Women Filmmakers Week: Cascade Festival of African Films 2016 (USA)
The Cascade Festival of African Films (Portland, Oregon USA), which celebrates its 25th year, is held during the months of February and March, thus commemorating the U.S. celebration of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, respectively. The closing week of the festival features Women Filmmakers Week, which includes retrospectives, tributes and recently released short and feature film.
This year’s highlights include an evening of shorts created by new filmmakers as part of the Blingola Workshop in South Africa; the romantic comedy Flower Girl by Nigerian Filmmaker Michelle Bello; and the Moroccan documentary Pirates of Salé directed by Merieme Addou and Rosa Rogers.
Source: (Texts and Images): Cascade Festival of African Films
Poster: 2016 Festival Poster by Aren Moffatt
The 2016 lineup of films for Women Filmmakers Week:
Directed by Michelle Bello, 2013 , 79 min.
This romantic comedy film, set and shot in Lagos, Nigeria, tells the story of Kemi, who works in her parents’ flower shop and is dying to get married to her long-time lawyer boyfriend Umar. Umar, however, is interested only in work and getting ahead in his career. When he finally gets the promotion he’s worked so long and hard for, instead of proposing marriage to Kemi as promised, he breaks up with her. Completely distraught, Kemi steps into traffic and is hit by a car. The driver turns out to be Tunde Kulani, the famous Nollywood movie star, who agrees to help Kemi get Umar back on his knees proposing to her.
Pirates of Salé
Directed by Merieme Addou and Rosa Rogers, 2014 , 79 min.
Salé, a city on Morocco’s coast, was once famed as a pirate stronghold. Today it houses the country’s first professional circus, Cirque Shems’y, and its circus training school that caters to the country’s underprivileged youth. The film follows four teens in various stages of artistic development through their auditions, training and performance. It’s a tough journey of transformation as they learn to live independently, express themselves, challenge convention and embrace a totally alien concept: artistic freedom.
Shorts by South African Women Filmmakers
Unomalanga and the Witch
Directed by Palesa Shingle, 2014, 27min.
Newly married, Nomalanga and her husband move into a small neighborhood. Her neighbors pique her curiosity when they gossip about the recently widowed woman who lives across the street, who is rumored to have used dark powers to kill her husband. Being an outsider herself, Nomalanga visits the widow and soon finds herself drawn to the mysterious woman. Winner of the Best Short South African Film at the 2015 Durban International Film Festival.
The Fall of Ganesh
Directed by Sheetal Megan, 2015, 24min.
Amira hosts a Diwali dinner in order to mark a turning point in her life and announce her engagement to her family and friends. For an Indian woman, hosting a Diwali function is a rite of passage signifying womanhood. The dinner leads to a host of unexpected conflicts that culminate in an “explosive” confrontation.
Evelyn and Tapiwa
Directed by Samantha Nel, 2014, 20 min.
Evelyn is an old domestic worker whose strength is failing. An accident forces her out of her job and she finds herself training her replacement, Tapiwa. As Tapiwa settles in, Evelyn prepares herself for a new life outside of domestic work.
Directed by Keitumetsi Qhali, 2015, 24 min.
Rethabile, a young ambitious college girl, finds out days before her traditional Sotho coming-of-age ceremony that she is pregnant. A series of disastrous and hilarious events unfold as she tries to keep the secret from her father. The risk of partaking in the Sotho ceremony will shame her father and her family, but she must attend. Will she keep the child, or will she keep the secret long enough to realize what it takes to be a woman?
Link from the African Women in Cinema Blog