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.

22 March 2018

Cameroonian Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Cameroonian Women in Cinema,
Visual Media and Screen Culture

Thérèse Sita Bella entered the world of cinema before most of the filmmakers that are recognised today as pioneers. A trailblazing journalist from Cameroon, she was also a pilot. In 1963, she directed Tam Tam à Paris, a 30-minute film documenting the National Dance Company of Cameroon during its tour in the French capital. It was featured at the first FESPACO, the PanAfrican Festival in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso, in 1969—then known as African Cinema Week—alongside the works of pioneers Mustapha Alassane (Niger), Urbain N'Dia (Cameroon), Ousmane Sembene (Senegal), Ababacar Samb (Senegal), Paulin Vieyra (Senegal), and Momar Thiam (Senegal). 

According to a short biography published in Amina Magazine in 1989, after producing the film, Thérèse Sita Bella worked in France from 1964 to 1965 during which she participated in the creation of the first African journal in France La vie africaine. Afterwards, while still in Paris she spent time at UNESCO, as well as participating in the creation of several French-language radio programs for African listeners for both BBC and Radio-Cologne. She was also correspondent for Voice of America, and the Radio Television Luxembourg, then known as the ORTF (Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française), the French Radio. In 1967, she returned to Cameroon where she began working at the Ministry of Information and later as chief deputy at the Department of Documentation, followed by a stint at the Department of Cinematography. In the 1990s she founded the short-lived magazine entitled “Stars” focusing on culture and show business.

Thérèse Sita Bella had a long, productive career in radio and print journalism; during an interview with André -Marie Pouya of the French-language Amina Magazine in 1989, she stated: I continue to write at the present. I have some ideas, and it is never too late to write about them. If I do publish them, the purpose will be to inform and teach. Remember that I am also a filmmaker. I have many scripts that are lying idle that I would love to bring to fruition. I plan to retire soon and filmmakers are ageless. This will be my way to leave a message… And yet, she never made another film. According to the obituary by Jean François Channon, in February 2006 at 73 years old, she died, forgotten and virtually unknown in her own country.

Cameroonian writer, journalist, blogger, and cultural activist Stéphanie Dongmo asked about the foremother compatriot Thérèse Sita Bella in an interview with French film historian and scholar Brigitte Rollet who organised a colloquy celebrating 40 years of Francophone African women in cinema in Paris in 2012. She wondered why that moment was considered a historical landmark when the following year in 2013 would mark the 50th anniversary of Tam Tam à Paris. Interesting question! Brigitte responded: It is true that there was Sita Bella but the films of Sarah Maldoror [the honoree] and Safi Faye have left their mark [they both directed their pioneering work in 1972]. I don't think that the same thing could be said about the film of Sita Bella because it was less known, most people are not even aware of it, I don't even known where to view it…. By organising the colloquium in the physical space of the BNF (National Library of France), I wanted to also highlight the problem of preserving a cinematographic cultural heritage by recalling that there are films that have been lost.

Thus, as we recognise her accomplishments at conferences and in articles about women in the history of African cinema, it is important to also emphasise that African cultural producers must struggle nonetheless to produce and work. And in the case of Thérèse Sita Bella, her film appears to have vanished—only to be remembered in the literature. And with the increased interest in Africa’s pioneers in cinema, one may ask how this ground-breaking journalist, cineaste, pilot, descended so deeply into obscurity, having defied early in her career at 30 years old, her own assessment of her place as a filmmaker, asserting: “you know cinema is not a woman's business." (1)

Fortunately, Cameroonian women who follow Thérèse Sita Bella’s footsteps as cultural producers are getting more visibility and hopefully will have a more enduring legacy. A decade and a half after the emergence of Thérèse Sita Bella in the chronicles of African cinema, other women of Cameroon followed, training to become directors of the moving image. Blandine Foumane (Ngono Ambassa), who studied filmmaking in Paris from 1977 to 1982, returned home to work at the national office of cinema. Later she moved to the television office during which she produced 15-minute films. From 1986 to 1989 she created her first series entitled Silence on joue. (2)

Burkinabé film critic Clément Tapsoba observes that ten women graduated from the Centre de formation de l’information de Yaoundé in 1988. Among this cohort of women at the training centre of the newly created national television, Margaret Fombé Fobé made her mark with her television programme Portraits de femmes in 1989, perhaps already inspired by the ground-breaking work of her elder of the moving image. She had this to say about her objectives for producing empowering images of women: “It appeared to me very early on that images made by women about women could be used to break down taboos and encourage women to assert themselves.” (3)

During the same period, Rosine Kenmoe Kenyou and Rosalie Mbélé Atangana produce women-focused series beginning in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Designer, filmmaker and producer Yolande Ekoumou Samba has been at the Cameroon Radio Television since 1994, where she has managed the Fictions Department for many years. She has produced numerous productions: films, sitcoms, series, etc. In 2016, she wrote the book Faire un Film de fiction : à l’intention des Profanes, Amateurs ou Débutants (To make a fiction film : for laypersons, enthusiasts or beginners) – Cameroun | Cameroon, Editions Alternative. Mary-Noël Niba was trained in cinema at ESRA in Paris. Recruited at the CRTV in 1992, she returned to Cameroon, beginning her career as director of news programmes. She has occupied posts at the higher echelons of the national television: Deputy Director of Production and Deputy Commercial Director of Marketing and Publicity. Mary-Noel Niba is currently in charge of public relations for the Cameroon Embassy in Paris, and like many other African women in cinema she wears other hats, that of independent filmmaker and executive producer.

