Ask the average American, European or Asian person to give you African film titles (Out of Africa does not apply), and you're lucky if they can name just one. African films are not well-known outside of Africa, but there is a legitimate and growing interest around the world for good quality African audiovisual content.
Côte Ouest Audiovisuel, with M-Net, CFI, Nollywood WW, A24 Media and Thema are some of the few entities that want to disseminate African audiovisual content worldwide.
Côte Ouest catalogue
Located in West Africa (Abidjan), Côte Ouest Audiovisuel has become a leading TV programmes' distributor. It currently holds a catalogue of thousands of hours worth of content for TV stations. This includes several Hollywood films, the whole 'James Bond' collection, Bollywoods, Nollywoods, and Telenovelas. But Côte Ouest also has rights to distribute a rich and rare catalogue of African films.
Says Leticia N'Cho, director of sales and marketing at Côte Ouest Audiovisuel: "Our ambition is to give African productions its rightful place on the international scene."
The distributor's African catalogue is partly made of M-Net's African Film Library. The collection includes masterpieces from all over Africa. M-Net has entrusted Côte Ouest in marketing this collection, on the African continent for some films and worldwide for other productions.
"M-Net initially spent years of research and millions of dollars to buy African films' distribution rights. Through this collection, we hold several hundred titles including the finest and priced African cinema," says Bernard Azria, director of Côte Ouest Audiovisuel.
Among the collection are:
- Le 11ème Commandement (The 11th Commandment from Mama Keita, Guinea Bissau, 1997),
- A la recherche du mari de ma femme (Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi, Morocco),
- Ablakon (Roger Gnoan M'Bala, Ivory Coast, 1986: FESPACO - Best Actor award),
- Alexandrie encore et toujours (Alexandria again and forever, Youssef Chahine, Egypt, 1997: Cannes Film Festival - "Prix de Cinquantième", 1979: Berlin Film Festival - Special Jury Prize, 1970: Carthage Film Festival - Grand Price/Tanit d'Or),
- Alexandrie pourquoi? (Alexandria why?, Youssef Chahine, Egypt, 1979: Silver Bear in Berlin and 1979: Special Prize, International Film Festival of Berlin),
- Almodou (Amadou Thior, Almodou, Senegal, 2001 Plan International Award at FESPACO),
- Alyam Alyam (Ô les jours, Ahmed El Maânouni, Morocco) and more.
Several English-speaking films and series from Africa were also dubbed into French by Côte Ouest for distribution in Francophone Africa and beyond. These include popular series; 'Jacob's Cross', which was provided to Canal Horizons as well as to France Television for its cable channel France O. Côte Ouest also distributes 'Tinsel' (from Nigeria), 'L'histoire d'une vie' (The Story of a Life, 2010, Ivory Coast), Cote Ouest's own co-production and 'Change' (originally from Kenya) TV series.
Côte Ouest is currently preparing the dubbing of 'Laduma' (League of Glory from SA), and 'Doctor's Quarters' (Nigeria). The distributor also markets M-Net's Face of Africa, a popular model talent search reality show.
N'Cho concluded: "As a TV channel, if I were to pick some fantastic programs we have in our catalogue, I would consider 'Laduma' and 'Doctor's Quarters' for the series and the following movies: Lumumba, Karmen Gei, Tasuma, Ms. Brouette and Faro. There are plenty more available."