Veteran Nigerian female filmmaker, Emem Isong-Misodi (center) creator of African Cultural Film Festival Houston. (Credit: Affricuff Facebook)

Houston, get ready to witness a vibrant celebration of African culture like never before.

The first African Cultural Film Festival (Affricuff) came to the city Oct. 26-29 at the Royal Arts African Center, with renowned Nollywood filmmaker and producer Emem Isong-Misodi at the helm.

The festival garnered significant interest, with about 40 films, including feature-length movies, short films and documentaries submitted for consideration. Thirteen films were selected and a distinguished jury decided the winners across different award categories.


Not only did the festival goers enjoy the different films, but there were also food vendors representing different African countries and opportunities to network and foster connections among people in the African diaspora.

Isong-Misodi, a prominent figure in Nollywood [Nigerian Film Industry], has had a lifelong dream to share the beauty of Nigeria’s diverse cultures with the world and her passion to preserve and promote Black culture and traditions, which she said is the driving force behind the creation of Affricuff.

“I moved to Houston from Nigeria because of the multicultural nature of the city and there are a lot of Africans who identify or easily connect with my art,” she said. “I’m a filmmaker and I want to stretch my creativity when it comes to storytelling while uplifting other talented artists.”

The festival theme, “Thinking Local, Going Global,” reflects Emem’s commitment to preserving the authenticity of African stories while making them universally appealing. She strongly believes that African filmmakers have a unique voice and cultural narrative to share with the world, and it’s clear with Nollywood’s popularity in streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video.

“We want to go global with our local content that meets the world’s best standards and promote it on an international level,” she said. “The key is to make sure wherever the content is shown, that it doesn’t lose its authenticity.”

Isong-Misodi added another feather to her filmmaking cap when she opened at the Royal Arts African Center in Nigeria] and launched the Royal Arts Academy to prepare the next generation of filmmakers with comprehensive training for directors, producers and writers. She has created a new hub with the Royal Arts Center in Houston that will provide a space for young adults to learn filmmaking skills.

“This is our inaugural festival,” she said. “Let us come together, learn from one another and support Black creatives.”

For more information

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...