The first and second decades of the 2000s witness a flurry of cinematic activity indicative of the times, in the age of digital technology, and the focus of themes around identity, as well as the continued desire to network and outreach. While Joséphine Ndagnou’s Paris à tout prix | Paris or Nothing puts the spotlight on the Cameroonian diaspora of France, Ariane Astrid Atodji’s La souffrance est une école de sagesse | Suffering is a school of wisdom explores the diasporic identities within the African continent, as she searches for the Beninese identity that she does not know. She journeys on a road trip from Cameroon to Benin, in search of her paternal family, and hence, her Beninese roots.

Promoting and showcasing African women in cinema and their works has been a longstanding practice in African cinema history, with initiatives such as Fespaco and Fepaci as examples of its significance. Since the beginning of the second decade of the 2000s, there has been a proliferation of women-focused initiatives. Mis Me Binga (the eyes of women) International Women’s Film Festival is an important initiative for the promotion and empowerment of women in cinema, locally, continentally and internationally. Created in 2010, the goal of the festival is to promote the creativity of women from Cameroon, Africa and the whole world, to establish a network among women filmmakers from different parts of the world and to bring about a better understanding of different cultures and of each other. Filmmaker and producer Evodie Ngueyeli is the artistic director of the festival. The QIDEF Residency - Quand l'idée devient un film (When the idea becomes a film) is a successful initiative of Mis Me Binga. The residency "QIDEF" aims: to encourage engaging scripts that through their theme and form bring new perspectives to cinema; to support the emergence of talented filmmakers from countries of the southern hemisphere; to make the "QIDEF" a "label" of quality and rigor; to be a valuable exchange of ideas between scriptwriters from different backgrounds and cultures. By selecting and supporting already developed scripts, and supervising their development within a rigorous schedule, "QIDEF" hopes to provide every opportunity for these projects to find artistic and financial partners. Similarly, ADAMIC (Association des Dames d'Image du Cameroun) founded in 2011 and presided by Elise Kameni has as its objective to promote and empower Cameroonian women in cinema. Another cinematic initiative is the International multicultural film festival of Ngaoundere, founded by Arice Siapi, who wears several hats, also as filmmaker and producer.

Like Sita Bella, who first gained recognition while working in diasporic space, there are cultural producers and thinkers of the second and third generation who have been cultivating their work beyond the boundaries of Cameroon. Pascale Obolo who has a pan-African approach to her art has lived outside of Cameroon since adolescence, but is very much connected to African-centred issues that she brings to her work. Osvalde Lewat circulates between the local Cameroonian scene and diasporic spaces and beyond, negotiating languages, diverse histories and cultures, as well as the moving image and photographic practices. Véronique N. Doumbé, a long-time New York resident, extends her imaginary to universal themes as well as African and U.S.-focused issues. Actress Constance Ejuma who was born in Cameroon and grew up in the United States, like many African women makers, plays multiple roles within the world of cinema. She is also a producer and plans to direct her own film. Similarly, U.S.-based Ellie Foumbi, who is also a producer, relates the experiences of an African American Mennonite for the subject of her thesis film.

French-born Josza Anjembe’s work is indicative of a generation born in the west of African parents who focus their lens on issues related to their country of birth such as her Cesar-nominated film French (Le bleu blanc rouge de mes cheveux), about the desire to acquire French citizenship. Françoise Ellong, who came to France as an adolescent, has a long list of cinematic accomplishments. She is representative of the millennial generation of African makers, who are transnational, multi-lingual and have digital-age savvy embedded within their imaginary.

Frieda Ekotto, Nathalie Etoké and Florence Ayisi whose cultural knowledge production in African film criticism is making a significant contribution to African women cinema studies, work in the Cameroonian diaspora. Frieda Ekotto and Nathalie Etoké teach in the U.S. academy—University of Michigan and Connecticut College respectively, while Florence Ayisi holds a post at the University of South Wales in the United Kingdom. Also like Sita Bella who used filmmaking as a means of communication in her profession as journalist, Ekotto and Ayisi employ filmmaking as a tool in their academic work and research.

