening to permanently keep them apart. This story of nascent love against this backdrop of war portrays a day they will never forget."

Read more here.

Crazy World | Uganda

CRAZY WORLD Clip | TIFF 2019 youtu.be

"In the latest from Uganda's gonzo action auteur IGG Nabwana, a gang of child-snatching mobsters make a fatal mistake when they kidnap the Waka Stars, a team of pint-sized kung-fu masters who soon turn their cunning wits and deadly skills upon their captors."

Read more here.

Certified Mail | Egypt

Image courtesy of TIFF

"Since her husband went to jail, Hala has to face her suicidal thoughts alone. Her strength has to come from within as society does not help nor forgive a depressed woman, especially if she is a mother."

Read more here.

The Lost Okoroshi | Nigeria

Image courtesy of TIFF

"A man disillusioned with modern Nigerian life transforms into an Okoroshi ancestral masquerade spirit and sets out on a spiritual journey."

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson | USA

Image courtesy of TIFF

"A wealthy, Nigerian-American teen is pulled over by police and shot to death. Tunde immediately awakens, reliving the same day over and over, trapped in a terrifying time loop – forced to confront difficult truths about his closeted, jock boyfriend Soren, best girl friend Marley, and ultimately, himself."

Read more here.

Atlantics | Senegal, Belgium

ATLANTICS by Mati Diop | Clip 1 | GeoMovies youtu.be

"In the nearest future. A desert unsuitable for human habitation. Serhii, a former soldier suffering from PTSD, is having trouble adapting to his new reality: a life in pieces, a land in ruins. He joining the volunteer Black Tulip mission dedicated to exhuming war corpses. By working alongside Katya, he understands that a better future is possible. Will he learn to live without war and accept himself as he is?"

Read more here.

Flatland | South Africa

Image courtesy of TIFF

"When her disastrous wedding night leads to an accidental killing, Natalie flees her husband and her small, rural town in South Africa's desolate Karoo region. Reuniting with her rebellious best friend Poppie, who is heavily pregnant, the two young women escape together on horseback across the endless winter landscape. Hot on their trail is Captain Beauty Cuba, a lonely policewoman intent on proving the innocence of her long-lost fiancé, who has been framed for Natalie's crime. The fate of these three different, yet equally desperate, South African women will eventually converge as they ride towards self-discovery in the face of the ever-present threat of violence, psychological as well as physical."

Read more here.

Our Lady of the Nile | Rwanda

Image courtesy of TIFF

"Our Lady of the Nile is a prestigious Catholic boarding school perched high on a hill, where teenage girls are groomed to be the Rwandan elite. Graduation on the horizon, they share the same dormitory, the same dreams and concerns. But throughout the country as well as within the school, deep-seated antagonisms rumble. Changing these young girls' lives – and the entire nation – forever."

Read more here.

Knuckle City | South Africa

KNUCKLE CITY Trailer | TIFF 2019 youtu.be

"A slice of street life in South Africa's Mdantsane township, known as the boxing mecca of South Africa, Knuckle City follows the journey of Dudu Nyakama, a down and out ageing boxer as he struggles to attain the one fight that he believes will uplift his fractured family. Contending that the underbelly of the boxing world is rife with criminality, Dudu unwittingly enlists the help of his reckless but resourceful, gangster brother who's coming out of jail. Haunted by the ghost of their father, Dudu soon finds that the fight at home is far more challenging than any opponent he can possibly face in the ring..."

Read more here.

Locals Only | South Africa

LOCALS ONLY Trailer | TIFF 2019 youtu.be

"In 1970's Apartheid South Africa, a white teenage skateboarder befriends two township kids and discovers the ugly truth of the world that he is living in."

Read more here.

Noura's Dream | Tunisia, Belgium, France, Qatar

NOURA'S DREAM Clip | TIFF 2019 youtu.be

"An independent woman, Noura is raising her three children alone, working in a hospital laundry to make ends meet. While her husband Sofiane is back in jail, she meets Lassad, the love of her life. Forced to hide their relationship – if it were discovered, they would face 5 years in prison – Noura petitions for divorce but just days before it is granted, the lovers' dream of a life together is threatened by Sofiane's imminent release."

Read more here.

Thirsty | USA

THIRSTY Trailer | TIFF 2019 youtu.be

"Part Little Mermaid, part vampire-comedy, THIRSTY tells the story of a mosquito who falls in love with a man after she tastes his blood. Through her eyes we explore the ups and downs of sex, intimacy, love, and a bug's unflinching desire to feel human."

Rea more here.

