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.

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01 February 2018

Cascade Festival of African Films (Portland, Oregon USA) 2018

28th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films
In Celebration of Black History Month
At Portland Community College
February 2-March 3, 2018

The Cascade Festival of African Films (Portland, Oregon USA),  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.

The Cascade Festival of African Films shows us Africa through the eyes of Africans, rather than a vision of Africa packaged for Western viewers. The films celebrate Africa’s achievements, expose its failures, and reveal possibilities for a hopeful future. Although the films cannot represent an entire continent, we hope to encourage American viewers to become interested in and study African cultures.

Source: (Texts and Images): Cascade Festival of African Films

2018 Films

The 2018 lineup of films for Women Filmmakers Week:

Zaineb Hates The Snow (Tunisia, Canada) Kaouther Ben Hania
Kaouther Ben Hania documents, over a period of six years, the changes and full range of human emotions that await nine-year-old Zaineb when her widowed mother remarries and moves Zaineb and her brother Haythem from Tunisia to Canada to live with her new husband and his daughter Wijdene. Given extraordinary access to the family, who are her relatives, Kaouther Ben Hania presents us with a case study of two families attempting to blend into a single family, while also dealing with displacement, change, growth and the meaning of family.

Borders/Frontières (Burkina Faso) Apolline Traoré
In this gritty West African road trip movie, four women from different regions develop friendships during a bus journey across West Africa. The film portrays the reality of the problems women face crossing the borders in Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin, and Nigeria, where customs officials regularly harass and sexually abuse women who travel alone. By bonding together, Adja, Emma, Sali, and Vishaa learn to trust and help protect each other.

Foreign Body (Tunisia) Raja Amari
Following Tunisia’s 2011 political uprising, Samia flees to France to escape the brutality and control of her radicalized brother. Fearing his pursuit and retribution, Samia finds refuge with Imed, a former acquaintance from her village in Tunisia, and then with Leila, a rich widow who hires Samia to work for her. Samia soon discovers she has a strong sensual connection with Leila, which leaves Imed, in this blossoming ménage à trois, torn between his religious beliefs and his sexual desires. This film is another tale of women’s empowerment.

The Wedding Ring (Niger) Rahmatou Keïta
Tiyaa is a student, member of a prestigious aristocratic family. She is back home to sultanate of Damagaran, in Niger Republic, for the Winter holidays. As planned, she is expecting the young man she met in the university she is studying, in France, to make a formal proposal of marriage. He too comes from a prestigious family, not far from Damagaran, in the Emirate of Maïduguri and her parents cannot reject such an eligible fiancé.

Tiyaa is overwhelmed… While expecting him, she has time to inform her friends of this secret Parisian love. Life is pleasant and peaceful but time passes and the handsome suitor is slow to come. Tiyaa has the opportunity to discover in her surroundings other women whose love stories, marriage, desertion or divorce tell of the relationship between men and women in the Sahelian society.


Films also by women featured in the 2018 Festival:

Anger In The Wind, Amina Weira (Niger)
Filmmaker Amina Weira travels to her hometown of Arlit in northern Niger, where she interviews the town’s residents about the negative environmental and health consequences of plutonium mining. French mining companies have mined uranium there since 1976. Today the region is contaminated, and large numbers of people have died young and suffer from chronic illnesses. Ms. Wiera’s father, a retired uranium mineworker, is at the heart of this film. He shares his memories of 35 years spent in the mines.

Queen Of Katwe, Mira Nair (Uganda, USA)
Living in the slum in Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona and her family. Her world changes when she meets Robert Katende, a missionary who teaches children how to play chess. Phiona soon becomes a top player. The film is based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, whose biography, The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster, was written by Tim Crothers. The film stars the Oscar-winning actress Lupita Niong’o as Phiona’s mother, the award-winning actor David Oyelowo as Robert Katende, and Madina Nalwanga, who won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Young Actor in her role as Phiona.

The African Who Wanted To Fly, Samantha Biffot (Gabon, China)
The African Who Wanted to Fly tells the incredible true story of Luc Bendza, a young Gabonese boy who discovers Kung Fu after watching the film The Big Boss and deciding he wants to “fly” like Bruce Lee and devote his life to the martial arts. At the age of 15, he sets off for China to make his dreams come true. He joins the prestigious wushu martial arts academy, and under the tutelage of Grand Master Meng Huifang, Luc eventually becomes number one in an art form that had previously never counted an African in its midst.

Tickling Giants, Sara Taksler (USA, Egypt)
Following Egypt’s Arab Spring in 2011 and in need of a laugh, Dr. Bassem Youssef left his career as a heart surgeon in Cairo to try his hand at comedy. He incorporated his observations from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show to create Al Bernameg, the first political satire show in Egypt. Thirty million viewers watched each episode. Called an “ebullient ode to freedom,” the film investigates the challenges of non-violent action and the power of comedy.

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