Following is an impressive list of Cameroonian women in cinema, visual media and screen culture including, filmmakers, producers, critics, and scholars who live and work in Cameroon and the Cameroonian diaspora:

Marie Solange Amougou, Josza Anjembe, Eka Christa Assam, Dorothy A. Atabong, Rosalie Mbélé Atangana, Astrid Ariane Atodji, Florence Ayisi, Françoise Baba, Therese Nathalie Bell Seppo Eboue, Joséphine Bertrand-Tchakoua, Princess Manka Bridget, Agnès Djuimala, Stéphanie Dongmo, Véronique N. Doumbé, Hélène Ebah, Germaine Ebelle, Constance Ejuma, Yolande Ekoumou Samba, Françoise Ellong, Elisabeth Eteme, Nathalie Etoké, Carine Ezembe, Olive Ketsia Fodjon, Amboise Fogue, Estheline Sandrine Fomat, Margaret Fombé Fobé, Blandine Foumane, H. Carine Guekep, Delphine Itambi, Konham Augustine Kamani, Elise Kameni, Francine Kemegni, Dovie Kendo, Rosine Kenmoe Kenyou, Nancy Kienyo, Mireille Idelette Kouyembous, Patricia Kwende, Osvalde Lewat, Werewere Liking, Florane Malam, Gaêlle Laure Mawamba, Rosine Mbakam, Patricia Moune Mbede, Jerose Chantal Mbongue, Henriette Medoung, Sarah Muenge Nkwanyuo, Joyce Naah, Joséphine Ndagnou, Agnès Ndibi, Anne-Marie Ndjigi, Marculine Ngebe, Evodie Ngueyeli, Charlotte Ngo Manyo, Sandrine Ngueffo, Mary-Noël Niba, Dorine Nina Nyabeyeu, Florence Nkeng, Chantal Julie Nlend, Marie Désirée Nogo, Pascaline Ntema, Hortense Nyamen, Pascale Obolo, Liliane Honorine Oyongho Botiba, Arice Siapi, Thérèse Sita Bella, Venessa Ebote Sona, Petra Sundjo, Florence Tan, Viviane Tassi Bela, A. Zintsem Yolande Welimoum, Chantal Youdom, Agnès Yougang.

(1) Cited in "l'Afrique filmée par des femmes" by Elisabeth Lequeret, Le monde diplomatique, August 1998. « vous savez, le cinéma n’est pas une affaire de femmes. »

(2) Nouveaux visages/New Faces: Blandine Ngono Ambassa, Ecrans d’Afrique, No. 1, 1992. Ecrans d’Afrique marks 1989 as the date of the series while the Repertoire des réalisateurs Camerounais gives the time frame from 1986-1989.

(3) Cited in “Margaret Fombé Fobé” by Clément Tapsoba, Ecrans d’Afrique, No. 8, 1994, p. 26-27.

Report by Beti Ellerson

Articles on Cameroonian women in cinema, visual media and screen culture from the African Women in Cinema Blog

17 March 2018
Featuring Arice Siapi -Report - Part III: Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image | African Women Image Makers Cinema Days 2018

27 June 2017
Mis Me Binga 2017 : Women's cinema celebrated in Cameroon for the 8th time | Le cinéma féminin célébré pour la 8ème fois au Cameroun by/par Pélagie Ng'onana (Africiné) 

31 May 2017
Yolande Ekoumou Samba : Faire un Film de fiction : à l’intention des Profanes, Amateurs ou Débutants (To make a fiction film : for laypersons, enthusiasts or beginners) – Cameroun | Cameroon

10 March 2017
The girl-child as main protagonist in a selection of recent films by African women | La petite fille comme protagoniste principale dans une sélection de films récents par les réalisatrices africaines

03 March 2017
Luxor African Film Festival 2017: French | Le Bleu Blanc Rouge de mes cheveux (The blue-white-red of my hair) by/de Josza Anjembe (Cameroon | Cameroun)

09 February 2017
FESPACO 2017: Ashia by/de Françoise Ellong (Cameroon|Cameroun)

30 September 2016
Featuring Françoise Ellong - Report on Fokus: Sisters in African Cinema – Afrika Film Festival Cologne 2016

09 June 2016
Binga Talent 2016 - Call for applications | Appel à candidatures – Cameroon | Cameroun

06 May 2016
Ellie Foumbi launches the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for Zenith, a Columbia University Thesis Film (USA)

29 December 2015
Call for Applications | Appel à candidature - "QIDEF" 2016 : Scriptwriting residency, Cameroon | Résidence d'écriture, Cameroun

25 April 2015
Binga Talent 2015 : Call for Applications (Cameroon)

13 April 2015
The Mis Me Binga Association - Call for Applications: Scriptwriting residency "QIDEF", Cameroon

17 March 2015
LAFF 2015 - Astrid Ariane Atodji : La Souffrance est une école de sagesse | Suffering is a School of Wisdom

