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Why Pavillon Afriques Matter

Pavillon Afriques is the biggest event for Africans and Africans of the diaspora.

BY Agnes Amondi

Apr 27, 2023, 03:15 PM

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Film has come a long way for Africans and Africans in the diaspora. For the longest time, we haven't had adequate representation on the global stage. There’s been a lack of structure and filmmakers were under-resourced. However, this is changing.

In recent years, there has been a rise of Black actors on the global stage. Marvel Studios made a huge statement with the release of Black Panther which is their first with a predominantly Black cast. Now, the audience has come to expect the same from other studios.

On the continent, filmmakers are landing contracts with global streaming services and our films are shown on these platforms. From Single Kiasi, Nairobi Half-Life to Disconnect, things are moving in the right direction.

Across the continent, similar developments are taking shape. Different channels are promoting local content and now we don’t have to look to the West to tell our narratives. 

As this happens, there are several platforms that have been established to further the course. Let’s talk about Pavillon Afriques, which is one such platform.

As part of our partnership with the event, we have been talking to industry stakeholders about their engagement with the Pavillon Afriques and its impact on the industry. This is what they had to say.

We Have A Home.

The Cannes Film Festival will hold its 76th edition this year while Pavillon Afriques its 4th. This shows that for about 70 editions of Cannes, we didn’t have a place at the biggest film festival in the world. 

All our interviewees expressed this and though they recognised the importance of Cannes, they yearned for something they could resonate with which is why they describe it as ‘a home’. 

It’s designed for us and we get to showcase, build and celebrate our own products.

We Have A Place To Go.

According to some of my interviewees, most countries and regions outside Africa and its diaspora had a place to go to during the festival. Before Pavillon Afriques came along, they were left wandering around as they lacked a spot. However, things changed in 2019 and now, they can always look forward to being in Cannes courtesy of Pavillon Afriques

Networking Opportunities.

The one phrase you will hear when filmmakers talk about Cannes is that “in May, the film industry converges at Cannes in May”.

If you are not a keen follower of the industry, you have still heard of Cannes Film Festival and this is the effect that Pavillon Afriques is having and creating. 

Filmmakers from the continent get access to meet other filmmakers, producers, directors and investors amongst other parties involved in the industry that they would otherwise not have access to. 

Also, as Pavillon Afriques is an annual event, filmmakers are in a position to forge lasting networks as they know that they can always meet at the event.

Funding Of Films.

One of the biggest challenges that our interviewees talked about is funding which is one of the things that Pavillon Afriques is addressing. This is an opportunity for them to showcase their work and also pitch their projects to potential investors. 

Owning Our Narrative.

This is one of the most important aspects of the event. It encourages filmmakers from Africa and its descendants to tell their own stories and provides a global platform to amplify them. 

It is a celebration of our culture and reinforces our contribution to the industry. It is our way of asserting ourselves in the world and showing a side that might have not been seen before or shedding light on things that might have been portrayed in a negative way.