Celebrating African Cinema: The Sembène-Kelani Film Prize

by Duke

The Ken Harrow ASA Film Fund and Sembène-Kelani Film Prize, recently introduced by the African Studies Association (ASA) at Rutgers University, pay tribute to the outstanding African cinema while highlighting the significant contributions of figures like Senegalese actor Ousmane Sembène and Nigerian filmmaker Tunde Kelani.

Tunde Kelani, a prominent figure in African cinema, embarked on his journey in the 1970s as a journalist, later transitioning to filmmaking. His extensive repertoire includes acclaimed works such as “Ti Oluwa Nile,” “Thunderbolt (Magun),” and “Maami,” many of which are adaptations of literary works.

The prize, as emphasized by ASA, aims to recognize remarkable African films, spanning both fiction and documentary genres, while the accompanying fund supports endeavors related to the study and discussion of African cinema.

Filmmakers or their representatives can submit nominations annually until April 30th, with the winner selected by a dedicated committee. The recipient will have the opportunity to attend the Annual ASA Meeting for a screening of their winning film, with expenses covered including airfare, accommodation, conference registration, and a monetary award.

The establishment of the fund and prize was made possible through generous donations from the Harrows and strategic partnerships with esteemed institutions like Michigan State University and Université Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis, Senegal.

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