William urged to ‘Netflix and chill’ during visit to African film festival

The Prince of Wales was advised he should “Netflix and chill” as he took a trip to the cinema to learn about the Royal African Society’s film festival.

William attended The Garden Cinema in central London on Wednesday afternoon where he heard that not enough black stories are being told on screen.

The heir to the throne sat in the audience for a Q&A session during the event which aims to give young film students of African heritage an opportunity to learn more about the industry, network with others and learn from international professionals.

Prince of Wales attends Film Africa
The Prince of Wales speaks with young film students at Film Africa (Tim P Whitty/PA)

William, who is patron of the Royal African Society, also joined workshop groups and heard about the experiences of students.

When he expressed interest in watching more African films, he was advised he could “Netflix and chill” – a somewhat risque slang term – with a new movie being released on the streaming platform later this week.

EbonyLife TV and EbonyLife Films founder Mo Abudu spoke to William in one of the small discussion groups.

She suggested he watch The King’s Horseman, a film made by her company, which is due to be released on Netflix on Friday.

It is a cinematic adaptation of a play which tells the story of a tradition in Nigeria which was supposed to see a king’s horseman sacrifice himself so he could serve his deceased ruler in the afterlife.

Of her conversation with William, Ms Abudu told the PA news agency: “He said he hasn’t watched a lot of African films but that he would like to and that he’s going to watch The King’s Horseman.

“I’m excited that I’ve been able to tell the prince about my film today.”

Asked what William’s reaction was, she said: “I said you must ‘Netflix and chill’ and he nodded.”

Netflix’s royal drama The Crown has been back in the headlines as the new series out later this month faced criticism from several quarters.

Both Dame Judi Dench and Sir John Major have criticised reported storylines in the upcoming series, with screen veteran Dame Judi saying the drama has begun to verge on “crude sensationalism”.

Prince of Wales attends Film Africa
The Prince of Wales and Arunma Oteh arrive in the screening room (Tim P Whitby/PA)

During Wednesday’s cinema engagement, William listened intently as students and experts told of their experiences in the film industry.

During the Q&A – which also featured Ghanaian-American writer and actor Nana Mensah and costume and fashion designer Colleen Morris-Glennon, Ms Abudu told those gathered in the screening room that “black storytelling is key”.

She said: “I think it doesn’t matter what part of the world we come from, you can be from Africa, you can be American, you can be black British, you can be from the Caribbean.

“I just think that there’s something about being a global black person and telling stories that reflect the black consciousness that we need to keep doing.”

She added: “Yes, our focus is to tell black stories because there aren’t enough black stories being told. So it’s not about ‘oh, is it reverse racism?’ No, it’s not. It’s actually about diversity.”

She said there is also “great African literature” which should be explored on screen.

Prince of Wales attends Film Africa
From left, Colleen Morris, Nana Mensah, Mo Abudu and Naomi Rhodes speak on stage during the Q&A (Tim P Whitty/PA)

She told her audience: “We’ve had all the Jane Austen novels, we’ve had so many from the West. Let’s do some fresh things, let’s do some great storytelling.”

Established in 2011, Film Africa showcases the best African cinema from across the continent and diaspora in the UK.

This year’s festival features 48 films from 16 countries, in seven venues – including 22 UK, Europe and world premieres.

Other festival events include talks and discussions, professional workshops and masterclasses, school screenings and family activities for the younger generation.

William’s cinema trip followed a symposium at St James’s Palace earlier on Wednesday bringing together this year’s Tusk Conservation Awards winners, alumni from previous awards and conservation experts.

William attended the Tusk awards on Tuesday evening.