The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.

19 August 2018

IIFF 2018 – International Images Film Festival for Women (Harare) : Aya, Moufida Fedhila, Tunisia

IIFF 2018

International Images Film Festival
for Women

Aya (2018)
Moufida Fedhila


Seven-year-old Aya lives with her Salafist parents, Mariem and Youssef. For fear of being banished by his Salafist community, Youssef is obliged to impose the wearing of Niqab on his wife. One day, Aya commits an act that will disrupt forever the fate of her family.


Moufida Fedhila, who was born in Tunisia, lives and works between Paris and Tunis, hence, creating a passage between cultures and territories. She navigates within a limitless space in which she questions, pushes, journeys.

She graduated from the European School of Art of Brittany and studied philosophy at the University of Sorbonne and theater at the University of Caen before pursuing film directing in Paris.

18 August 2018

International Images Film Festival for Women - Harare, Zimbabwe

FESTIVAL DATES: August 24th to 31st, 2018 in Harare

IIFF is an internationally recognized festival held to inspire positive images of women, interrogate, debate and celebrate the world of women, as well as the communities that women live in through films that exhibit gender sensitive narratives.

IIFF was founded in 2002 by Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe in response to the proliferation of beauty contests at that time. Each year, a selection of films is featured to interrogate, debate and celebrate the resilience of women against many odds and nevertheless their contribution to society and history.

The idea of a woman's film festival came to mind because gender is really one of the components of film that we need to look into very closely to see how films are affecting our world, and affecting our behaviour, especially our behaviour in gendered relationships.--Tsitsi Dangarembga, Festival Founder.


A Beautiful Woman, Seyed Sajad Moosavi, Iran 
A Serenade for Fanny, Monique Marmodée, Germany, 2018
Accra Power,  Sandra Krampelhuber & Andrea Verena Strasser, Austria, 2017
Because Of The War, Toni Shapiro-Phim, USA, 2018
Bhizautaure Raarthur, Tafadzwa Chiiriga, Zimbabwe, 2018
Burkinabé Rising, Iara Lee, Brazil, 2017
Chicks on Boards, Dörthe Eickelberg, Germany, 2018
Outreach Film: Damaru, Agbor Obed Agbor, Cameroon, 2014
Outreach Film: E Do (Enough), Nkanya Nkwai, Cameroon, 2016
Elevate, Hamida Issa, Qatar, 2017
Growing Up, Clara Martínez-Lázaro, Spain, 2018
H'na Barra (Us, Outside), Bahïa Bencheikh-El-Fegoun, Meriem Achour Bouakkaz, Algeria, 2014
Leaking Blue (Azul vazante), Julia Alquéres, Brazil, 2017
Leprosy, Alimohammad Eghbaldar, Iran, 2018
Making Ends Meet, Thomas Muziyirwa, Zimbabwe, 2018
Marie Madeleine: A Female Chief, Florence Ayisi, Cameroon, 2018
Marriage is a Choice, South Sudan
Mukanya, Siza Mukwedini, Zimbabwe, 2018
Nyasaland, Joyce Mhango Chavula, Malawi, 2018
Online Shopping, Ghasideh Golmakani, Iran, 2017
Rise from the Ashes, Gracie Phoenix, USA, 2018
Outreach Film: Ruvimbo's Wedding, Ben Mahaka, Zimbabwe, 2017
She Is King, Gersh Kgamedi, South Africa, 2017
Somebody Clap For Me, Luciana Ceccatto Farah, Brazil, 2018
Outreach Film: Sound Of Tears, Dorothy A. Atabong, Canada, 2015
Tamala, Goodhope Elieskia, Tanzania, 2017
The Sound of Silence, Bina Paul, India, 2017
Tyranny Of Distance, Gabriel Diamond, USA, 2017
Underpressure, Lilli Schwabe, Austria, 2017
Veer, Mariama Slåttøy and Sveinung, Norway, 2017
Veil Done, Juhi Bhatt, India, 2018
Volar (Flying), Bertha Gaztelumendi, Spain, 2017


A Beautiful Woman, Seyed Sajad Moosavi, Iran 
A beautiful woman and an uncertain future loom ahead of two girls and a court.

A Serenade for Fanny, Monique Marmodée, Germany, 2018
A Serenade for Fanny“ is a modern, inventive and entertaining documentary film about personal identity and sense of belonging, the bond between generations and the power of big dreams.
Together with the charming Fanny (90), who was resettled from former Yugoslavia at the beginning of the Second World War and her ambitious granddaughter Alex (30) from Germany, we invite the audience on a journey through the life of two powerful ladies of totally different generations. They will learn about female role models, and how they have changed in the last century. They will get a feeling about what it means to loose home, family and to be forced to build up a new existence in a foreign country. And they will be inspired by how strong your personal impact on life can be when you have the strength to carry on. “A Serenade for Fanny“ should encourage everyone to show persistence in hard times, to break free of social conventions and to believe in dreams when they come to you - no matter how old you are!

Accra Power,  Sandra Krampelhuber & Andrea Verena Strasser, Austria, 2017
Accra Power provides an eclectic mix of perceptions of power in one of many thriving urban settings Africa’s. It outlines creative and artistic strategies of young Ghanaians situated at the crossroads of tradition and various belief systems, high technological and economic growth, infrastructural deficits and current energy crisis.

Aya, Moufida Fedhila, Tunisia, 2018
In Tunis a smart little girl Aya, lives with her Salafist parents. But one day a special event disrupts the life of this family. And then Aya manages to save her family from fanaticism.

Because Of The War, Toni Shapiro-Phim, USA, 2018
In both West Africa and North America, four Liberian women have been using their music to address injustice and inspire action for social change. Survivors of Liberia’s civil wars, they are accomplished, brilliant singers – as well as mothers, refugees, immigrants, Africans – who haven’t stopped contributing positively to the world, no matter the obstacles.

Because of the War documents the power of traditional songs to make meaningful connections between and among people, and to help re-build communities impacted by violence and migration.

Bhizautaure Raarthur, Tafadzwa Chiiriga, Zimbabwe, 2018
A grieving mother seeks to remove a curse brought on by her son's suicide, while her younger sons grapple to understand the meaning of his death.

Burkinabé Rising, Iara Lee, Brazil, 2017
Burkinabè Rising, a new documentary from Cultures of Resistance Films, showcases creative nonviolent resistance in Burkina Faso. A small, landlocked country in West Africa, Burkina Faso is home to a vibrant community of artists and engaged citizens, who provide an example of the type of political change that can be achieved when people come together. It is an inspiration, not only to the rest of Africa but also to the rest of the world.

Through music, film, ecology, visual art, and architecture, the people featured in this film are carrying on the revolutionary spirit of Thomas Sankara. After assuming the presidency in 1983, Sankara was killed in a 1987 coup d'état led by his friend and close advisor Blaise Compaoré, who subsequently ruled the country as an autocrat for twenty-seven years. In October 2014, a massive popular insurrection led to his removal. Today, the spirit of resistance is mightier than ever in Burkina Faso.

In the fall of 2016, director Iara Lee traveled throughout the country to film Burkinabè Rising. Through this journey, she met a remarkable cast of artists, musicians, and activists who are using the country's artistic traditions to propel forward a message of resistance: Joey le Soldat, a rapper, infuses his lyrics with references to the struggles of the impoverished youth in Ouagadougou, the country's capital, as well as those of the farmers who toil in the country outside. Marto, Burkina Faso's most well-known graffiti artist, turns barren city walls into colorful murals decrying injustice. Malika la Slameuse, a women's rights activist, performs slam poetry that offers a feminist perspective on a male-dominated art form. Serge Aimé Coulibaly uses dance as a form of political resistance, with movement borne from a need to speak out and take action.

