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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to African cinema

The African continent, which consists of over 50 separate countries, is extremely diverse and it is important to recognize this by referring to African cinemas in the plural, acknowledging distinct traditions, histories, and cultural differences. In film studies it has been common to consider African cinemas in relation to two main regions. The first, North Africa (sometimes also referred to as the Maghreb) shares a common language, Arabic, and a strong historical and cultural connection to the Middle East, which has helped to foster a tradition of Arab cinema (see north africa, film in). The second, Sub-Saharan Africa, has greater historical, linguistic, ethnic, and social diversity, and a number of distinct but overlapping film cultures have emerged partly as a consequence of the influence of, and resistance to, different colonial regimes: historically, Francophone West Africa has produced the greatest number of films and drawn the most interest within film studies, though this is now changing (see sub-saharan africa, film in). While this regional separation remains to a degree, a great many African filmmakers have been, and remain, mobile and active across regional and national boundaries; and from the 1960s a significant number of pan-African film initiatives have sought to foster collaborative projects and celebrate African cinemas. The year 1969 saw the founding of the Fédération Panafricaine des Cinéastes (FEPACI), a body committed to facilitating film distribution across Africa and to challenging existing monopolies and market dominance. In 2017, FEPACI, in co-operation with UNESCO and (the US-based non-profit) The Film Foundation, committed to restoring fifty African films with historic, artistic, and cultural significance.   ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Africa, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 13 May. 2021

Searching the online catalog

You can use the subject heading below to find resources in the online catalog. The call number range is also included. Please note: these are not the only call number ranges, but they have the majority of items. This page highlights general resources on film-making on the African continent.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)


Finding scholarly articles & journals

You can search various publications to find articles on African cinema. Our collection does not have cinema journals that cover the continent exclusively. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page.

Selected film titles

Find more African films in the library's collections.

Keeping up with the journal literature

Want an easy way to keep up with the journal literature for a national or regional cinema? And you use a mobile device? You can install the BrowZine app and create a custom Bookshelf of your favorite journal titles. Then you will get the Table of Contents (ToCs) of your favorite journals automatically delivered to you when they become available. Once you have the ToC's you can download and read the articles you want.

You can get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Don't own or use a mobile device? You can still use BrowZine! It's now available in a web version. You can get to it here. The web version works the same way as the app version. Find the journals you like, create a custom Bookshelf, get ToCs and read the articles you want.