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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Director/Directrice, Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema | Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinéma

07 January 2019

African Women in Cinema Dossier by Beti Ellerson: a regular feature of Black Camera, An International Film Journal

African Women in Cinema Dossier by Beti Ellerson: a regular feature of Black Camera, An International Film Journal
  • African Women of the Screen as Cultural Producers: An Overview by Country  (Fall 2018)
  • On-screen Narratives, Off-screen Lives: African Women Inscribing the Self (Spring 2018)
  • Traveling Gazes: Glocal Imaginaries in the Transcontinental, Transnational, Exilic, Migration, and Diasporic Cinematic Experiences of African Women (Spring 2017)
  • African Women and the Documentary: Storytelling, Visualizing History, from the Personal to the Political (Fall, 2016)
  • Teaching African Women in Cinema, Part Two (Spring 2016)
  • Teaching African Women in Cinema, Part One (Fall 2015) 

African Women of the Screen as Cultural Producers: An Overview by Country  (Fall 2018) https://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2018/11/black-camera-african-women-of-screen-as.html


African women as cultural producers in the realm of the moving image, screen culture, audiovisual media—what are their experiences? These women who work actively in the behind-the-scenes roles; in front of the screen as journalist, critic, cultural reader; in the corridors as organizer, activist, advocate, promoter in the vast cinematic enterprise, many wearing multiple hats as filmmaker, actor, presenter, producer, scholar. Whether working on the local, regional, continental, international, or transnational level, their role is vital, their work essential. This survey by country provides an indication of the span of activities of these cultural workers: most striving for the cause, or out of a sense of duty, or of purpose—some in perilous situations, so that African images are seen and stories told—produced, disseminated, distributed, exhibited, discussed, critiqued, documented, archived, preserved.

On-screen Narratives, Off-screen Lives: African Women Inscribing the Self (Spring 2018) https://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2018/05/black-camera-on-screen-narratives-off.html

The journeys of on-screen characters, while most do not reflect the off-screen trajectories of the real-life women, some do provide glimpses that parallel the paths that these women have voyaged in their own lives, perhaps influenced by their characters, or more brutally, because of them. Their travels, imaginary and real, had some relationship to their roles as actor and/or the choices they later made as a result of their encounter with/within the world of cinema. It is their on-screen legacy, especially in the case of iconic films, that has been the most enduring; as these women, far removed from their fame in these early films, live quiet off-screen lives a long way from the experiences of their cinematic characters.

Moreover, the filmmakers, who navigate frontiers, negotiate relocations and displacements to extra-African environments, inscribe an autobiographical journeying, problematizing these itinerant identities in their films. Likewise, traveling, sojourning and relocating across the globe involve shifting or ultimately expanding the identity of their cinema. Hence, an exploration of on-screen representations offer a larger picture of their experiences in front of and behind the camera.

Traveling Gazes: Glocal Imaginaries in the Transcontinental, Transnational, Exilic, Migration, and Diasporic Cinematic Experiences of African Women (Spring 2017) https://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2017/05/black-camera-spring-2017-beti-ellerson.html

The exilic and diasporic filmmaking experiences of African women of the screen have been evident from the start of African cinematic practices. Women have traveled and relocated outside of their homeland to study, edit, shoot, work, live, and network. Informed by Hamid Naficy's formulation of “accented cinema,” this article traces these peripatetic migrations framed within selected topics that are representative of the histories, trends, and tendencies throughout the evolution of African women in cinema: Oscillating between hostland and homeland, defining home(s) is a frequent practice. In the interstices of hostland and homeland, navigating in third space is a recurrent theme, as well as the mediation of exilic identities. The common phenomenon of intra-continental migration also leads to diasporic discovery. As a growing cohort of African women are born, raised, or settle in the United States, they are also negotiating within the dominant African American paradigm. Germany, a lesser-known site for Afro-women's cinematic journeying, is emerging as an important space for study, work, and exploration. Several questions are posed for reflection and research.

African Women and the Documentary: Storytelling, Visualizing History, from the Personal to the Political (Fall, 2016) https://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2016/10/african-women-and-documentary.html

The practice of storytelling, of relating actuality, the real, of recounting history, the personal, the social, the political, are all features of the screen culture in which African women have evolved in myriad ways as stakeholders in the cultural production of their society and the world. Telling stories through documentary in particular has been a dominant mode of expression among African women, perhaps out of a genuine interest in addressing the pressing issues in their societies and relating stories that would otherwise not be told. Their filmmaking practice is indicative of the diversity of themes they address, using eclectic approaches: autobiographical, experimental, hybrid, consciousness-raising, socio-political, as well as within trans-local and transnational spaces—some going beyond the cultural references of the filmmakers. This article brings together current trends and tendencies incorporating African women who span the globe, utilizing diverse languages, reflecting a plurality of experiences, histories, cultures, and geographies.

Teaching African Women in Cinema, Part Two (Spring 2016) https://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2016/06/teaching-african-women-in-cinema-part.html

The second part of this essay offers a primer on African women in cinema studies, which is based on actual courses, seminars, and lectures and draws directly from articles posted on the African Women in Cinema Blog since its inception in 2009.

Teaching African Women in Cinema, Part One (Fall 2015) https://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2016/02/teaching-african-women-in-cinema-part.html

Women in front of the screen, as cultural readers, scholars, critics and theorists of African women in cinema studies also have a vital function in the study and analysis of cultural production as it relates to women's role in creating, shaping and determining the course of their cinematic history, the intellectual and cultural capital that it produces, and the intangible cultural heritage to which it contributes.

Women in cinema as a study and research focus has an extremely broad range of discourse and practice. Women on, in front of, behind the screen--as storytellers, makers, producers, scriptwriters, actresses, role models, consciousness raisers, practitioners, technicians, organizers, fund-raisers, social media community managers, bloggers, agents of change, activists, advocates, audience builders, cultural producers, cultural readers, film critics, scholars, and researchers--all contribute to the idea of "African Women in Cinema" as a conceptual framework.

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