Born in 1945 in Ségou, the fourth region of Mali, Cheick Oumar Sissoko is a film director and politician. He studied filmmaking at the Ecole Nationale Louis Lumière in Paris. When he returned to Mali, he made “The Garbage Boys” (1986),” a bittersweet film about children growing up and fighting obstacles in Bamako, Mali. His goal was to promote diversity and understanding among the various ethnic groups in Mali. The film was regarded by many as a significant turning point in African cinema.
Chineze Anyaene’s first feature film “IJÉ: The Journey” (2009) became one of the most popular to come out of Nigeria. The story follows a Nigerian woman who travels to the United States to aid her sister who has been charged with the murder of three men, including her own husband. The film won Best Film Feature at the Arizona Black Film Showcase in Phoenix, the Golden Ace award at the Las Vegas International Film Festival, the Silver Palm award at the Mexico International Film Festival, and Anyaene won an award for excelling in filmmaking at the Canada International Film Festival.