27 February 2015
FESPACO 2015 – Françoise Ellong: W.A.K.A - « pour son fils elle est prête à tout… » | “for her son she is ready for anything”

02 December 2014
With Ariane Astrid Atodji  - 11 African women filmmakers call upon Abdou Diouf to give effective support to Pan-African and Francophone cinema

28 November 2014
Constance Ejuma, producer-filmmaker-actor, discusses “Ben & Ara”, “Don’t Forget Me”, crowdfunding, and her Cameroonian identity

02 October 2014
W.A.K.A, a/un film by/de Françoise Ellong: analysis/analyse by/par Claudia Muna Soppo

23 September 2014
Examining the past to envision the future | Interroger le passé pour envisager le future by/par Stéphanie Dongmo on/sur Une feuille dans le vent – Leaf in the Wind by/de Jean-Marie Teno

13 November 2013
Frieda Ekotto: For an endogenous critique of representations of African lesbian identity in visual culture and literature

29 May 2013
Women in Film in Cameroon - Journal of African Cinemas : Celebrating 40 years of films made by women directors in francophone Africa

06 February 2013
FESPACO 2013 - Pascale Obolo : "Calypso Rose the lioness of the jungle"

09 January 2013
50 years ago Thérèse Sita-Bella directs "Tam Tam à Paris"

04 May 2012
"Le dos de la veuve" (the back of the widow), the politically committed documentary by Cameroonian Mary-Noël Niba, critique by Maturin Petsoko.

25 March 2012
Report on Mis Me Binga 2012, The third edition of the international women’s film festival

04 March 2012
Mis Me Binga 2012: The International Women’s Film Festival

21 December 2011
Françoise Ellong: “My passion for cinema follows me everywhere, all the time”

28 April 2011
Anne-Elisabeth Ngo-Minka: Le prix du sang (The price of blood) 

15 April 2011
Ariane Astrid Atodji: Koundi and National Thursday

02 March 2011
Mis Me Binga International Women's Film Festival 2011 2nd Edition

08 October 2010
A Conversation with Véronique Doumbe

03 October 2010
Foremothers in African Cinema: Thérèse Sita-Bella (1933-2006)

23 July 2010
Focus on Osvalde Lewat-Hallade

19 March 2018

Festival Africain des Films de Femmes Cinéastes (FAFFCI) | African Film Festival of Women Filmmakers - 2018 (Togo)

Festival Africain des Films de Femmes Cinéastes (FAFFCI) 
African Film Festival of Women Filmmakers 

The first edition of the Festival Africain des Films de Femmes Cinéastes | African Film Festival of Women Cineastes is being held in Lome and Agbodrafo, Togo from 10 to 20 March 2018. 

La première édition du Festival Africain des Films de Femmes Cinéastes se déroule du 10 au 20 mars 2018 à Lomé et Agbodrafo au Togo.

For this first edition a variety of activities are organised: Conferences, panels, consciousness raising sessions, a contest of documentary and fiction films made by all-women film crews, Masterclass entitled: “Mentoring women filmmakers for the advancement of the industry.” 

A key objective is to promote female leadership in cinema. Sonia Larissa Allaglo, head of the organising committee had this to say about the goals of the festival: 

"We want to involve women in the festivities of La Francophonie Day, to create and organise tutorials and support systems among established women filmmakers and newcomers in the field. 


Pour cette première édition, des conférences débats sont organisées. Il est également prévu des séances de sensibilisation. Des masters class sur les conditions des femmes dans l’espace cinématographique vont être animés par des spécialistes. Le festival organise surtout un concours de films documentaires et de films fictions. La compétition met l’accent sur les films tournés par des équipes techniques essentiellement féminines, le lancement d’une collaboration entre les femmes cinéastes avancées et les débutantes et le démarrage d’un projet intitulé : Encadrement des Femmes Cinéastes pour la Promotion de l’Industrie.

Promouvoir le leadership féminin dans le cinéma

Le festival africain des films de femmes cinéastes permet d’améliorer la performance des femmes cinéastes et techniciennes. Les participantes échangent aussi sur le métier du cinéma et la promotion du leadership féminin dans les activités des femmes cinéastes.

Le FAFFCI permet également de célébrer « le mois de la femme avec une implication active des femmes cinéastes ». « Nous voulons impliquer les femmes aux festivités de la journée de la francophonie, créer et organiser les tutorats et le système d’appui entre les femmes cinéastes qui ont fait leurs preuves de même que les débutantes », affirme Sonia Larissa Allaglo, responsable du comité d’organisation.


Première édition du FAFFCI au Togo : L’association PIAC innove dans le 7ème art

Le Togo accueille le premier festival des films de femmes cinéastes

Togo : la première édition du Festival africain des films de femmes cinéastes prévue en mars à Lomé

Togo : Un festival pour valoriser les femmes cinéastes

Les femmes cinéastes du monde se donnent rendez-vous en mars à Lomé pour la 1ère édition du FAFFCI

Des femmes cinéastes du monde entier se donnent rendez-vous au Togo pour un grand festival, une première

18 March 2018

Talents Durban 2018 Call for Entries


Talents Durban 
02 March 2018:

Calling emerging African film professionals
The 39th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal, with support from Berlinale Talents, is proud to announce the opening of applications for the 11th Talents Durban taking place from July 20 to 24, 2018.