***

The Toronto International Film Festival runs through Sunday, September 15.

popular
Still from 'Black Lady Goddess'

Check Out the Trailer for 'Black Lady Goddess,' a Satirical Afro-futuristic Series

The upcoming series, by Chelsea Odufu, centers on a "time period where humans have not only found out that God is a Black woman, but reparations have been issued to each person of African descent."

Black Lady Goddess is a new series from Nigerian-Guyanese filmmaker and content creator Chelsea Odufu.

The upcoming show, described as a "satirical afro-futurisitc" tale, takes place in the year 2040, when humans have come into contact with their creator—a Black woman.

"[Black Lady Goddess] follows the life of young activist Ifeoma Washington who is coming into her own in this time period where humans have not only found out that God is a Black woman, but after reparations in the amount of $455,000 has been issued to each person of African descent," reads the official synopsis. The show highlights how those of African descent grapple with the effects of ongoing Western Hegemony.

Still from 'Black Lady Goddess'

The show is heavily inspired by the Dogon Tribe of Mali, a group that has pioneered the study of astronomy for decades, and centers the experiences of Black women. "Black Lady Goddess submerges us into a world where God is a woman breaking away from the usual representation of God being a masculine figure, which we see throughout western canonical literature," says Odufu in an artist statement. "The goal is to break the chains of patriarchy and show that women can hold positions of power, authority, cultural significance and even the highest position of all, the creator of the universe."

Still from 'Black Lady Goddess'

The first season consists of eight 22-minute episodes, created, directed and written by Chelsea Odufu and written and produced by Emann Odufu.

Be on the lookout for the series premiere and check out the trailer for the pilot episode of Black Lady Goddess below.

Black Lady Goddess Pilot Episode Official Trailer www.youtube.com

popular
(Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Bernardine Evaristo's Award-Winning Novel, 'Girl, Woman, Other,' Is Being Adapted Into a Film

The British-Nigerian author's Booker-prize winning book, about the lives of Black-British women, is headed to the big screen.

British-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo's Booker-prize winning novel Girl, Woman, Other is being adapted for the big screen by major British production company Potboiler Television, reports African literary site Brittle Paper.

The production company, helmed by BAFTA winning producer Andrea Calderwood and Gail Egan, is the same company behind the upcoming series adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie's Americanah on HBO Max. Potboiler Television's previous productions also include the 2019 film The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Davido's Fiancé, Chioma Rowland, Tests Positive For Coronavirus

The Nigerian musician made the announcement via a heartfelt Instagram post on Friday.

Chioma Rowland, the fiancé of star Nigerian musician Davido, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The artist shared the news via Instagram on Friday, writing that he and 31 people on his team decided to get tested after returning back to Lagos from abroad. While he and the rest of his team received negative results, Rowland's test came back positive.

"Unfortunately, my fiancé's results came back positive while all 31 others tested have come back negative including our baby," wrote Davido. He added that they both showed no systems, but would be self-isolating as a safety measure.

"We are however doing perfectly fine and she is even still yet to show any symptoms whatsoever. She is now being quarantined and I have also gone into full self isolation for the minimum 14 days," he added. "I want to use this opportunity to thank you all for your endless love and prayers in advance and to urge everyone to please stay at home as we control the spread of this virus! Together we can beat this!"

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Juls Drops New Music Video for 'Soweto Blues' Featuring Busiswa and Jaz Karis

The Ghanaian-British producer heads to South Africa for the music video for the amapiano-inspired track.

Heavyweight Ghanaian-British producer Juls shares his first offering of 2020, and it does not disappoint.

The producer enlists South African music star Busiswa and London's Jaz Karis for the jazz-inflected "Soweto Blues," which also boasts elements of South Africa's dominant electronic sound, Amapiano. The slow-burner features airy vocals from Karis who features prominently on the 3-minute track, while Busiswa delivers a standout bridge in her signature high-energy tone.

"The song dubbed "Soweto Blues" is a song depicting the love, sadness and fun times that Soweto tends to offer its people," read the song's YouTube description. The video premiered earlier today on The Fader. "The energy is amazing, the people are lovely and I've found a second home — especially the vibrancy of Soweto," the producer told The Fader about his trip to Soweto for the making of the video "Jaz Karis is singing a love song, which is symbolic of my new love of Soweto and I'm honoured to have worked with Busiswa whom I have been a fan of for a long time."

Fittingly, the music video sees Juls traveling through the township, taking in its sights and energy. The video, directed by Nigel Stöckl, features striking shots of the popular area and its skilled pantsula dancers.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.