The Royal African Society is delighted to present the 9th edition of Film Africa, taking place from Friday 30 October to Sunday 8 November 2020. Showcasing 46 titles from 14 different African countries, including 25 UK, European and World premieres, this year’s festival is yet another exciting and eclectic collection of some of the best contemporary cinema stemming from Africa and its global diaspora.

This year’s selection of films mirrors the combined minds and sensibilities of three curators, based in three corners of Africa – Aseye Tamakloe in Accra, Ghana (West); Nyambura M. Waruingi in Nairobi, Kenya (East); and Katarina Hedrén in Johannesburg, South Africa. The films – feature-length and shorts, fiction and documentary – reflect a multitude of experiences, subject matters and styles, with stories unfolding on the African continent as well as in its Diaspora. 

To mitigate the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Film Africa 2020 will consist of a venue programme of 12 socially distanced screenings at the Rich Mix and BFI Southbank, and an online offering of 8 fiction and documentary features, which will be available on the BFI Player’s subscription service throughout the 10 days of the festival. This new online access will enable audiences anywhere in the UK to enjoy Film Africa for the first time from the comfort of their own homes, which is very exciting for us. 

The BFI Player offers a 14-day free trial period, which means you could watch our festival films for free and then decide whether to keep enjoying the diverse selection of cinema offered through their subscription. It is also worth highlighting that our venue screenings will have very limited capacity this year, so we strongly recommend booking in advance to secure your cinema tickets. 

Our special strands this year include BEYOND NOLLYWOOD, presented by guest curator Nadia Denton and celebrating new wave audio-visual content from Nigeria; and HERE / NOT HERE, presented in partnership with Deaffest, the UK’s leading Deaf-led Film & Arts Festival. To find out more about the main themes emerging from the main film programme, please see overleaf for our curators’ statement.

In addition to our core film programme, we will be hosting a series of virtual events – including live Director Q&As, panel debates and a masterclass on curating African cinema – which anyone in the world will be able to access and enjoy. As part of the online festival experience, we will also be hosting Watch Parties and at-home Dine & View screenings, which we hope will bring a sense of community to all those involved. Some of our festival events will be British Sign Language interpreted.

Our mission at Film Africa remains the same – to offer a platform to showcase and celebrate the best contemporary African cinema in London and the UK – and, as in previous years, we will be presenting the Baobab Award for Best Short Film and the Film Africa Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature Film to recognise and nurture emerging filmmaking talent. The Audience Award is a great way for you to get involved as a festival attendee, so make sure you cast your vote online for any fiction features you watch. 

We hope you enjoy delving into this year’s stimulating programme and look forward to welcoming you online or in person! 

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