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Out of Africa: How Netflix’s Ambitions Could Change the Continent’s Cinema

In many parts of Africa, making a film can be a challenge due to under-developed infrastructure. Transportation hurdles, unreliable electricity, and a lack of experienced workers contribute to daunting prospects for filmmaking in the continent’s more remote locales. Nevertheless, the world is clamoring for African stories and with Netflix and others commissioning new content, the prospects for African film are looking bright. As difficult as conditions can be, the work of a new crop of directors including Mosese, Diop, Wauri Kahiu, Apolline Traoré and Rungano Nyoni is changing the image of the continent. Diop’s Atlantics tells the migrant story but reimagines it as an otherworldly horror; Traoré’s Moi Zaphira and Frontières are bracing female-focused stories about everyday life, while Nyoni has explored witchcraft and western biases surrounding the burqa. While the work of celebrated African film-makers such as Ousmane Sembène, Djibril Diop Mambéty and Souleymane Cissé was toasted at European festivals, few of the earlier directors had the potential to reach such a wide audience.