Talents Durban opens entries to African screenwriters and directors with animation, fiction, documentary and hybrid projects in development. The programme will again welcome projects of all media formats such as film, television series, web series and content for mobile platforms.  The five-day event consists of workshops, discussions, screenings, and specialised programmes for specific disciplines including directing, scriptwriting and reviewing films for print and TV.

Talents Press will once again host mentorship and hands-on training for emerging film critics. The Talent Press programme is a co-operation with FIPRESCI and the Goethe-Institut.

Talents Durban offers…
This once in a life time opportunity affords participants Talents focused mentorships, industry specific expert master classes, workshops, and a creative platform for self-expression and networking. Additionally, Talents Durban will also cover participant’s accommodation, airfare and festival accreditation.

The program also ensures direct access to the DIFF screenings, masterclasses, networking sessions and other activities with experts and industry role players from around the world, Talents will gain a new understanding of not only their discipline but of others in an effort to increase collaboration and diversification.

2018 Focus and Theme
Africa’s animation industry is still very much in its infancy. It is a vibrant and exciting space with a lot of talent and growth, but there is still a lot of structure and development that has to happen for the industry to mature.

Talents Durban aims to remain the fertile soil for aspiring film professionals. We intend on bringing together highly skilled professionals to develop the animation industry and discover hidden gems. In this regard, the programme will focus on animation, with the aim to stimulate conversation and inspire filmmakers into the world of animation. 

This year’s theme “Breaking Rules” is a culmination of current topical issues on the African continent. The idea of breaking forth, expressing one’s individuality and creativity is difficult and somewhat near impossible in a continent filled with rules and boundaries. We live and breathe in a society of rules! Rules should not be broken at any given time. Too often we spend our time following rules without thinking twice. Some of these rules are spoken, but many of them are unspoken. We follow them because it’s simply easier to do.

For the longest time we’ve been boxed in, with boundaries placed on creativity levels and ways of expression. We need to break free from the dull and mundane rules of society. Break forth and embrace our diversity, our inimitable footprint and become masters of our own destinies. 

Rules were made to be broken!

Selection process 
Talents Durban attracts over 500 applications from emerging and already established film professionals across the African continent. This coming edition, Talents Durban will invite 15 Talents, carefully selected by an international selection committee. Prospective Talents are required to complete their application online provided they have a recognised sample of past work and an ongoing project.

How to apply?
Applications are now open, visit:

For more information contact;

Sinethemba Makrwalana 
(+27) 31- 260 1816

DEADLINE: 06 April 2018

Talent’s Durban is an initiative of the Durban International Film Festival in cooperation with Berlinale Talents, with support from the German Embassy of South Africa, the Goethe-Institute of South Africa, Gauteng Film Commission, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, and KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission. Through the international programme, with a network that extends to Talents International events in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Rio, Guadalajara, Sarajevo, Beirut and Tokyo, as well as Durban, participants are initiated into a global community of filmmakers and connected via a wide social network platform operated through the Berlinale.

Film Call Out for The AudiovisuElles Days 2018! | Appel à soumissions pour les Journées audiovisuElles 2018 !

Film Call Out for The AudiovisuElles Days 2018! | Appel à soumissions pour les Journées audiovisuElles 2018 !


Appel à soumissions pour les Journées audiovisuElles 2018!

Les Journées audiovisuElles se tiendront du 11 au 17 octobre à Ottawa dans le cadre du mois de l’Histoire de la Femme au Canada en octobre 2018!

En collaboration avec VisuElles Film Festival (ViFF) et le Groupe d’intervention Vidéo (GIV), le Mouvement Ontarien des Femmes Immigrantes Francophone (MOFIF) coordonne les Journées audiovisuElles 2018 avec l’objectif de promouvoir les œuvres audiovisuelles réalisées par des Femmes ou qui abordent des thématiques qui leur sont liées, sous diverses formes artistiques.

Nous lançons l’appel de soumission de films et VR dès maintenant!

Envoyez vos œuvres à visuellesfilmfestival(a) avant le 29 juin 2018 !


Film Call Out for The AudiovisuElles Days 2018! 

The AudiovisuElles Days is taking place for its first edition from October 11 to 17, 2018 in Ottawa within the month of Women’s History Month, October 2018!

In collaboration with VisuElles Film Festival (ViFF) and the Groupe d’Intervention Vidéo (GIV), the Mouvement Ontarien des Femmes Immigrantes (MOFIF), will coordinate the AudiovisuElles Days, to promote Women’s audiovisual works or works with a Women focus, in different type of visual art.