In addition to profiling individual artists, Burkinabè Rising documents a festival of recycled art and interviews groups of farmers who are standing up to the incroachment of corporate agriculture. Displaying a panorama of creative resistance, the film shows how the resurgent Burkinabè pursuit of peace and justice manifests itself through cultural expression, permeating every aspect of daily life.

Chicks on Boards, Dörthe Eickelberg, Germany, 2018
Surfing is like an ode to a life in freedom. But the freedom experienced between ocean and sky runs into its limits on land. Women on surfboards are considered an insult across many cultures. But there are a few who go surfing anyway: Chicks on Boards. Because Surfing is more than a sport: it’s a movement.

Outreach Film: Damaru, Agbor Obed Agbor Cameroon, 2014
From the abyss of despair, a young deaf girl strives to achieve her earnest desire for special education. But first, she has to overcome the eccentricities of her society.

Outreach Film: E Do (Enough), Nkanya Nkwai, Cameroon, 2016
E Do is a story of domestic violence following the life of a little girl, living in a chaotic household with duelling parents. The effect of this trauma follows her though scarring here physically and emotionally until she becomes the unintended victim.

Elevate, Hamida Issa, Qatar, 2017
After a hard day’s shopping, Latifa, a rude and vain woman and her long-suffering maid Rosie get trapped in an elevator. Already haughty and dismissive, Latifa becomes downright nasty in her treatment of Rosie, even going so far as to blame her for the mechanical failure. This brings emotions to a head, and Latifa goes on a journey in her mind, in which she confronts her own egotistical nature and rediscovers the lessons of humility and respect she learned as a child.

Growing Up, Clara Martínez-Lázaro, Spain, 2018
Emma wakes up in her thirties to find herself a loser when her best friend Lola asks her to be the guardian of her about to be born child.

H'na Barra (Us, Outside), Bahïa Bencheikh-El-Fegoun, Meriem Achour Bouakkaz Algeria, 2014
A male public space, women’s bodies that disturb.
Neither men nor women know what to do with this female body, so it gets veiled.
This film is the encounter between women in a quest for meaning who question themselves to confront their individual histories.
Who are they today faced with a society rife with confusion that “does not know what to do” as they are present in ever greater numbers in this public space?
A society permeated by religious convictions on the one hand and by ignorance on the other that makes women a permanent target.

Leaking Blue (Azul vazante), Julia Alquéres, Brazil, 2017
A mother looks for her son in a hospital bed. She finds her daughter instead. Between shores and tides, blue leaks from the core.

Leprosy, Alimohammad Eghbaldar, Iran, 2018
On his wedding night, and with his honour at stake, the groom drags her bride to hospital to figure out, through medical diagnosis, the thing that is usually supposed to happen on such a night, BUT DOESN'T.

Making Ends Meet, Thomas Muziyirwa, Zimbabwe, 2018
A documentary on survival in Zimbabwe a country stricken by a high unemployment rate of about 95% which is the highest in the world. People live by resisting law enforced by authorities and survive by any means possible just to make ends meet. The film delves deep on how Zimbabweans are managing to survive in hard economic condition that has been prevailing for the past 10 years. The film follows activists and general citizens as they stage protests against hostile government policies in pursuit of a better Zimbabwe. The police are waging war from all sorts of battle fronts, but an up rise has begun mounting pressure on Robert Mugabe’s government. Series of protests are imaging from deferent pressure groups but the government is in no mood to negotiate, but respond with crackdowns. For the Police and the municipality, it’s a fight to maintain order and sanity in this what was once called the Sunshine City, while for the citizens its scuffle for survival in a country that is reeling with High unemployment rate (of over 80 percent) and the economy is seemingly on a free fall.

Marie Madeleine: A Female Chief, Florence Ayisi, Cameroon, 2018
A woman is to be enthroned as chief in Nkol Ngock I, a small village in Cameroon. This is a rare occurrence in most African societies where the position of chief is customarily handed down from father to son. This documentary presents a rare glimpse into a community undergoing change. Social attitudes towards gender equality are changing, as men openly acknowledge and speak about the importance of women in development. One man says "women are doing more to encourage development than men. I believe a female chief will bring new things."

Even though some villagers consider Marie-Madeleine a 'stranger' because she lives in the capital city of Yaoundé, she is determined to learn about her culture and integrate into village life.

As Marie-Madeleine beats the real African drum on her enthronement day, the gentle sounds signal a break with tradition. It is the dawn of a new era in the village of Nkol Ngock I; a Woman will be their traditional leader. Residents are optimistic that she will bring much needed development to the village.

Marriage is a Choice, South Sudan
This is a story from South Sudan about a university girl who wants to get married, but her father cant allow her to marry from the tribe she has loved. She tried to convince her father. Will she be granted permission to married from that tribe?

Mukanya, Siza Mukwedini, Zimbabwe, 2018
From a past marred by drunkenness and violence, the village menace, Mukanya, embarks on a journey to redeem himself by saving his son, who has become a reflection of Mukanya’s failures as a father. This is the journey of two men transforming into fathers. This film inspires conversations around the state of Zimbabwean as well as African fathers in the face of patriarchy and changing perspectives of what fatherhood is all about. A Conversations with our Fathers Project.

Nyasaland, Joyce Mhango Chavula, Malawi, 2018
A very successful and independent young woman returns to her village to see her ill father only to find him dead and buried. What follows is her encounter with the hyena that is terrorising the village and it happens to be a human being. With the help of a young man she takes the hyena head on and saves her village.

Online Shopping, Ghasideh Golmakani, Iran, 2017
Donia, a young girl wants to immigrate for continuing her studies abroad. Before she leaves Iran, she tries to sell her belongings online. One of the custumer is a man who enters in her house and behaves strangely...

Rise from the Ashes, Gracie Phoenix, USA, 2018
This film is based on a true story about Narcissism, the marriage that she suffered through and the journey of how she met her ex- husband.

Outreach Film: Ruvimbo's Wedding, Ben Mahaka, Zimbabwe, 2017
Ruvimbo's wedding is a short film about child marriages. The film was written and directed by Ben Mahaka with music by Hope Masike and poetry by Chirikure Chirikure.

She Is King, Gersh Kgamedi, South Africa, 2017
Khanyisile is a talented Singer/Dancer/Actor who wants to be a star. She travels from her home in Nongoma to audition for a new musical to be staged at the Joburg Theatre based on the life of Zulu Queen Mkabayi ka Jama, King Shaka’s aunt.

Will she be able to keep up with her more seasoned fellow performers, avoid the jealous machinations of the aging leading lady and survive the punishing rehearsal schedule to make it to opening night and shine like the star she is?

“She is King” is a joyous celebration of Zulu culture in a glossy contemporary setting, showing off Joburg as the "Broadway of Africa". Think “Smash” meets “Lion King”.

Somebody Clap For Me, Luciana Ceccatto Farah, Brazil, 2018
This poetic rollercoaster ride chronicles Ugandan youth reclaiming their right to a voice by bringing village bonfire traditions to an urban setting.

One of these young freedom of speech activists is Ugly Emcee, a social worker who also happens to be a grandson of the late dictator Idi Amin Dada.

Through an unsettling meta-layer, these eclectic individual portraits combine to form a vision of a country trying to shed its past and build a more democratic reality, despite the conservative forces latching on to power.

Outreach Film: Sound Of Tears, Dorothy A. Atabong, Canada, 2015
A young woman from a patriarchal community is forced into an arranged marriage to save the family honor. Amina and her family have fled the city to escape her estranged lover Josh and the stamp of shame from their patriarchal community; but Josh tracks them down.

