Closeup of drawing pattern on hand
Henet Ward. 2020. Dir. Morad Mostafa


Established in 2011, the Film Africa Baobab Award for Best Short Film exists to recognise and support emerging filmmaking across Africa and its diaspora. The Award consists of a £1,000 cash prize and is judged by an expert jury of filmmakers and industry professionals. Film Africa considers all submitted short films that meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Short must be 30 minutes or under and made by African or African diaspora filmmaker.
  • Director must not yet have made a feature-length film – i.e. emphasis is on emerging talent.
  • Short must be fiction/experimental – documentaries will only be considered for the main programme.
  • Year of production must be a maximum of two years prior to the date of submission.

Film Africa has a programme partnership with the National Film & Television School to select the Baobab Award, which is ultimately aimed at encouraging an appreciation and knowledge of African cinema in the next generation of film programmers. With guidance from the Film Africa team, students on the MA in Film Studies, Programming & Curation watch all submitted shorts and provide our festival programmers with a long-list of 100 from which the final shortlist is then selected.

The 2020 Baobab Award jury members are:

  • Aderinsola Ajao, Journalist & Film Critic
  • Fibby Kioria, Program Director, Maisha Film Lab
  • Gakuru Gachoki, Director, Slum Film Festival

The 2020 award went to Egyptian debut film director Morad Mostafa for his film Henet Ward, which offers an emphatic look into the experiences of Sudanese refugees in Egypt. You can watch an online conversation with Morad and jury member Gakuru Gachoki here.

The jury made this statement following their awarding of Morad Mostafa’s film:

“Morad Mostafa’s HENET WARD (Egypt, fiction, 2020) stands out for its delicate portrayal of continent-based race issues framed in the context of a hen(na) party, and seen through the eyes of a child whose mother is a foreigner. In the film, young Ward accompanies her mother and henna artist Halima to the pre-wedding ceremony where both receive a cheery welcome from their Egyptian hosts. 

Through Mostafa’s steady guidance of the viewer’s gaze, we – along with Ward – witness age-old marriage customs, racism, and harassment from the film’s singular, male character – a meddlesome, racist brute with an inflated sense of his masculinity.”

Full 2020 Baobab Award jury statement

About the Director

Morad is an Egyptian Director, born in 1988 in Cairo. He studied Film directing in “Cinema Palace” in 2008 and other filmmaking workshops. He works in the filmmaking industry since 2010 as an assistant director with several directors as “Mohamed Diab”, “Hala Khalil” in Nawara, and “Sherif Elbendary” in “Ali the Goat and Ibrahim”, he directed his first short film “Ward’s Henna Party” in 2019- World Premiere at Clermont Ferrand 2020

You can see all of this year’s nominees here: 2020 Baobab Award Nominees