African Film at the Toronto Film Festival

This story first appeared in The Sunday Times.
The line of people wrapped around the building and carried on across the street. It wasn’t for Arrival, the new science-fiction offering sure to have Academy Award members talking about Amy Adams for months to come. Nor was it for the latest Ryan Gosling-Emma Stone onscreen pairing, La La Land, that’s had critics swooning. For sure, these films drummed up their share of attention at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), but this particular bulging line, filled with people dressed in their finest, was for The Wedding Party — a rom-com set in Lagos.
This year’s festival highlighted Nigeria’s film industry, the second largest in the world. For the past seven years the festival has also selected a city to showcase filmmakers living and working there and chose an African city for the first time.
Eight Nigerian films were screened and two Nigerian actors selected as TIFF International Rising Stars, opportunities usually reserved for Canadians.
South Africa also got a look-in. Akin Omotoso, born in Ibadan, Nigeria, but raised in Joburg, presented his movie Vaya, a drama set in Joburg.
Omotoso considers South Africa his home. “It’s the place I’ve lived the most. And it’s the place where I pay taxes,” he said. “To fly the flag for South Africa feels great.”
It took Omotoso eight years to make Vaya, and during that time he worked on other films. Among these were the romantic comedy Tell Me Sweet Something and Man on Ground, a drama that screened at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival.
“His films are global,” says the festival’s artistic director Cameron Bailey. “He’s truly a vanguard.”
Omotoso’s feature films have picked up attention at festivals around the world. “I think it’s important to be able to tell multiple stories, and multiple stories about Joburg. The same Joburg has the characters that are in Man on Ground, and it has the characters that are in Tell Me Sweet Something, and the ones in Vaya. So a kaleidoscope of stories is quite important.”
He knows the importance of showing films at a festival considered to be a must-do for any serious filmmaker.
“To have it show at Toronto, one of the biggest film festivals in the world, one of the best places to premiere your film, it’s like Christmas,” he says. “These are audiences that really appreciate film.”
It’s a sentiment many other South African filmmakers who have shown their work at TIFF have expressed.
“Having Lagos selected for the City-to- City [programme] is great because it puts the focus not only on the Nigerian film industry, but on Africa in general,” says Omotoso. “Toronto is the kind of place that allows you to have the conversations that people should be having. And not just about Nigeria, but about other subjects too.”
This year’s festival takes place during a time of intense introspection within Hollywood, following the #OscarsSoWhite furore earlier this year, and the protests over the deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers in the US.
Haitian director Raoul Peck, who made the well-received 2000 political thriller Lumumba, about the Congolese leader, brought his new film to TIFF. I Am Not Your Negro is based on the writings of James Baldwin and is about the struggle of black Americans.
The line-up has also played into questions about race and equality in the film industry. “We’re seeing more African-American stories,” says Omotoso.
The festival opened with a remake of The Magnificent Seven, starring a multi- racial cast including Denzel Washington and Byung-hun Lee — almost unheard of for a Western.
Films at the festival dealing with interracial marriage were Loving, set in ’60s Virginia, and A United Kingdom about the marriage between Botswana’s first president and a white British woman. David Oyelowo, the British actor who won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr in the 2014 movie Selma, plays Seretse Khama.
A number of movies that debuted at TIFF are sure to have appeal in Africa, from the gay African-American coming- of-age-story Moonlight, to Queen of Katwe, about a young woman chess prodigy from Uganda.
As a sidebar to the festival, footage from the forthcoming movie Hidden Figures, with Taraji P Henson and Octavia Spencer, about a group of black women scientists at Nasa, generated much excitement.
“There’s a whole new mix of films and people that involves race and, equally important, I think there’s an appetite for them,” said Bailey.


  1. Its like you read my thoughts! You seem to understand so much about this, such as you wrote the
    e-book in it or something. I feel that you simply could do with a few p.c.

    to force the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back. asmr 0mniartist

  2. I have read several excellent stuff here. Definitely
    worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you place to make this
    kind of great informative website. 0mniartist asmr

  3. What’s up to all, the contents existing at this website are genuinely amazing for people
    knowledge, well, keep up the nice work fellows. 0mniartist asmr

  4. I’m extremely inspired together with your writing talents and also with the layout on your weblog.

    Is this a paid topic or did you customize it your self?
    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see
    a nice blog like this one today.. asmr 0mniartist

  5. If some one desires expert view about blogging after that i advise him/her to go to see this
    weblog, Keep up the nice job. asmr 0mniartist

  6. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but good
    topic. I needs to spend some time learning more
    or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  7. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your
    blog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed
    account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement
    you access consistently fast.

  8. This is a great tip particularly to those
    new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information… Thanks for
    sharing this one. A must read article!

  9. After exploring a number of the articles on your
    web page, I honestly like your way of blogging. I saved it to my bookmark webpage list and will
    be checking back in the near future. Please check out my website as well and tell me how you feel.

  10. Wonderful work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the internet.

    Disgrace on the seek engines for not positioning this publish upper!
    Come on over and discuss with my web site . Thanks =)

  11. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice,
    keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later on. Many

  12. scoliosis
    Hi I am so thrilled I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was researching on Askjeeve for something else,
    Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a
    lot for a marvelous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the
    theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I have
    book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more,
    Please do keep up the awesome b. scoliosis

  13. scoliosis
    Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you really recognise what you’re talking
    approximately! Bookmarked. Please additionally visit my website =).
    We can have a hyperlink trade agreement between us scoliosis

  14. What’s up all, here every one is sharing these kinds of familiarity, therefore it’s good to read this website,
    and I used to pay a visit this web site all the time.

  15. First of all I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not
    mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your head
    prior to writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting
    my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like
    the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying to figure out how
    to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Many thanks!

  16. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wonderful info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  17. An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do think that you should publish more on this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but usually folks don’t
    discuss these subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!

  18. It’s the best time to make some plans for the longer term and it
    is time to be happy. I have read this publish and if I
    could I want to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions.
    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to learn even more issues about it!

  19. It is not my first time to pay a visit this site, i am browsing this website dailly and get fastidious information from here everyday.

  20. It is perfect time to make a few plans for the longer term and it is time
    to be happy. I’ve learn this submit and if I may just
    I desire to suggest you few attention-grabbing issues
    or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles regarding this article.
    I want to read even more things about it!

  21. We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a
    new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with helpful information to
    work on. You have done a formidable activity and our entire neighborhood shall be
    grateful to you.

  22. Ahaa, its nice conversation on the topic of this piece of writing at this
    place at this webpage, I have read all that, so now me also commenting at this place.

  23. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Finding the time and actual
    effort to produce a great article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

  24. Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine but when opening
    in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, very good blog!

  25. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your blog.
    It appears as if some of the text on your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please
    provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too?

    This may be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Appreciate it

  26. Hello! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a team of volunteers and starting a new
    initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done
    a wonderful job!

  27. That is very interesting, You’re an excessively
    skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to in quest of extra
    of your fantastic post. Additionally, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

  28. Hi all, here every one is sharing such knowledge, so it’s fastidious to read this web site,
    and I used to pay a visit this webpage everyday.

  29. Холостячка 2 сезон Смотреть онлайн шоу Холостячка 2 сезон на СТБ.
    Пост шоу можно смотреть тут. Холостячка стб 2 сезон 1-2 серия

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.