Tamala, Goodhope Elieskia, Tanzania, 2017
After her parents die, Tamala (15) is taken from the village to go work in the city where she struggles with violence and sexual harassment. She then decides to turn to the street for little comfort. The streets aren’t so nice for street children but Tamala fights her best fight in order to return to her grandmother back in the village.

The Sound of Silence, Bina Paul, India, 2017
The Samaagathi Report on extreme gender discrimination on campuses across Kerala created a furore, as most Vice Chancellors went into denial, calling it false and prejudiced. The Film travels through campuses, speaking to women, providing glimpses into their lives, experiences of routine discrimination and the culture of silence around the injustice, while discovering that their spirit cannot be contained!

Tyranny Of Distance, Gabriel Diamond, USA, 2017
Fifteen years of civil war in Liberia has resulted in one of the world’s worst doctor shortages and cut off the country’s rural poor from basic healthcare. Community health workers trained and equipped by the non-profit Last Mile Health are working to deliver lifesaving health services to the 1.2 million Liberians living in the most remote reaches of the country.

Underpressure, Lilli Schwabe, Austria, 2017
Clara, an aspiring gynecologist, is enthusiastically supporting her patients, no matter if they are bringing a child into the world or are making the decision to have an abortion. At the same time, she is attempting to be a good wife and loving mother to her two little children. However, with the increasing pressures of daily life, her self imposed belief systems are beginning to falter, her duties in the clinic suddenly seem insurmountable and her family life is slipping away.

Veer, Mariama Slåttøy and Sveinung, Norway, 2017
Virvel / Veer is a poetic dance short film about ruling and being ruled.

Veil Done, Juhi Bhatt, India, 2018
Shah Jahan is fed up of people calling her fat. Mehru Nisha longs to step out of the house. Afroz Jamala is terrified of growing numbness in her hands. Three women from Nizamuddin basti, Delhi, take a decision that sets them on a journey to find themselves – they join a gym.

Volar (Flying), Bertha Gaztelumendi, Spain, 2017
Volar (Flying) gathers nine survivors of gender violence, among whom there is an architect, a university professor, a cleaning lady and a student. They all share a weekend in the countryside, in the heart of the Basque Country. That is where we gather their testimonies, their conversations on their past of violence as well as a message of hope and their experience overcoming what they had gone through.

25 July 2018

Update | Mise à jour : African Women in Cinema Analysis and Scholarship | La recherche et l’étude sur les femmes africaines d’image

Update | Mise à jour

African Women in Cinema Analysis and Scholarship
La recherche et l’étude sur les femmes africaines d’image


Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema
Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinema

This Reference Guide lists information relevant to Film/Media/Screen Analysis and Scholarship on African Women in Cinema: filmmakers, actors, producers, editors, organizers, critics, scholars and other cultural producers.

Ce guide de référence répertorie les informations relatives à l'analyse de films / médias / écrans et aux études sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma : cinéastes, comédiennes, productrices, monteuses, organisatrices, promotrices, critiques, universitaires et autres productrices culturelles.

Amelia Umuhire : Congo-Rwanda webseries Tuko - Life in Goma (FR-EN-DE)

Amelia Umuhire :
Congo-Rwanda webseries
Tuko - Life in Goma (FR-EN-DE)

Amelia Umuhire (Rwanda/Germany), widely known for her Polyglot webseries, produced the Congo-Rwandan web series Tuko, Life in Goma in 2017.

Amélia Umuhire (Rwanda/Allemagne), bien connue pour la série web Polyglot, a crée en 2017, la série web Congo-Rwandaise Tuko, Life in Goma.

During a workshop sponsored by the Goethe Institut, artists from DR Congo and Rwanda jointly developed a webseries about the city of Goma. The city known for war and natural disasters is represented from an unusual perspective.

Tuko, Life in Goma is a web series, produced, directed and shot by ten young artists and future Congolese and Rwandan filmmakers. The series shows the city of Goma from the point of view of young creative people, who have surmounted the shared storied history of their country in order to create new narratives of a city generally known for war and natural disasters. In five episodes, the series explores the dynamic art scene, the specificities of the city, such as the similarities between church culture and bar culture, unemployment, urban myths. In addition, it draws intimate portraits of diverse inhabitants of the city. Through the experiences of local dance groups, the episodes invite viewers to plunge into the city's underground art scene and to see Goma from another perspective.
Under the creative direction of Rwandan filmmaker Amelia Umuhire, during a three-week workshop the series was produced and shot under the auspices of Yole Africa, Goethe Institut Kinshasa and Kigali.

She had this to say about her reason for creating the series and its importance to her:

“Being Rwandan and German, it is important for me to get to know my neighbours beyond stereotypes and prejudices. For historical reasons, Rwandans and Congolese feel more distant that we are in reality. During the workshop during which young people from Rwanda and Congo came together. We realized that we had different images of each other. We create images and it is important to see how the images of others are constructed, and from this understand how the image is based on prejudices. The purpose of the workshop was to create together images of a reality that is just as real to us.”

The Internet and social media have been important tools for the creation and success of the series:

“By using the Web series format, stories can be told in a way that does not take place via and other media. There is no restriction. Films can be viewed by anyone who has access to the Internet. Even here in Goma, there are more and more smartphones. This opportunity gives young people the opportunity to showcase their region from their own perspective, in contrast to the images that are often found in the media, where the emphasis is on poverty, suffering, violence. And this image ends up becoming a reality, to the point that even for us, inhabitants of the region, we internalize it too. The web series is unlimited, you do not need a lot of technology - it's really something revolutionary.”

Épisode 1: « Bientôt les messagers »
Pamela Tulizo, Victoire Ikitegetse, 4min30

Épisode 2: « Ajira »
Concorde Amani, Arnold Habyarimana, 4min59

Épisode 3: « Dawa »
Chamani Latouifa Feta Feta, Fiston Mudacumura, 3min09

Épisode 4: « Survive »
Giscard Twahirwa, Bernadette Vivuya

Épisode 5: « Ipseite Identique »
Promesse Kitakya, Elisabeth Utamuriza, 3min52

24 July 2018

ADAMIC (Association of Cameroonian women of the image) | L’ADAMIC (Association des Dames de l’Image au Cameroun) Presentation of the new officers elected in 2017 | Présentation du nouveau bureau élu en 2017

ADAMIC (Association of Cameroonian women of the image) | L’ADAMIC  (Association des Dames de l’Image au Cameroun)

Presentation of the new officers elected Présentation du nouveau bureau élu (in/en 2017



ADAMIC (Association of Cameroonian women of the image) is a group of dynamic young women filmmakers working for the development of Cameroonian cinema made by women in particular. We are a group of talented and devoted Cameroonian women filmmakers who have together in association, to give the opportunity for women to professionalize as practitioners, in almost all sectors of cinema (production, directing, acting, cinematography, decoration, sound, makeup, costumes and administration, etc.).

L’ADAMIC  (ASSOCIATION DES DAMES DE L’IMAGE AU CAMEROUN) est un groupe constitué de jeunes Femmes cinéastes très dynamiques qui travaillent  pour l’essor du cinéma camerounais faites par les femmes en particulier. Autrement dit, Nous sommes un groupe de femmes Camerounaises cinéastes talentueuses et dévouées réunies en association, afin de donner la possibilité à la gente féminine de se professionnaliser cinématographiquement parlant. Nous nous exerçons dans presque  tous les secteurs d’activité du cinéma (production, réalisation, comédie, cadrage, décoration, son, maquillages, costumes et régie etc.).


