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A Short History on African Film
During the Golden Age of Hollywood when some of the best masterpieces in motion picture history were being made, African filmmakers were not allowed to participate in making films. The era which lasted from the end of the silent period in the late 1920's to the late 1950's did not see a single film produced by an African director.
In fact, all of the early films that were composed by African filmmakers were not filmed in Africa. It was not until the 1960's and 70's that African directors broke free from their chains' and started to make works of their own.
The reason that African filmmakers were denied the right to produce their own films in the early days was because many African countries were suffering under colonialism. European countries like France and Europe strictly prohibited Africans from producing their own films for fear that they would communicate to the world the horrible oppression they were suffering under colonialism.
As we mentioned, it was not until these countries achieved independence that their writers and artists could finally speak out. Before their independence, during the colonial era, most films about Africa were produced by Western filmmakers. These directors, most if not all of whom had never ever visited Africa, often showcased Africa as a wild land inhabited by wild beasts and savages. That is one of the reasons why Africa came to be known as the Dark Continent. And even though they knew almost nothing about Africa, it did not stop them from perpetuating baseless and unfounded myths and stereotypes about the land. Some of the most watched early films about Africa where: The African Queen, Tarzan, and King Solomon's Mines.
Most African writers and directors were appalled by these early images and stereotypes that were being produced by non-Africans about Africa. This would serve as motivation for the first generation of artists who would achieve success after independence. Though few anti-colonial films were produced before independence and absolutely none were produced by African filmmakers in Africa.
At the end of colonization, everything changed. The first African motion picture to gain international acclaim was La Noire de (Black Girl). It was written and directed by Sembene, who hailed from Senegal and is still considered the father of African Cinema. Because mainly of his success, the African country of Senegal would be designated the unofficial capital country of African film making for decades.
Then in 1969, the African film festival (FESPACO) was established and gave a new forum to many talented African writers and directors. That same year the Federation of African Filmmakers came into being and created production and distribution networks that allowed African film to reach the masses.
Many of these early films dealt with subjects like colonialism and were therefore highly controversial. In fact, a number of them were banned for decades in former colonial powers like France. Nowadays many African films focus on the power and influence of tradition in African life. It is not uncommon or unheard off for an African film to address the role of women in traditional African communities and cities. But regardless of the subject been discussed, it is a huge relief to know that films about Africa are now being produced by Africans.
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To learn more info about Africa and African film by reviewing the African Side documentary film. Visit the African Side website today to watch the movie trailer.
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Frequently Asked Questions...
Is there a huge difference between African American women and African women in looks?
Does she look African American or African?
These are West African women
I'm sure there are African American women who resemble those women.