This year, the Festival will take place from October 11 until October 17th, with multiple screenings on various thematics. Send us your films and VR starting now!

Send us your works at visuellesfilmfestival(a) before  June 29th 2018 !

17 March 2018

Report - Part III: Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image | African Women Image Makers Cinema Days 2018

Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image African Women Image Makers Cinema Days, Ouagadougou 02 to 07 March 2018
Editor in Chief, Laurentine Bayala
Contributors : Rachelle Bengnime Some,
Photographer : Saïba Baguian

Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

The close of the 5th edition of the JCFA

The lanterns went out on Wednesday 7 March 2018 for the 5th edition of the Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africaine de l’Image. At the official closing ceremony at CENASA the Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism was in attendance along with numerous personalities and a large public to celebrate the women of the moving image who met the challenge, despite the difficult environment following recent attacks in Ouagadougou.

Speeches, trophy presentation, musical performance by Sister Doga, the closing film, were the highlights of the closing ceremony of the JCFA. According to the General Delegate of FESPACO: "This edition has made its mark. Apart from the opening ceremony, all the activities were carried out as planned, which are highlighted in this closing ceremony of the JCFA", thanks to the courage of these women to whom he paid tribute. For these women of the moving image, by continuing the festival, they sent a strong signal to the world. For their representative Naky Sy Savané "when the African woman stands, Africa moves forward", imploring the authorities that every effort should be made to further promote the JCFA. The Minister of Arts, Culture and Tourism was not indifferent to this message. On behalf of the Government, he congratulated and thanked them for this support. "You are more than sympathetic to our pain. You testify that Burkina Faso is still standing with its friends," he said. During the ceremony, film pioneer Aminata Ouedraogo-Bagayoko and actress Naky Sy Savané received tribute trophies. A minute of silence was observed in memory of the filmmaker Idrissa Ouedraogo and the soldiers who lost their lives during the 2 March terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou.

Bengnime Rachelle Some

Arice Siapi "Every time I come to Burkina Faso, I learn"

Arice SIAPI wears several hats. Promoter of the international multicultural film festival of Ngaoundere, she is also a filmmaker and producer. All this energy that she invests in cinema comes from her love for Ngaoundere, located 900 km from the capital of Cameroon: "My region is isolated from the bustling film culture of the major cities. Moreover, there is no meeting place between professionals. That is why I created this festival.”

Founded in 2009, the multicultural film festival gave her “luck” as there were few opportunities to excel in her art. Through the festival initiatives she was offered training in Europe to strengthen her skills after the screening of her film. Her experiences leads her to the conclusion that cinema is a profession where only the brave ones succeed: "you have to have willpower and tenacity.”

Now she wants to restructure the organisation of her festival to ensure its international reputation. FESPACO and the JCFA already inspire it. She intends to energise and mobilise women around cinematic activities in her native country: "Whenever I come to Burkina Faso, I learn something, even if the realities are not the same. This is the second time that I have attended the JCFA. I realise that there is work to be done at the level of women filmmakers in my country. I'm going to do outreach to women and women's associations so that we can get together to help each other.”

Arice Siapi, who has been an enthusiastic attendee of FESPACO since 2011, received the support of the General Delegate and the head of the festival department. In 2017 they made the trip to Ngaoundéré in order enhance the profile of her festival.

From her point of view, the film industry in Cameroon is in full bloom with the production of television series. However, part of the problem lies with the lack of screenwriters in cinema, because the scenarios tend to focus on telefilms.

By Laurentine Bayala

Au fantôme du père [To the ghost of the father] by Marie Laurentine Bayala: "Dad, where are you"

In this documentary, the director follows the path of mixed-race Franco-Burkinabe, Claire Lagedemond in her journey of identity to find her father, whom she has not seen since childhood. Born in Côte d’Ivoire, she grew up in the village. In Burkina, with her non-literate grandmother, she is now more than 40 years old and determined to find the father who for her has become a ghost. Also, Claire fights to prevent this same situation from happening to her son whose father is also absent. In this film, one has the impression of being transported into an investigation that goes from Ouagadougou to Abidjan, of which we absolutely want to know the outcome. All the ingredients seem to come together: A strong character, suspense and even a dose of humour. The other fact is that the film embodies the message taking the form of a filmed letter intended for the ghost-father. A message that will certainly be carried around the world and which may touch "Mr. Roger". Finally, "this film is an example of a woman’s courage and tenacity, despite her painful journey. It is Claire’s positivity that allowed us to believe in this project, which is now a reality", Laurentine Bayala said to an audience, that through their silence, laughter and comments was very touched by this story. The same is true of the committed production team that took nearly eight years to meet the challenge to see it to fruition. Claire is still pursuing her research. She has since found photographs of her parents. "This information could help to open the path in the hope of filming the reunion between father and daughter," the director hopes.

