AfroCannes beams spotlight on diversity and inclusion at Cannes Film Festival

The AfroCannes programme, held alongside the 77th Cannes Film Festival, will take place on May 16 and 17, 2024. 

AfroCannes, which aims to celebrate and promote diversity within the film industry, offers a vibrant space for filmmakers, industry veterans and enthusiasts to engage in insightful discussions, inspiring fireside chats and essential networking opportunities.

See highlights below and the full programme here.

Day One: A Celebration of Global Cinema

The first day of AfroCannes, beginning at 9 am, promises a dynamic lineup, starting with a series of intimate “One on One Conversations” featuring prominent figures like Zimbabwean tech founder, producer, and filmmaker Zoe Ramushu, and award-winning American documentary filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper. These one-on-one sessions provide a unique opportunity to gain valuable insights from business leaders who are shaping the future of cinema.

Following the conversations, a range of panel discussions delve into critical industry topics. The “Distribution & IP Politics” panel tackles the challenges and opportunities surrounding global distribution of African content, exploring the value of intellectual property (IP) creation and ownership. Industry heavyweights like Betty Sulty-Johnson (producer and distributor from France) and Mariëtte Rissenbeek (producer from the Netherlands) are expected to share their expertise alongside other panellists.

For those interested in the influence of Hip Hop culture on filmmaking, the “Rapper’s Delight Focus” offers a three-part exploration. The first part, conducted entirely in French, examines the journey of Hip Hop in France, from its grassroots beginnings to its prominence on the big and small screens. The second part, titled “From Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing to Teyana Taylor’s A Thousand and One,” explores how Hip Hop has redefined filmmaking standards, revenue models, storytelling techniques, and the rise of multifaceted entertainers. The final part of the focus features a conversation on the transformative impact of Hip Hop on the global film industry, examining its influence on empowering social activists, enriching narratives around marginalised communities, and inspiring careers across the globe.

The first day also features panels dedicated to the future of film in emerging regions. “Emerging Film Markets Focus: The Caribbeans” brings together industry players like Jamaican film commissioner Jackie Jackson and Martinique-born producer, director, and founder Joel Ayuk to discuss strategies for transforming the Caribbean film landscape into a sustainable economic force.

Animation takes centre stage with the “Animation in Africa” conversation. Michael Muthinga, founder of the Kenyan animation studio Fatboy Animation, sheds light on how African animation is ushering in a new era of storytelling, characterised by a blend of indigenous narratives and a modern twist.

Concerns around representation and inclusion in the film industry are addressed in the “Representation & Agency” panel discussion. This session explores the gap in representation on major platforms and its impact on filmmakers from emerging markets. Keith Simanton, managing editor of IMDbPro, and Cassandra Han, casting director and president of the European Board of Governors, Casting Society (CSA), are among the esteemed panellists offering their perspectives.

As filmmakers navigate the complexities of film promotion, the “Film Promotion & Festival Circuit” panel provides valuable insights. Industry veterans like Casey Baron, programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival, and Rodney Charles, actor and producer, share their expertise on navigating the international festival circuit, exploring its potential pitfalls and the importance of a well-crafted festival promotion strategy.

Day one concludes with a panel discussion on “Co-Production Focus,” featuring successful co-production journeys. Experts like Bilal Althimni (director, producer, and founder of Zone Art Films) and Djaka Souaré (actress and producer) discuss the intricacies and rewards of co-productions, offering valuable insights for filmmakers seeking to collaborate across borders.


Day Two: Diving Deeper into Global Film Narratives

AfroCannes 2024 Day 2 promises a packed schedule of events, kicking off with a series of intimate interviews with industry leaders at Salon Croisette. The day then dives into a mix of panel discussions, fireside chats, and conversations, exploring various aspects of African cinema, filmmaking collaborations, and the ever-growing influence of Hip Hop culture.  

From discussions on diversity, talent development, and international collaboration in Scandinavia to insights into producing premium action TV series in West Africa, the day promises a deep dive into the multifaceted world of filmmaking.

The day’s highlights include a hip hop conversation featuring renowned artists Dj Cut Killer, Disiz, and Thibaut, exploring the transformative effect of hip hop culture on the global film industry. 

Moreover, panels like “African Cinema at a Glance” and “Deconstructing the Narrative” delve into the future growth opportunities in African film economies and the importance of telling stories that challenge existing perceptions and historical “truths.”

With a focus on collaboration, diversity, and storytelling, AfroCannes 2024 continues to be a platform where the world comes together to celebrate the richness and diversity of African cinema.


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