The Sundance Film Festival over many years has turned out to be one of the most influential festival events for independent filmmaking and the lineup for the 2019 film festival has a lot of surprises —
with a few African-directed movies making the cut, an unprecedented number of films by women, people of colour and the LGBTQIA+ across different categories.

Out of 4,018 feature-length submissions, 112 have been selected to premiere at the festival representing 33 countries, and 4 of them we’ve identified as African-descent.

These are the movies that have us particularly excited.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind – Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s directorial debutThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, tells the story of a thirteen year old boy in Malawi who invents an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Maxwell Simba, Lily Banda, Noma Dumezweni, and Aissa Maiga.

Clemency – Chinonye Chukwu

Chinonye Chukwu

Nigerian-born and Alaskan-raised filmmaker, Chinonye Chukwu has been hard at work for several years on her follow-up to her 2012 feature debut “alaskaLand,” and this sensitive (and seemingly harrowing) prison drama is poised to be the project that makes her a familiar name in the indie film world.

The story of a female prison warden who is forced to confront her own dark past when she strikes up a unique friendship with a male prisoner she’s scheduled to execute.

The movie stars Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Richard Schiff, Wendell Pierce, Richard Gunn and Danielle Brooks.

The Last Tree – Shola Amoo

Shola Amoo

The movie follows Femi, a British boy of Nigerian heritage who, after a happy childhood in rural Lincolnshire, moves to inner London to live with his mum. Struggling with the unfamiliar culture and values of his new environment, teenage Femi has to figure out which path to adulthood he wants to take.

The cast includes Sam Adewunmi, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Tai Golding.

Luce – Julius Onah

Julius Onah

Julius Onah’s third feature boasts an impressive cast that includes Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, and Tim Roth, with relative newcomer Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“It Comes at Night”) starring as the title character – a talented athlete and top student whose idealized image is challenged by one of his teachers when his unsettling views on political violence come to light.