The Generation Africa Slate: Documentary films made by, about and for Africans (and also for the Global North)

Conference: The European Conference on Media, Communication & Film (EuroMedia2022)
Title: The Generation Africa Slate: Documentary films made by, about and for Africans (and also for the Global North)
Stream: Film Direction and Production
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Julia Cain, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Liani Massdorp, University of Cape Town, South Africa


Based in Cape Town, South Africa, the STEPS organization has been supporting documentary production primarily from the Global South for over 20 years. Its most recent slate, ‘Generation Africa’, consists of 25 feature-length and short documentaries connected to the theme of migration and made by African filmmakers. Several have already been accepted to some of the most prestigious African and international film festivals; many will be licensed for broadcast and/or VOD in different parts of the world; and all the films will ultimately air on STEPS’ free-to-air platform, AfriDocs, which is geo-blocked for Africa. These films showcase African perspectives, often in a very personal way: resilience and hope resonate throughout.

In my presentation, I will introduce STEPS and its Generation Africa slate and then focus on 3 of its feature-length films: No Simple Way Home (South Sudan), No U-Turn (Nigeria) and The Last Shelter (Mali). I will screen the films’ trailers to contextualize our analysis. The discussion will draw on our interviews and panel discussions with STEPS producers and filmmakers to ensure inclusion of their perspectives.

STEPS’ conscious approach to using film as a tool for social change has steadily contributed to the development of a multitude of African voices through the medium of documentary film. Its latest slate speaks not just to Global North audiences, but to intra-African audiences as well - to bring nuanced and varied African views and experiences to the screen. This presentation aims to highlight this under-researched African contribution to the creative documentary space.

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