Nigerian film exploring postpartum depression wins Film Africa 2020 Audience Award

Nigerian film exploring postpartum depression wins Film Africa 2020 Audience Award

Film Africa, London’s biggest celebration of African and African diaspora cinema presented by the Royal African Society, returned for its 9th edition from Friday 30 October to Sunday 8 November 2020. Thousands of people attended socially-distanced screenings at the BFI Southbank and Rich Mix, watched films on the BFI Player and joined our Online Watch Parties, Dine & View Screenings, panels and masterclasses. The festival showcased 45 titles from 14 African countries, including 25 UK, European and World premieres, with 50% of this year’s films being directed by women.

Winning this year’s Audience Award was For Maria Ebun Pataki, the debut feature tackling postpartum depression, from Nigerian screenwriter and film director Damilola Orimogunje. You can watch a Director’s Q&A with Damilola here.

Damilola said: “I would like to thank everyone at Film Africa, for a warm and lovely festival despite the current madness in the world. To everyone that voted, you’ve blessed us greatly with this gift. To everyone that’s been part of the project from inception till now, thank you for embarking on this crazy journey with me. I would like to dedicate this award to everyone that’s suffered postpartum depression, this film is a representation of you and I hope it becomes light to you and everyone who will find themselves experiencing it.”

In addition to the Audience Award, the festival once again presented a programme of innovative shorts in competition for the annual Baobab Award for Best Short Film, judged by a panel of industry experts. This year’s 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.

Film Africa is delighted to be partnering for the first time with Leeds International Film Festival to host two shorts programmes featuring the 10 titles nominated for this year’s Baobab Award for Best Short Film. This year’s nominated shorts will be available for viewing online on the Leeds Film Player leedsfilm.com/ until 19 November. 

Audiences can continue to enjoy the festival for a little longer with the BFI Player extending the availability of the Film Africa Collection until 30 November. There is also a wonderful selection of online Director’s Q&A’s, panel discussions and a masterclass available to watch on the Film Africa Facebook page facebook.com/FilmAfricaUK including the BSL-interpreted Here / Not Here cast and crew panel discussion in partnership with Deaffest and BSL Zone.

Film Africa 2020 has been made possible thanks to the support of the BFI Audience Fund, awarding funds from the National Lottery, and the Miles Morland Foundation.