By Bengnime Rachelle Some

The 5th edition of JCFA closes its doors Wednesday, 7 March 2018. What were the filmgoers’ reactions to the films?

Camille Delevigne, teacher
I was able to attend two sessions at CENASA: a documentary on the rape of women, and a film from Mozambique. I really liked these films that touched on the historical realities of Mozambique and the situation in the DRC regarding the rape of women. We are comforted by the extraordinary work of Dr. Dénis Mukwenge, who we discovered through the magic of the image. We would have liked more people to see these kinds of film that deal with important issues.

Séré Madina, student
This is our first time coming to the JCFA. We came to see the film equipment in the gallery booths. We were able to operate some of the gear and it was really interesting. For the films, I was able to view a documentary on the women who fight everyday to succeed in life.

Ms. Isabelle Ouedraogo, cinephile
Thanks to the JCFA, I was able to see Frontières, a film that I was hoping to see for a long time. I enjoyed the acting and the theme. This film plunges us into the world of these dynamic women entrepreneurs through their experiences and their difficulties. They acted well and I congratulate them. I was able to meet and converse with Naky Sy Savané one of the actresses of the film. Frontières pays tribute to women especially at the eve of March 8th.

Love stronger than bullets

The train D 67 is leaving for Malawi. Will they arrive at their destination despite the soldier escort, which accompanies their movements since the war broke out in the country? Le train de sel et de sucre [The train of salt and sugar], a poignant film during which the characters are gradually revealed as the old and slow moving locomotive enters an increasingly hostile space rumbling with weapons. Despite the crackling of the bullets, a love story is born between nurse Rosa and a soldier, as if to say that love will always triumph over hatred, which is the source of war. How does one talk about the suspense that reaches its climax, when in the middle of the forest the train conductor discovers a skull planted on the rails ... It is a metaphor for life where despite obstacles, one must never abandon ones dreams. This Mozambican film by Licinio Azevedo, won the Golden Tanit at the Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia in 2017.

By Laurentine Bayala

Report - Part II: Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image | African Women Image Makers Cinema Days 2018

Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image African Women Image Makers Cinema Days, Ouagadougou 02 to 07 March 2018
Editor in Chief, Laurentine Bayala
Contributors : Rachelle Bengnime Some,
Photographer : Saïba Baguian

Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

The 5th edition of the Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image (JCFA): the theme “The African woman professional meeting the challenges of the digital age”. According to the responses of some professionals, this is a timely theme. Digital technology is a tool that should be of great assistance to women.

Claire Diao, distributor
For the distributor the medium itself is the challenge, how to render on the screen the good quality in terms of what was shot. As a distributor this is important because it incurs costs. Should it be distributed in DCP, on DVD, Blue Ray, using a USB stick? There is also the issue of sending the files. What do we do when we send a USB stick that never arrives, when sending a link to be downloaded and then there is the complaint that there is not a good Internet connection. I think that there are solutions, means to be devised so that the films can circulate, otherwise, films will be made and it will be impossible to diffuse them even in the digital age.

Kadi Sanogo, filmmaker
Nowadays, digital technology is in the process of taking the lead, facilitating the work of professionals in the film. If we look in our countries, a more and more films are being made every year, because of the accessibility of digital technology, the equipment is light and the cost is lower. It is therefore the moment to seize this opportunity in order to develop the cinema culture; however there needs training to better adapt to it.

Georgette Paré, actress
The advent of digital technology has triggered disruption. This is a boon to cinema in light of the possibilities that this technology offers. We were even lead to believe that with this tool, we would not be unemployed, which is not the case. It is true that it is accessible, that anyone can make images, but is that equivalent to films? Things must be restructured; in order to know this technology better and to take advantage of it as it should be done.

By Bengnime Rachelle Some

A gallery where you get to to see cameras

Different types of camera are exposed at the l’Institut de l’Image et du Son. Whether old or the latest trend, these tools are unveiled to the public for a better understanding of their attributes. Known as the "Galerie ciné équipement" [Cinema Equipment Gallery], this initiative aims to create exhibition and marketing spaces for film production equipment.

Film professionals and the public have the opportunity to revisit the evolution of the film camera and photo camera over time. They also have the possibility of having their devices repaired thanks to the technicians who are on site. Since the opening of the stands of the "Galerie ciné équipement", students from the city of Ouagadougou have been able to satisfy their curiosity by operating the rails or cranes. In addition to this moment of discovery, there is an impromptu workshop that allows young professionals to have feedback on their film projects: "it is an opportunity to have the point of view and the advice of Guy Désiré Yaméogo, a expert in screenwriting. This feedback will allow them to work through blockages" explains Mamounata Nikièma the initiator of the gallery.

She hopes to repeat this initiative at the fiftieth anniversary of FESPACO if the targeted audience shows interest in the event.

