Coconut Head Generation

Directed by Alain Kassanda

89 minutes / Color
English; French; Yoruba / English subtitles
Closed Captioned
Release: 2023
Copyright: 2023

At Ibadan, Nigeria’s oldest university, a student association hosts a documentary screening and discussion group. In a country where dissent is frequently punished, this Thursday Film Series becomes a space for conversation and impassioned debate.

Organizers program films by the likes of John Akomfrah (Ghana/UK), Jean-Marie Teno (Mauritania), and Med Hondo (Cameroon). With the films as a starting point, the students hold compelling discussions on issues including corruption, gender roles, LGBTQ+ rights, colonialism, housing, and corruption. In between screenings, we get a taste of their daily lives at university, as they play soccer, eat instant noodles and joke around with each other.

But when nationwide protests against police brutality break out, students find themselves on the front lines of resistance — and the issues that occupied them take on a new urgency. Meanwhile, university life is far from carefree, with frequent blackouts, overcrowded conditions, and consequences for even the most benign actions to better their lives.

“Coconut head generation” is a term used by older generations to denigrate young Nigerians as brainless. As this film makes abundantly clear, they are anything but.

“Witnessing (and perhaps sharing) the determination and resilience of these wonderful young people results in a powerful viewing experience.” —International Cinephile Society

“A dialectical work, it enmeshes its audience with engaged young people, undercutting the titular insult which is often thrown their way.” —Hyperallergic

"Bound to inspire contemporaries across the world to think a little differently about Nigeria and the state of the world they currently find themselves in." —Movablefest

“A comprehensive glimpse into the multifaceted experiences and struggles faced by young people in Nigeria, prompting reflection and dialogue on societal issues… thought-provoking and memorable.” —Africa Studies Review

 “Throughout profound moments of speakers highlighting intersectional inequalities, Kassanda inserts moments of students performing recreational activities to inform audiences that they are at the earliest, precarious stages of their adult years. As the film’s scope expands, a coming-of-age celebration of youth evolves into a resistance to perpetuate the status quo.” —The Film Stage

Ways to Watch

Colleges, Universities, Government Agencies, Hospitals, and Corporations

Purchase DVD for $348.00

Available for educational streaming from:

Select Accolades

  • Grand Prize, Cinéma du Réel 2023
  • New Directors/New Films 2023
  • RIDM - Montreal International Documentary Festival 2023
  • Open City Documentary Festival 2023
  • FCAT - Tarifa-Tangier African Film Festival 2023


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