For a very long time Cameroonian women were not accorded the place to demonstrate their talent in the cinema, as this profession was deemed to be for men only. And often the women who did enter, ended up leaving or settling elsewhere.

Those who entered the national television training school paid huge sums for their training in order to be recruited for employment. For those who were not chosen and those who were self-trained were motivated to find work as best they could. Moreover, for a woman to find an internship on a film set was a rare feat.

Faced with this concern, the Goethe Institute under the leadership of Mrs. Irene Bark opened its doors, by offering training workshops specifically for women. This allowed us to professionalize ourselves.

It is in this context that with the support of the Goethe Kamerun Institute, during the MIS ME BINGA Festival, a group of talented and dedicated women set up ADAMIC.

Pendant très longtemps les femmes camerounaises ont eu du mal à prouver leur talent dans le cinéma. Car on savait que le métier était destiné aux hommes. Sans compter que celles qui s’engageaient finissaient par laisser tomber ou allaient  s’installer ailleurs.

Celles qui entraient dans les écoles de formations de la télévision nationale déboursaient des sommes faramineuses  pour leur formation et à leur sortie pouvaient être recrutée. Pour Celles qui n’étaient pas recrutées et les auto-dictâtes  seule la volonté les animait, avec pour seul objectif  le travail. Par ailleurs trouver un stage sur un plateau pour une femme relevait d’un miracle.

Face à cette détresse, le Goethe Institute sous la houlette de Mme Irène Bark, nous a ouvert ses portes. En nous offrant les ateliers  de formation pour  les femmes. Ceci nous a permis de nous  professionnaliser.

C’est dans ce contexte qu’avec le soutien de l’Institut Goethe Kamerun, pendant le Festival MIS ME BINGA, un groupe de femmes talentueuses et dévouées ont mis sur pied l’ADAMIC.


- to support and train women interested in cinematography, scriptwriting, filmmaking, film distribution and other professions in cinema, marketing techniques for their projects | soutenir et former les femmes passionnées de l’art cinématographique, l’écriture de scénario, la réalisation, les métiers du cinéma, les techniques de vente de leurs différents produits
- strengthen the capacities of Cameroonian women filmmakers | renforcer les capacités des femmes cinéastes camerounaises,

- to professionalize the Cameroonian women's film sector | professionnaliser le secteur cinématographique féminin camerounais  
- to train the diverse stakeholders in cinema | former les animatrices de cinéma,

- promote Cameroonian film production in general and women in particular | favoriser la production cinématographique camerounaise en général et féminine en particulier,

- explore broadcast channels for our film productions | chercher les circuits de diffusion pour nos réalisations.


Elise Manuela Kameni
Born/Née in/en 1976, Yaoundé, Cameroon/Cameroun

Autodidact, she made her film debut as principal actress in a television series, which ran for six years. She learned filmmaking while working as assistant director and production manager during numerous film productions. She enrolled in several scriptwriting and filmmaking workshops, led by professional such as Jean Pierre Bekolo, Bernard Nagmo, Mollo Olinga, Bettina Hassen and Pascal Capitolen. Author of several radio drama works broadcast on the National Radio (CRTV), she has directed 15 short films.

She obtained funding from the Ministry of Arts and Culture in 2009 for the her short film La Sottise, during the training workshops at the Goethe Institute Cameroon, the choice of this topic focused on her documentary theme "The Hunters of Dawn", which is in post production and for which a teaser will be made. Her latest short film Double Peine (Double hardship) was produced by GIZ-PAasar in collaboration with ADAMIC. She is an instructor, member of Cinepress and the founder of the production company Maffokak Enterprise.

From 1999 to 2001 she was the vice-president of the women artists. At present, she is founding member and in charge of documentation at SCAAP (civil society of the audio-visual and photographic arts), member of the commission for circulation at SOCILADRA (civil society of the rights of literature and dramatic arts). She was a member of the steering committee for the election of directors and in 2017, the PCA for copyrights. Member of the French Film Academy, jury of the second round of French-speaking trophies in December 2017; President of the Women's Pocket Film Jury during the 2017 Francophone Awards. She has completed the conception of a feature film about immigration and its impact on the family.

Autodidacte, niveau terminale,  Elle fait ses débuts au cinéma dans un feuilleton où elle est actrice principale pendant six ans. Puis apprend le cinéma par le biais de multiples tournages en tant qu’assistante réalisatrice et directrice de production. Elle suit  plusieurs ateliers d’écriture de scénario  et de réalisation, dirigés par des personnes telles que jean pierre Bekolo, Bernard Nagmo, Mollo Olinga, Bettina Hassen et Pascal Capitolen. Auteure de plusieurs œuvres inédites exploitées en film radiophonique à la Radio nationale (CRTV), elle a réalisé 15 courts métrages.

Elle obtient le financement du Ministère des arts et de la culture en 2009 pour la réalisation de son court métrage la Sottise, pendant les ateliers de formations au Goethe Institute Cameroun, le choix est porté sur son sujet de documentaire « les Chasseuses de l’aube » et un teaser sera fait à ce sujet, le film tourné peu de temps après est en post production. Elle a réalisé plusieurs courts métrages et son dernier court métrage « Double Peine » a été produit par la GIZ-PAasar en collaboration avec l’ADAMIC. Elle est fondatrice de MAFFOKAK Enterprise (une jeune entreprise de production),  Formatrice, membre de Cinépress.

Elle a été tour à tour, Vice-présidente des femmes artistes de 1999 à 2001. Membre fondatrice et commission d’identification  de la Scaap (société civile des arts audiovisuelle et photographique) Membre de la commission de répartitions à  la SOCILADRA (société civile des droits de la littérature et des arts dramatiques)  à nos jours. Elle a fait partie du comité de pilotage des élections des administrateurs et du PCA en 2017 aux droits d’auteurs. Membre de l’Académie française du cinéma, jury du second tour des trophées francophones en décembre 2017 ; présidente du jury des Pocket films de femmes pendant les trophées francophones 2017. Elle a fini la conception d’un long métrage qui parle de l’immigration et de son impact sur la famille.

Nadège Flora Kemeum
Born/Née in/en 1975, Cameroon, Cameroun

Holds a Master's degree in bilingual communications. She joined the Dschang University Theater in 2008, which she participated in several national festivals. A few years later, she was selected for a leading role in an AIDS awareness film, which motivated her to join in several other successful projects. Recently she has worked actively in scriptwriting, a field in which she has increasingly gained recognition. In addition Kemeum is a makeup and special effects artist.

Est titulaire d’une Maitrise en lettre bilingue. Elle intègre le théâtre universitaire de DSCHANG en 2008, avec lequel elle participe à plusieurs festivals dans le territoire national. Quelques années après, elle est retenue pour un rôle principal dans un film de sensibilisation sur le sida et des lors le virus de l’actorat l’entraine dans plusieurs projets a succès. Depuis peu de temps elle s’est lancée activement dans l’écriture des scenarii, domaine dans lequel elle se fait peu à peu un nom.

Ce n’est pas tout, car, très dynamique, Nadège touche presque à tous en plus de l’actorat et de l’écriture des scenarii, elle est également  maquilleuse  artistiques et maquilleuse des effets spéciaux.

Agnès Djuimala
Born/Née in/en 1983, Yaoundé, Cameroon/Cameroun

Holds a Master's degree in Business Law, as well as other professional training. She began her trajectory in cinema as screenwriter and director in 2011. In 2014 ADAMIC offered her a chance to participate in the workshop that she organized, her scenario entitled “Decalage”  was selected and shot in the same year and screened during the evening of the ADAMIC event, as well as in other festivals in Cameroon. In 2015 she played the role as lead actress in Elise Kameni's Double peine (Double hardship) and acted in several other short films.

