« The Woman King » headlined the African American Film Critics Association’s annual list of the top 10 films of the year, The film, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, is a 2022 African American historical epic film about the Agojie, the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries. Set in the 1820s, the film stars Viola Davis as a general who trains the next generation of warriors to fight their enemies.
Talking about a legendary all-woman African army in the 1800s, the Amazons of Dahomey. It took place in what is today the Republic of Benin in west Africa but It wasn’t filmed in Benin, yet in South Africa, in the KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces using locations that look like west Africa.
“The best films of this year prove that diverse stories – the true and the fantastical – are not only important to the culture but are equally important to the movie-making business,” said AAFCA president and co-founder Gil Robertson. “Black films which make an impact on our minds and hearts are also making a sizable impact at the box office. Our top film, The Woman King bridges the gap between telling important, heartfelt stories, and providing an entertaining experience for movie-going audiences. These true tales of black empowerment and accomplishment, such as Emancipation, Devotion and Sidney, as well as fantastical tales such as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Wendell & Wild invite us to experience under-appreciated pieces of history along with our own imaginings.”
The storyline follows an African kingdom with a new king in 1823 that possess the only female army in Africa. Academy Award winner Viola Davis plays the leader of the female army who received the Chairman’s Award by The Palm Springs International Film Awards, recognizing her work as an actress and producer for The Woman King. “Whether as an actress or producer, Viola Davis brings powerful stories to the screen. In The Woman King, Davis continues to prove that she is a force of nature in this groundbreaking performance about the leader of the Agojie, a unit of all-female warriors,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “It is our honor to present the Chairman’s Award to Viola Davis celebrating her work as both an actress and producer.”
The AAFCA will announce the winners of its competitive awards, honouring film achievements in 15 categories, on January 16, 2023. There will be a face-to-face celebration of this year’s winners on March 1 in Los Angeles.