Feature films from seven African countries – Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Uganda – have been selected for consideration in a new Oscars category called “ Best International Feature Film”, Variety reports.
The films are majorly about young Africans who are trying to overcome and fulfil their dreams in the midst of poverty, war, tradition, rituals and other forms of adversity.
Representing Morocco in this category is “Adam” by Maryam Touzani: Lubna Azabal, Nissrine Erradi and Douae Belkhaouda star in the story of an unmarried pregnant woman taken in by a widowed baker.
This Cannes 2019 Un Certain Regard title marks Morocco’s 15th submission with no previous nominations, although 2012 entry Omar Killed Me made the January Shortlist. Adam is Touzani’s feature film debut. Films Boutique has international rights.
Uganda has selected “Kony: Order From Above” by T. Steve Ayeny, as its first-ever Oscars contender. Inspired by true events, the film tells the story of two teenagers who fall in love amid the violent insurgency of rebel leader Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.
Kenya picked “Subira” by Indian-born, Nairobi-based filmmaker Ravneet Chadha, is a coming-of-age story about a young Muslim woman who defies tradition and gender stereotypes to pursue her dream of swimming in the ocean.
Ethiopia has chosen Jan Philipp Weyl’s “Running Against the Wind”, the story of two brothers whose lives take very different paths when they decide to follow their dreams – one to become an Olympic runner, the other a photographer. It features a cameo by gold medal-winning distance runner Haile Gebrselassie.
South Africa has selected “Knuckle City”:A slice of street life in South Africa’s Mdantsane township, known as the boxing mecca ofSouth Africa, Knuckle City follows the journey of Dudu Nyakama (Bongile Mantsai), a down and out ageing boxer as he struggles to attain the one fight that he believes will uplift his fractured family.
Contending that the underbelly of the boxing world is rife with criminality, Dudu unwittingly enlists the help of his reckless but resourceful, gangster brother who’s coming out of jail. Haunted by the ghost of their father, Dudu soon finds that the fight at home is far more challenging than any opponent he can possibly face in the ring.
Algeria’s “Papicha” by Mounia Meddour: 1990s. Nedjma, an 18-year-old student passionate about fashion design, refuses to let the tragic events of the Algerian Civil War stop her from having a normal life and going out at night with her friend Wassila. As the social climate becomes more conservative, she rejects the new bans introduced by the radicals and decides to fight for her freedom and independence by putting on a fashion show.
Tunisia’s “Dear Son” by Mohamed Ben Attia follows a Tunisian couple as they discover that their son has left to join ISIS in Syria. The film stars Mohamed Dhrif, Mouna Mejri, and Imen Cherif. This is Tunisia’s sixth submission with no previous nominations. Attia’s Hedi won the best first feature award at the 2016 Berlinale and was selected to compete for the Golden Bear. Luxbox has worldwide sales.