Other assets:

- General Delegate of the Festival l’œil du Kwatt (Festival International du Film de Quartier)
- Librarian
- Event coordinator
She has written a feature-length documentary about the experiences of street children.

Est titulaire d’un Master I en Droit des Affaires et plusieurs autres formations professionnelles, elle commence véritablement le cinéma comme scénariste et  Réalisatrice 2011. En 2014 L’ADAMIC lui offre sa chance et elle participe à l’atelier qu’elle organise, son scénario intitulé DECALAGE est retenu et tourné en cette même année et projeté lors de la soirée ADAMIC, et dans d’autres festivals au Cameroun. En 2015 elle tourne dans Double peine d’Elise Kameni comme actrice principal et joue dans plusieurs autres courts métrages.

Autres atouts :

- Délégué Général du Festival l’œil du Kwatt (Festival International du Film de Quartier)
- Bibliothécaire
- Coordonnatrice évènementielle
Elle a écrit un documentaire long métrage sur le vécu des enfants de la rue.

Jeanne Ngo Ndab Nyemb
Born/Née in/en 1968, Cameroon/Cameroun

After her primary and secondary studies, Jeanne Ngo Ndab Nyemb discovered a passion for cinema and theatrical arts. In 1985, she performs in her first play entitled “Femme Infidele” by Ngo'o and Papers, and she will go on to make a name for herself in this field. For the cinema, she became known through her first role in Point d’interrogation by Kono Ateba in 1989.

Her passion for costume design prevails and she has shaped her path in this field. In 1992 she worked on the set of Spot ''33 export” to paving a way for herself. Fran by Philippe Sagho, les Silences de la forêt by Basseck Ba Kobhio, The Pygmies by Carlo, Dr. Jamot. She is considered one of the best costume designers of her generation. Industrious, Jeanne Ngo Ndab Nyemb has received trainings in diverse areas of cinema, in particular in the scriptwriting, and in the theater and musical arts. In addition, she trains young costume designers who follow in her footsteps.

Après ses études primaires et secondaires, Jeanne se découvre une passion pour les métiers du cinéma et de l’art théâtrale et s’y intéresse. En 1985, elle jout dans sa première pièce de théâtre intitulé Femme Infidele de Ngo’o and papers, elle va par la suite se faire un nom dans ce domaine. Pour le Cinéma, elle commence véritablement par se faire connaître à travers le premier rôle qu’elle obtient dans Point d’interrogation de KONO ATEBA, c’est en  1989.

Et depuis lors elle ne cesse de briller dans ces différents domaines. Sa passion pour le costume l’emporte et elle se forme. Elle va depuis 1992 dans le plateau de  Spot ‘’33 export’’ se faire du chemin. (Fran) de Philippe Sagho, les Silences de la forêt de Basseck Ba Kobhio, Les pygmées de Carlo, Docteur Jamot.   Elle est considérée comme l’une des  meilleures costumières de sa génération. Infatigable, Jeanne va suivre plusieurs formations dans différents métiers de cinéma notamment dans l’écriture de scénario, les métiers du théâtre et l’art musicales. Elle a déjà formé des jeunes costumières qui suivent ses traces.

Agnes Lydienne Yougang
Born/Née in/en 1977, Cameroon/Cameroun

She holds a BA in English-French Bilingual Studies (communication option) and several training certificates in the area of cinema, obtained in Cameroon and in Europe.

Director with a private channel at the beginning of her career, she has received several honorary awards along her path:

- Winner of the Mis Me Binga contest.
- Winner of the contest "7 Days for a film".
- Lion d'Or television magazines, awarded by the association of youth without borders
- Audience prize at the live image festival.
- Second prize of BINGA TALENT.
- Network Award at the Douala International Short Film Festival.

She has signed contracts with many directors-producers: Cyrille Masso's Malo Pictures, Honore Noumabeu's HDN pictures, NS Pictures etc ...

From 2003 to the present, she has taken part in film training with names such as filmArche of Berlin, Canal France International, the FIFF, Festival international du film francophone de Namur, Goethe Institute of Yaounde, Acajou Film of France, Festival Ecran Noir of Yaoundé, French Institute of Yaounde, Spanish Embassy in Yaoundé, to only name these. She has written and directed nearly ten (10) short fiction films and documentaries.

At the moment, she has finished the writing of a feature-length fiction film being produced by Molo Pictures. She is preparing her first documentary feature film in collaboration with the Berlin filmArch, and has just completed the co-writing of the series Deux Temps Trois Mouvements an original comedy drama adapted from the chronicles of a dangerous meeting of Sandra Moyo, figurehead on the internet which has more than 39,000 followers on Facebook.

Merveille Akamba
Born/Née in/en 1980, Cameroon/Cameroun 

Merveille Akamba, a professional makeup artist of cinema is also an actress. In 2009 she graduated at the top of her class in Cameroon from a school of aesthetics, cosmetology and general biology.

In Cameroon, she is a pioneer makeup art in special effects. To date, she has worked on many foreign and national film productions as a makeup artist. Since 2015, she has been involved in television shows and has encouraged vocations among young people and adults. She has been invited to national and international festivals as a guest speaker and has conducted training and master class workshops in artistic make-up for cinema, and is a member of the Association of Make-up Artists for cinema in France. In 2016, she founded the Association of Makeup Artists of Cinema in Cameroon abbreviated (ASMACC).

Est maquilleuse professionnelle de cinéma, comédienne. En 2009 elle sort major de sa promotion dans une école d’esthétique, cosmétologie et biologie générale au Cameroun.

Elle met en pratique ses cours d’esthétiques, de cosmétologie et biologie, auxquels elle associe son sens de créativité et devient le précurseur du maquillage à effets spéciaux, truquiste et prothésiste au Cameroun.

À ce jour, elle a travaillé sur maintes productions cinématographiques étrangères et nationales en tant que Chef maquilleuse.

Depuis 2015, elle participe à des émissions télévisées et suscite des vocations chez les jeunes et adultes ; elle est invitée dans des
Festivals Internationaux et nationales comme Conférencière et dirige des ateliers de formations et master class en maquillage de cinéma, elle est aussi membre de l’Association de maquilleurs en France.

Elle a fondé depuis 2016 l’Association des Maquilleurs de Cinéma au Cameroun en abrégé (ASMACC).

Jeanne Dancmeni Siaketh
Born/Née in/en 1990

After her scientific baccalaureate with honors, Jeanne Dancmeni Siaketh enrolled in the School of Science at the University of Douala. But pursued her passion for cinema the following year having succeeded the entrance exam at the Institute of Fine Arts where she studied film and audiovisual. She began writing dramaturgy and produced several short film scripts as part of the school exercises. In addition, she participated in several writing workshops organized by the associations ADAMIC, Mis Me Binga etc. She is currently working on several film and series projects and is organizer of a special effects festival that is in its second edition.

Après son baccalauréat scientifique avec mention, elle s’en va en faculté des sciences à l’université de Douala. Mais elle ne résiste pas longtemps à l'appel de sa passion pour le septième art et réussit l’année suivante le concours d’entrée à l’institut des beaux-arts où elle étudie le cinéma et l'audiovisuel. Elle se met donc  à l’écriture dramaturgique et produit plusieurs scénarios de court métrage dans le cadre des exercices d'école. Elle participe également à plusieurs ateliers d’écriture organisés par les associations ADAMIC, Mis Me Binga etc. Elle travaille actuellement sur plusieurs projets de film et de série. Elle est promotrice d’un festival d’effets spéciaux qui sera à sa deuxième édition.

