While only two African films made the shortlist for Best International Feature Film for this year’s Oscars, there were a number of releases that should have been contenders. For this category, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences accepts film submissions that are over 40 minutes long, made outside of the US, and are more than 50% in a language other than English. As recognition of a banner year for African film, 11 countries’ entries qualified, and all deserve a look. Algeria had submitted its entry, Heliopolis earlier but it was curiously missing. Sources report that the country voluntarily withdrew its submission but the reason is yet to be made clear. Among the countries, Sudan and Lesotho were first-time participants in the process. Although Tunisia and Ivory Coast ultimately outcompeted the rest, the high quality of submissions this year is a reflection of the filmmaking talent on the continent despite severe structural limitations.
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