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6 Afrofuturism Films You Need to See

By L.G. Parker


Afrofuturism has been described as, ”the intersection between black culture, technology, liberation and the imagination, with some mysticism thrown in, too. It can be expressed through film; it can be expressed through art, literature and music. It’s a way of bridging the future and the past and essentially helping to reimagine the experience of people of color.” The termed was coined by Mary Dery in his essay, Black to the Future and encompasses artists from Sun Ra to Janelle Monae. The following films hold true to the Afrofuturist aesthetic.

1. An Oversimplification of Her Beauty

Director Terence Nance stars in this 2012 film in which he plays the role of a character who was stood up by a beautiful woman and then makes a film about her beauty and his pondering about the nature of feelings and specific moments and shows it to her. Debuted at this 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the highly celebrated film is available online.

2. Pumzi

Kenyan science-fiction writer and director Wanuri Kahiu’s 2009 short-film film establishes a post-apocalyptic world void of water, thereby absent of life aboveground. Kahiu’s film follows a scientist’s exploration of the germinating seeds beyond Nairobi culture. It was screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival as a part of the New African Cinema program.

3. Robots of Brixton

Brixton has become the home of London’s robot workforce in this film by Kibwe Taveres.

4. Afronauts

On July 16, 1969, America prepares to launch Apollo 11. Frances Bodomo’s 2014 short film depicts what was happening thousands of miles away, where the Zambia Space Academy hopes to beat America to the moon. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

5. New Siren

Wangechi Mutu’s 2014 short film infuses pornographic imagery, science, and ancient traditions to depict what true beauty, which she defines as being “complicated, like a flame that is both dangerous and interesting.” One of the leading figures in contemporary African art, Mutu’s film responds to and engages with both the policing of female bodies and demonization of Africa.

6. Crumbs

Described by its creators as a post apocalyptic surreal love story in Ethiopia, the sixty-nine minute film made its world premier at the 2009 International Film Festival in Rotterdam

Photo: Afronauts