Francine Elemva
Born/Née in/en 1993, Cameroon/Cameroun

Holder of a Master II in Business and International Trade Law, she is a specialist in the drafting of contracts, and new business start-up, the valuation of intellectual property and property of other elements that affect the field of business law. She entered into the world of cinema in 2014 when she was involved with the ADAMIC workshops as manager. Subsequently, she also participated in 2015 as assistant director for the film Décalage by Agnès Djuimala. The same year she contributed to the realization of the fiction film Double Peine by Elise Kameni as Director of Production.

In 2016, she participated in drafting contracts between ADAMIC and other structures such as GIZ.

In addition, in 2017, she participated on several occasions as a legal financial analyst for the projects of the company, Inception Art & Com represented by Frank Thierry Lea Malle.


Jurist in Business Law and International Trade:
Knowledge in Contract Drafting, Taxation, Intellectual property, banking law, international law, investment, company law

Titulaire d’un Master II en Droit des Affaires et du Commerce International, elle est spécialiste en la rédaction des contrats, la création d’entreprise, la valorisation de la propriété intellectuelle et biens d’autres éléments qui touchent le domaine du Droit des affaires.
Elle débute dans  le milieu du cinéma en 2014 par plusieurs participations en tant que Régisseur aux Ateliers ADAMIC. Par la suite, elle participe également en 2015 en tant que Régisseur à la réalisation du film Décalage d’Agnès Djuimala.

La même année elle concoure à la réalisation du film fiction « Double peine » en tant que Directrice de Production, film réalisée par Elise Kameni.

En 2016, elle participe à la rédaction des contrats passés entre l’ADAMIC et les autres structures comme le GIZ.

En outre en 2017, elle participe maintes fois en tant que juriste analyste financière aux projets de l’ entreprise Inception Art & Com représenté par Frank Thierry Lea Malle


Juriste en Droit des affaires et du commerce international : Connaissance en Rédaction de Contrat, fiscalité, Propriété intellectuelle, droit bancaire, droit international, investissement, droit des sociétés 


ADAMIC workshops in 2014, sponsored by the Goethe Institute Kamerun | 

Ateliers ADAMIC en 2014, en appui avec le Goethe Institute Kamerun

Film shooting by Agnès Djuimala, facilitator of the scenario training workshop | 

Tournage du film d’Agnès Djuimala, major de l’atelier de formation en écriture

Produced by ADAMIC, in support of the Goethe Institute Kamerun | Produit par l’ADAMIC,  en appui avec le Goethe Institute Kamerun

Title of film: Décalage in January 2015 | Titre du film : Décalage  en  Janvier 2015

Filming of Elise Kameni's film, Double peine with GIZ-PAsaar in September 2015 | Tournage du film double peine  d’Elise Kameni avec la GIZ- PAsaar en septembre 2015

Filming of the film Double peine, ADAMIC collaboration | Tournage du film Double peine, collaboration ADAMIC

ADAMIC workshops during the Œil du Kwatt in Mfou in 2016: capacity building for scriptwriting. Focal point: how to create the main protagonist | Ateliers ADAMIC pendant le festival Œil du Kwatt à Mfou en 2016 : renforcement des capacités en  écriture de scénario. Point focal : comment créer le héros principal.

Interactive workshop led by Elise Kameni, open to all filmmakers. And lighting workshop | Atelier interactif animé par Elise Kameni, ouvert à tous les réalisateurs. Plus atelier d'éclairage.

Sponsored by Festival de film d’humour (FESTICO) in 2017, award ceremony for the best technician of cinema | Parrainage du Festival de film d’humour (FESTICO) en 2017, remise de prix au meilleur technicien de cinéma

Co-production for several films (review of our work in the articles of the Images Francophones) | Co-production de plusieurs films (bilan de nos travaux dans les articles  des images francophones)

Cooperation during 3 years for the Binga Talent (Mismebinga 2013/2015 | Coopération pendant 3 ans pour le Binga Talent (Mismebinga 2013/2015

Forum of the Ecrans noirs producers 2013-2015 | Forum des producteurs Ecrans noirs de 2013 à 2015


On set/Plateau de tournage : Agnes Yougang

Make up/Maquillage by/de Merveille Akamba


In order to develop, ADAMIC is in great need of partners who can support and coalesce to produce suitable projects. | L’ADAMIC dans sa course a un grand besoin des partenaires pouvant la soutenir et fédérer pour faire des bons projets.

In addition, it also needs equipment such as | En outre, elle a également besoin du matériel de travail à l’instar de : 

- A complete kit for shooting | Un kit complet pour tournage

- Assistance during the training process | Facilités dans les démarches de formation

- A space for meeting and networking | Un espace de rencontre et d’échanges


- Train the trainers | Former les formateurs

- Have other filmmaking supplies | Avoir d’autres kits de tournage

- Find producers or co-productions for our members | Trouver des producteurs ou des co-productions pour nos membres.

- Organize even more practical workshops for young women graduating from universities, training schools and for those who are self-taught | Organiser encore plus d’ateliers pratiques pour les filles qui sortent des universités, des écoles de formations et des autodidactes. 

23 July 2018

Le groupe Canal+ : launches "l’Afrique au féminin" to train African talent in audiovisual production | lance « l’Afrique au féminin » pour former les talents africains aux métiers de la production audiovisuelle (2018)

Le groupe Canal+ launches/lance "l’Afrique au féminin" to train African talent in audiovisual production | « l’Afrique au féminin » pour former les talents africains aux métiers de la production audiovisuelle (2018)


The second edition of "l’Afrique au féminin" ​​was officially launched in Abidjan by the management of Canal+ International during the 4th edition of DISCOP Africa held from 28-30 May in Côte d’Ivoire.

Created in 2013, this initiative aims to offer training seminars in scriptwriting, filming, video editing and use of digital tools to journalists reporters of the moving image. The aim is to professionalise the audiovisual sector in sub-Saharan Africa in order to bring forth future content producers.

In partnership with Galaxie Africa and CFI, the Canal + Group will, for nine months, fund and train seven talents from seven French-speaking African countries. Mali, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Cameroon, Chad and Congo will be represented in the 2018 promotion. The seven JRIs (Journalist Reporters of the Moving Image) are going to complete the training, each produce a 13-minute society report under the theme: "The place of women in African society".

The productions will be presented exclusively at the 26th edition of Fespaco (Panafrican Festival of Cinema and Television of Ouagadougou) from February 23 to March 2, 2019, and broadcast on the occasion of the 2019 International Women's Day. Superb initiative!

"The theme chosen this year was close to our heart. Canal + is one of the leading producers of content in French-speaking Africa and we train and invest in the creation of original content that can be exported internationally. It was important for us to encourage gender parity in our professions and especially that of director."

To diversify the gaze, to diversify the histories and stories we bring to the screen. We will continue to produce original, authentic and innovative content. "Says Grace Loubassou, in charge of the development of "Afrique au féminin".

"This initiative is part of the Group's desire to contribute to the development of audiovisual professions on the African continent through the training of film professionals and the advancement of original creations." Says David Mignot, CEO of Canal + Africa.


La deuxième édition de « l’Afrique au féminin » a été officiellement lancée à Abidjan par la direction de Canal+ International. C’était lors de la 4ème édition du DISCOP Africa qui s’est tenue du 28 au 30 mai dernier en Côte d’Ivoire.

Créée en 2013, cette initiative vise à offrir à des journalistes reporters d’images (JRI), des séminaires de formation en écriture de scénarios, tournage, montage vidéo et utilisation des outils digitaux. L’objectif étant de professionnaliser le secteur de l’audiovisuel en Afrique sub-saharienne afin de faire émerger de futurs producteurs de contenus.

