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Africa's Oscar-shortlisted films show an industry spreading across borders

   March 12, 2021 1:07 AM
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by Aisha Salaudeen, CNN

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Africa's Oscar Academy Awards
 
(CNN)It's an exciting time for filmmakers and movie fans around the world: Academy Awards season is here. And with several African films up for official nominations, people across the continent will be paying close attention when those nominations are announced on Monday.

"My Octopus Teacher," a South African documentary about a man who formed an unlikely bond with an octopus, is on the shortlist for the Documentary Feature category, while "The Man Who Sold His Skin" -- a Tunisian film about a Syrian man whose body is used by an artist as a canvas -- is up for a nomination in the International Feature category.

As films from the continent continue to gain international recognition, Philippe LacĂ´te, Ivorian director of the 2020 film "Night of the Kings" (also on the shortlist for an International Feature Oscar nomination) says it is important for Africans to create movies that include their vision of the world.

His film explores themes across the physical world and the mythical one. Last year, he told CNN in an interview that it was key to show the world these themes because they are a part of Ivory Coast's culture. "Today, Ivory Coast is on the map of international cinema," he said. "It's important for me -- even if it's one film. We don't want to be outside this map." Meanwhile, Nigeria's film industry, Nollywood, will have to wait at least another year for its first chance at Oscar glory. The country, which has the largest film industry in Africa -- and the second largest in the world -- was disqualified in 2019 for failing to meet language requirements.

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