New Initiative Aims to Bolster Africa’s Documentary Film Community — Exclusive

IndieWire | 12/7/2019 | Staff
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A new effort is underway to build an authentic documentary film culture on the African continent, with the long-term objective of strengthening African presence in the documentary marketplace.

The newly launched DOC-A — also known as Documentary Africa — has been spearheaded by Comorian Executive Director Mohamed Saïd Ouma, an active member of FEPACI (the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers) and The African Heritage Project, which aims to restore 50 African films of major historic, cultural and artistic significance.

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“The African documentary ecosystem is very fragile as it stands, so by focusing on partnership and collaboration, we aim at solidifying existing structures,” Ouma said.

Creating documentaries on the African continent remains a challenge for the same reasons that face narrative filmmaking in the region: a lack of a sustained ecosystem. But with challenges come opportunities — in this case, the chance to build a documentary tradition and legacy for future filmmakers. In the past decade, the continent has seen an increase in internet access and the availability of new technologies that have helped democratize filmmaking. Nevertheless, there are scant few financing and distribution networks for African cinema. DOC-A aims to fill that gap.

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