En partenariat avec Galaxie Africa et CFI, le Groupe Canal+ va, pendant neuf mois, financer et former sept talents issus de sept pays d’Afrique francophone. Le Mali, le Sénégal, la Côte d’Ivoire, la Guinée, le Cameroun, le Tchad et le Congo seront représentés dans la promotion 2018. Les sept JRI (Journalistes Reporter d’image) vont à l’issue de la formation, produire chacun un reportage de société de 13 minutes sur le thème : « La place de la femme dans la société africaine ».

Les productions seront diffusées en exclusivité lors de la 26e édition du Fespaco (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou) du 23 février au 2 mars 2019, puis à l’antenne à l’occasion de la journée de la femme 2019. Superbe initiative !

« Le thème retenu cette année nous tenait à cœur. Canal+ est l’un des premiers producteurs de contenus en Afrique francophone et nous formons et investissons dans la création de contenus originaux qui peuvent s’exporter à l’international. Il était important pour nous de féminiser nos métiers et plus particulièrement celui de réalisateur. 

Diversifier les regards pour diversifier les histoires et les récits que nous portons à l’écran. Nous continuerons de produire des contenus originaux, authentiques et novateurs. » affirme Grace Loubassou, en charge du développement de l’ « Afrique au féminin ».

« Cette initiative s’inscrit dans la volonté du Groupe de contribuer au développement des métiers de l’audiovisuel sur le continent africain à travers la formation de professionnels du cinéma et la mise en valeur de créations originales. » déclare David Mignot, Directeur Général de Canal+ Afrique.

Suivez et participez à l’initiative à travers le hashtag #AAF2018 en vous abonnant aux différents réseaux sociaux :

20 July 2018

Mariama Khan, filmmaker, poet, cultural activist, scholar: Reflections on cinema culture in The Gambia

Mariama Khan,
filmmaker, poet, cultural activist, scholar:
Reflections on cinema culture in The Gambia

Mariama Khan, Gambian with Senegalese root, is a filmmaker, cultural activist, scholar and professor, currently teaching African History and African Civilizations at Lehman College in New York. Her present research focus includes The Gambia-Senegal border relations, culture, cross-border transport and trade and religious movements in Senegambia. She is founder of the Documentary Film Initiative-The Gambia and the Makane Kane Center for the Creative Arts projects, which are currently on hold. She talks about her experiences with the moving image, cinema culture in The Gambia, and her role as cultural activist and scholar.

Interview by Beti Ellerson

Mariama, please talk a bit about yourself, your background.

My name is Mariama Khan. I am a Gambian from Brikama New Town in the Kombo Central Region and the Western Division of The Gambia. I was born to a Senegalese father and a Gambian mother. I am a great lover of film, poetry, music, nature and public service. I’ve previously worked with the government of The Gambia for about ten years in junior, middle and senior-level positions. I’m a documentary filmmaker and a poet. I’m currently on the faculty of Lehman College, CUNY, at the Department of Africana Studies. I teach African History and African Civilizations, respectively.

What were your experiences with cinema, the moving image when growing up in The Gambia?

When I was growing up in The Gambia, most of the films I watched were through two primary channels: Senegalese national TV- RTS and home videos. I religiously watched films, movies or soap operas - like Dallas, Dynasty, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Cosby Show (all dubbed in French) and Mademoiselle, among a few others shown on RTS at that time. My sister Haddy also made me watch Wollof-language children’s comedy and films on RTS in the evenings. It was also common for me and my other siblings to watch Wollof-language films on RTS. Sometimes, we watched the dubbed non-Senegalese French-language films with our father, who spoke fluent French and our second mother, who also speaks French. After The Gambia established its own television station, we watched films through The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS). On occasions, too, I watched home videos of films like Problem Child, Sarafina, etc., with my best friend in High School, Rebecca Gomez, at my cousin Lamin Camara (L-boy)’s family home. So, my experiences of “cinema” or productions of the moving image involved socializing with family, friends and neighbors. It also involved taking part in group entertainment, sharing and building relationships.  My film-related experiences also inspired my interests in filmmaking and the moving image. 

The Gambia does not have a visible screen/cinema culture on the continental and international level. Please describe the local scene and your place within it.

When I was young, Brikama had a popular cinema, which was run by one of my father’s best friends in the town. At that time, going to the cinema was popular in the community. However, when the cinema stopped functioning at a time of considerable economic depression and political dilemma in The Gambia, people who had television sets in their homes watched Senegalese TV or other accessible stations. Video clubs were also popular. But males mostly frequented such clubs in those days. There has always been some form of “cinema culture” in the country. It was less bubbly like the culture Nollywood has helped push into the Gambian film sector. That film culture was primarily centred around consuming exported cinema productions from the West, Asia (specifically, India and China) and later South America. However, with the establishment of The Gambia Television and the local boom of Nollywood films, we see a “new’ cinema culture gradually unfurling in the country. We now have a growing number of Gambian film producers with considerable talent. Prince Boubacar Aminata Sankanou, who is a man of many talents, is making great contributions towards the development of a truly Gambian cinema culture. Sankanou and other new generation Gambian filmmakers are a great inspiration and they deserve every support from the government. 

I like to think that if I do have any position in the current cinema environment in The Gambia, then that position might be located on the slim fringes of The Gambian film sector. So far, I’ve only produced a few films in the country. This limited number of productions makes my contribution in the sector very modest and less significant compared to the numbers of new drama, feature or documentary films produced by my other compatriots. Most of these new producers have now established a niche as full-time Gambian filmmakers in the country. So, maybe, my place in the current local scene has been overtaken by the new promising productions that are available online and through other means. With that realization, my task as a filmmaker is to refocus and re-initiate my filmmaking career following its long hiatus, which resulted from the lack of grounded-ness in my life and career in the world of exile. In other words, the ups and downs of living a life in exile have stalled my filmmaking career, too. 

You are founder of the Documentary Film Initiative. Please talk about why you created it, its objectives and future goals.

The Documentary Film Initiative (DFI-The Gambia) was created to promote social justice, inspire change and to create youth employment through documentary-filmmaking, which is one of its objectives. It was apart of a broader project called the Makane Kane Center for the Creative Arts. I’ve made a few productions under the DFI- Gambia. However, the bigger part of the project, which was to establish an educational institution—the Makane Kane Center for the Creative Arts—to teach the creative arts in The Gambia could not take-off due to political barriers from the National Training Authority. I invested a lot of money to buy professional filmmaking equipment, furniture for classrooms and offices, and leased the premises that were to host the school—which was located along the Latri-Kunda- Tabokoto highway. I also identified staff for the school. I submitted the application for a permit with all the required documentation, but the National Training Authority did not give me the permit that I needed under national rules to operate such a school. I met all the requirements for that permit. But the Training Authority did not issue it to me. This was at a time I had a political conflict with the former President of The Gambia. Ostensibly, as a result of that, the National Training Authority decided to sabotage the take-off of my school project. I ended up losing a lot of money and I later had to go into exile as a result of my political difficulties with the former President. That stalled both the The Documentary Film Initiative-The Gambia and the Makane Kane Center for the Creative Arts projects. However, we’re now revisiting both projects. 

You have made several films, “The Journey up the Hill”, “Sutura” and “The Professor” in 2008 and “Devil’s Waters-Illegal Migration in The Gambia” in 2009. Talk a bit about the production of these films and their reception.

