Despite recent technological advances that have reduced film production costs, a quick survey of the available scholarship indicates that very few studies are devoted to African documentary cinema as a genre in its own right. Over the years, for most film critics and even the general public, there is a de facto, albeit facile and simplistic, equation made between “African cinema” and “fictional cinema,” which consigns documentary filmmaking to the backwaters of “mainstream” academic discourse. It is within this context that this project considers the current development of the documentary genre in Africa. Given that critical attention has almost exclusively focused on fictional films, it examines the historical, political, sociological, economic and cultural dynamics that have facilitated the rise of documentary films, a genre formerly derived from anthropological discourses. The project focusses mostly on sub-Saharan Africa and seeks to assess the emergence of documentary filmmakers from different generations whose training, activities and views on social, political and environmental issues demonstrate a certain sophistication as well as discursive, aesthetic and ethical coherence.
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