UNESCO Highlights African Cinema at the 75th Cannes Film Festival

African Film Poster


Release Date

Monday, May 16, 2022


UNESCO will organize a major round-table to promote the African film industry on 24 May in Cannes, on the occasion of the 75th edition of the International Film Festival. The event will highlight the great development potential of the African cinema industry and UNESCO’s initiatives to support it.

“Cinema is exceptionally diverse and creative on the African continent, with a new generation of highly committed and talented professionals. If national reforms are emerging to support this sector, they must be reinforced by regional and international commitments. African cinema needs international cooperation to be realized and developed: this is the call we will make in Cannes with Director-General Audrey Azoulay,” said Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture.

Moderated by journalist Hortense Assaga, the round-table will offer an opportunity for international actors to highlight the African film industry and explore key challenges and concrete initiatives that contribute to addressing them, especially those designed for youth and for the preservation of African Film heritage.

The event will be opened by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.

Speakers scheduled to take part:

  • Emira Ben Saad, General Coordinator of the SENTOO Project, National Center for Cinema and Image (CNCI), Tunisia
  • Cecilia Cenciarelli, General Coordinator of the African Film Heritage Project, The Film Foundation of Martin Scorsese
  • Naomi Kawase, Film Director and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for cultural and creative industries
  • Laza, Film Director and President of the Pan‑African Alliance of Screenwriters and Directors (APASER)
  • Alex Moussa Sawadogo, Delegate General of the Pan African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO)

The round-table will notably be  informed by UNESCO’s recent report, The Film Industry in Africa: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Growth, a ground breaking analysis of data on the film and audiovisual industries of 54 African countries. The report argues that strategic investments and policy reforms could help the African film industry develop rapidly: with benefits for local cultural life, for the promotion of the continent's rich culture worldwide and for the economy. The publication shows that the African film industry could potentially quadruple the number of jobs in the sector from 5 million people to 20 million.

Notable initiatives include the partnership between UNESCO and Netflix, Reinvented African folk tales, the UNESCO/Nara residency for young African female filmmakers, supervised by internationally acclaimed film director Naomi Kawase, and the African Film Heritage Project (AFHP), a joint initiative between the Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, Cineteca di Bologna, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) and UNESCO.

The event is organized as part of UNESCO’s enduring commitment to promoting African cinema through events such as the Pan African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO) in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), the Carthage film festival (Tunisia) and the Luxor African Film Festival (Egypt). It is organized with the support of the Government of the People's Republic of China.


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