My documentary, The Journey up the Hill,  was produced out of my “Recording America” class project at Brandeis University. My beloved former film professor, Henry Felt, invested his personal resources and time on that project. I worked closely with him to film and edit the documentary. Additionally, thanks to Professor Felt’s insistence, the documentary had a successful premier at the Heller School [Heller School for Social Policy and Management], with a phenomenal attendance. I owe a lot to Professor Felt for that film. He taught me how to make films with such rigor in class and also as part of his year-long, one-on-one tutorial he gave me during that full-academic year course. The film explores the experiences of international students like myself, who come to America for educational purposes. In it, different international students from the Heller School share their experiences studying in America. I also had some of my beloved professors from the Heller School such as Professor Susan Holcombe, who was my advisor at Brandeis, and Professor Kelly Ready, make contributions in the film. The title of the film captured the fact that Brandeis is located on a hill in Waltham [Massachusetts]. The hill was also a metaphor of the experiences of international students as they adjust, struggle and work hard towards their educational success symbolized by reaching the top of the hill. The film recognizes the fact that getting to succeed entails challenges as most of us struggled with home sickness, culture shock, adapting to American academic life and so on. However, we also formed some lasting bonds. In fact, Heller was a wonderful place that made us feel at home, with all the several parties on and off campus. The social life helped most international students to develop a sense of belonging away from home. 

The Professor was the second documentary project I worked on and produced with Professor Felt, while at Brandeis. It is based on Professor Felt’s life. I came up with the idea to document some of his life story, which was fascinating to me. In addition to being my professor, Professor Felt was also a beloved friend when I was going to Brandeis. We had lunch together many times. We used to have conversations on many subjects including topics like Islam and Judaism (I am a Muslim and Professor Felt is Jewish), The Gambia’s relationship with Israel, about America, about New York, about Africa and so on. In those days, I was amazed by how well Professor Felt was informed about the daily news of The Gambia. I fondly recall that before we start class, he would tell me what was happening in my country. It was impressive that he paid more attention to what was happening in The Gambia than I did at that time. So, the documentary The Professor was one way of celebrating the life of a man who was an exceptional teacher to me. I fondly remember when I was returning home to The Gambia after my studies in 2008, he had these very kind words for me, he told me while we were at the Heller School, “consider me your teacher for life …” then with a broad smile, he added, “keep rising.” The production of the film on his life also signifies the appreciation I have for him.  In fact, I owe Professor Felt some promise I must deliver.  That promise carries how much he has touched my life as my former professor and friend. Wherever he is, I re-promise, I shall keep the promise, Professor Felt, God willing.

The documentary Sutura was commissioned by Dr. Leigh Swigart of the Brandeis University International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. It was also a collaboration between Dr. Swigart’s program, the Senegalese Female Lawyers ‘Association of Senegal and the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal. The concept of the film came from Dr. Swigart. Dr. Fatou Kine Camara of the Senegalese Female Lawyers’ Association and Professor at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, facilitated all the pre-filming arrangements for the film. The film was premiered in Ghana, thanks to Dr. Swigart and her partners. It was also shown in Senegal, Germany, the Netherlands, in the USA (Boston and California), and in The Gambia.  People from a number of African countries who I met at a conference in Ghana and at The Hague also acquired the film and promised to show it to some of their constituents after their return. Sutura was well received and also won a UNFPA award. 

Devil’s Waters was produced in collaboration with The Gambia Ministry of Youth and Sports. It came out of the desire to educate Gambian youth and other people about the dangers of irregular migration through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.  It was premiered in The Gambia. 

You have a work in progress, Facscinala - Divorce and Human rights in Senegal. Talk a bit about it and its development.

The documentary and work-in progress, “Fascinala: Divorce and Human Rights in Senegal” aims to explore the different experiences women have during and after divorces. It is inspired by what I’ve learnt about women’s conditions in Senegal, thanks to the Senegalese Female Lawyers’ Association, which increased my awareness about the situations of women in Senegal. After doing the initial filming for this project, I could not continue working on this production due to situations beyond my control. But hopefully, soon, I will refocus on the production and get it completed.

Do you see future developments in cinema in The Gambia?

Yes, I see future developments in cinema in The Gambia. As I stated, already, some of my compatriots including my friend, Prince Sankanou, have been doing great work in the Gambian film sector.  They’re all great inspiration for me and I hope to join them soon, following the long hiatus that kept me away from the sector. 

How do you see your contribution in this regard?

As part of my contribution in the film sector, I will reinitiate some of the projects I need to complete like Fascinala. Additionally, I will explore new projects I wanted to work on before I left The Gambia. I will be delighted to partner with Prince Sankanou to work on a project we’ve discussed about many years ago. In other words, I will work to strengthen the sector. 

Your neighbour, Senegal in contrast has a very long history of cinema and is well known internationally, is their a possibility of co-productions?

Of course, there is a possibility of co-productions between Senegalese and Gambian filmmakers. In fact, I’ve worked with a Senegalese filmmaker on almost all the productions I’ve made after I left Brandeis.

Is there a relationship in terms of local Wollof-language filmmaking?

I’ve a number of friends who are Senegalese filmmakers and some of them produce films in Wollof. They’re very talented people, too. Sutura was filmed in Wollof and “Fascinala” is also in Wollof. Yes, there is some relationship in terms of local Wollof-language filmmaking. There are plans to further develop collaborations with these Senegalese friends, some of whom have become family to me.

Are there other women in The Gambia who are active in the moving image sector and have you been able to connect with them?

In terms of women, I've not had the opportunity to work with any independent female filmmakers when I was at home. The only female filmmaker I encountered was a Gambian lady who at the time I met her was married to a man from Germany and they were working together. This was a while back and I did not know her real name [Isha Fofana], but she was called Mama Africa. There was no opportunity for collaboration between us after our chanced encounter. Other than her, I know of other female "filmmakers" who were working for the national television such as Fatou Camara. Once or twice I've worked with her on some other professional capacity in the past. Of course, I know her in a limited way.  However, I had the opportunity to work with some excellent Gambian male filmmakers like the late Ebrima Sagnia of The Gambia Family Planning Association and his assistant Sanna. I also worked with Omar Njie who helped with some shooting, thanks to his boss Haruna Drammeh of Mediamatics (now of Paradise TV), who offered Njie's services to me for gratis, as support to my endeavour. However, I know that recently there are some rising female Gambian filmmakers in the country. I do not know any of them in person and as such I will not be able to talk about their experiences. Hopefully, anytime I'm able to go to The Gambia, I will be interested in having connections with some of them, just as I had with some female Gambian authors and poets.  

Throughout your higher education you have focused on international development, how have these experiences influenced the themes of your films?

The purpose of studying International Development is to do good for humanity and for the world (including the environment). As such, the films I’ve made so far are all about uplifting the human condition, improving human welfare and well-being and promoting justice and peace. My personal and professional experiences have shaped my passion for international development and that passion has also affected the themes I explore in my filmmaking.

You are currently on the faculty at Lehman College in the United States, where you teach African history and African civilizations, talk about the ways that you use film and cinema in your teaching.

As faculty member of Lehman College, I’ve moderately used film in both my African History and African Civilizations courses. This is the first time I’m teaching both courses. It has been an experiential process. Now, with feedback from the students who were part of both courses, I will better streamline my use of film in the future segments of both courses.  

Future projects, goals, especially as they relate to local cultural production in The Gambia.

I love culture. And one of the things I like to identify myself with is being a scholar of culture. Therefore, my future projects will focus more on issues relating to culture—Gambian or Senegalese culture and in combination, Senegambian culture. Again, as I work to take-off from the hiatus of my filmmaking career, I’ve been musing about producing culture-related documentaries or feature/ drama films. We will see how that goes, God willing.

Interview with Mariama Khan by Beti Ellerson, July 2018.