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African films going beyond stereotypes on Netflix

The people behind two African films premiering on Netflix this month are trying to push beyond the stereotypes of the continent often played out in Hollywood, showing there's an appetite for African characters with more substance...

... and avoid the simplistic portrayals viewers in Africa often resent.

“Poacher" is the first Kenyan film released on Netflix and uses drama instead of documentary to show the lives of everyday people involved in poaching.

The films star Brian Ogola hopes that availability online will bring more attention to the issue of poaching.

“It is also a bit nerve-raking seeing as Netflix is the biggest platform for online streaming content. So we are just looking forward to seeing how people will respond to it, and hopefully we will take a few more steps towards actualizing the whole vision of poacher."

The journey to Netflix wasn't an easy one, as the films producer and another of its stars Davina Leonard explained.

"So this has really been a process for us, it took about two years from initial writing to actually starting shooting. And then another two years to get it onto Netflix. Raising money, we begged, borrowed and almost stole. We went the crowdfunder route."

The other movie, Òlòtūré, joins a host of Nigerian films on the platform, and tells the gritty story of impoverished sex workers lured into being trafficked overseas.

It's a big problem in Nigeria. Human Rights Watch ranks Nigeria a top origin country of trafficking victims in Europe and elsewhere.

Temidayo Makanjuola co-produced the film and is pleased to see stories like this being given a platform to be heard.

"I feel like people need to see how these things happen so that we can help do something about it, so that we can help to stop it, whether it is trying to help the young women."

Hs fellow producer James Amuta isn't concerned if the subject matters are difficult for people to watch.

"It is a very vicious world and I am very happy that this conversation has started so that the government will sit up to their responsibility, so that the agencies that are taxed with fighting human trafficking in Nigeria will you know, maybe clamour for more funding or sit up and do better."

It's a dark film. In one disturbing scene, a businessman and philanthropist drugs and rapes an undercover journalist at a party and in another sex-workers endure a voodoo initiation to scare them into loyalty.

Netflix has nearly 193 million subscribers globally and has taken steps to screen more content produced in Africa. In June it released romantic comedy "Cook Off," Zimbabwe's first offering on the streaming service.