By Laurentine Bayala

"Tes cheveux démêlés cachent une guerre de sept ans’’ [Your untangled hair hides a seven-year war], the third documentary feature film by Algerian Fatima Sissani

"Tes cheveux démêlés cachent une guerre de sept ans’’ is the third documentary feature film by Algerian director Fatima Sissani. Released in 2017, the film tells the story of three women involved in the National Liberation Front (FLN). "Why did you become involved in Algeria's independence by joining the FLN?" This question was asked to Zoulikah Bekkadour, Alice Cherki and Eveline Safir Lavalette who decided to fight against the colonisation of Algeria in their youth. Silent for years, today, they agree to revisit colonial Algeria and convey the "secrets" of their fight. A fight, which according to them "is above all a duty of all citizens". Through newspapers, archival photos, nostalgic music, everything, the portrait of these three women brings us closer to understanding the war, the pangs of colonization, segregation, racism, anti-Semitism. Despite the clandestine activities, prison, torture, the psychiatric hospital, nothing could stop the determination of these fighters. An act of resistance hailed by the public who were touched by the experience of these women. One of the filmgoers says in this regard that this part of the history of Algeria is a landmark and must inspire the youth facing the new form of colonisation that Africa is presenting living. Thanks to the documentary, the venture has been won for the director who wants to revisit the history and preserve the memory of her country.

By Bengnime Rachelle Some

Report - Part I: Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image | African Women Image Makers Cinema Days 2018

Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image | African Women Image Makers Cinema Days, Ouagadougou 02 to 07 March 2018
Editor in Chief, Laurentine Bayala
Contributors : Rachelle Bengnime Some,
Photographer : Saïba Baguian

Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

Panel: "The women professional in the digital age"

On the occasion of the 5th edition of the Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image (JCFA), a panel was organized on Friday, 2 March 2018, on the theme of this edition, "The women professional in the digital age". The panelists were filmmakers Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda and Mamounata Nikiéma. Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda is a scriptwriter, director, producer, film teacher, writer and poet, has directed several films, including Le damier-papa national oye!, Article 15a bis, Afro@digital and Juju factory, all of which have won prestigious prizes at major festivals, moreover, he is the initiator of the Thomas Sankara prize at FESPACO. As for Mamounata Nikiema, she is director and producer, manager of Pilumpiku Production, author of several documentaries including Savoir raison garder and Lumière d'octobre. Before the panel presentations, the documentary Afro @ digital was screened to contextualise the discussions. Everyone agrees that digital technology has simplified the work of professionals, though to varying degrees. According to Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda, whose generation debuted with the 35 mm, Africa has lagged behind because no country has yet developed a digital policy and film industries are absent on the continent. Though digital technology offers more possibilities for cinema, there is nonetheless some misunderstanding.  By focusing on training, this situation could be changed through generational exchange, and the mastery of this tool by moving image professionals of the "digital generation". In this present group is Mamounata Nikiéma, who has been able to make her way into cinema thanks to the digital. For her, digital technology is a tool that has made it possible to democratise cinematographic practice, to organise the profession, to reduce certain costs and delays in post-production and to guarantee freedom of creation. Digital technology is especially a boon for women who can more easily coincide their role as filmmaker, mother and wife. It is this feeling that enlivens Naky Sy Savané actress and promoter of the Ivorian festival, for whom this theme comes at the right moment, as digital technology is in the process of imposing itself.

The panel was moderated by Claire Diao, film critic, co-founder of the pan-African cinema AWOTELE magazine and director of Sudu Connexion.

By Bengnimè Rachelle Some

Acting, film shooting and digital editing: professionals of the moving image take shape

The 5th African Women Image Makers Cinema Days (JCFA) held from March 2 to 7 in the capital of Burkina Faso. Like every edition, this festival gives pride of place to the training of moving image professionals. This year, the focus is on acting, film shooting and digital editing through two workshops. From 1-5 March 2018, at l’Institut supérieur de l’image et du son (ISIS-SE), about thirty trainees will familiarise themselves with or revisit the basic techniques in each of these sectors. The first training workshop on acting is delivered by Fabienne Bichet, professor of public speaking, and actir Ildevert Méda.

Shooting and Digital editing is conducted by Oumarou Kaboré of Media Africa, Jean Yves Nana of FESPACO and Paul JCFA Djibila of ISIS. For the content of the second workshop, Mr. Kaboré, who is one of the trainers, indicated that participants will attend theoretical and practical sessions. "We started with the theoretical aspects on the first day. We are going in the field for the next two days followed by editing sessions. And the content that has been produced will be presented at the closing ceremony, "he explained. Also, even if the digital has  facilitated the work of professionals, everything still needs a solid base, he added. More and more, we see women audiovisual professionals. Training is required to enable everyone to excel in her field.

By Bengnimè Rachelle Some

A tribute to Aminata Ouedraogo at the JCFA 2018
Activist at the very beginning for the promotion of the woman in the audio-visual professions, Aminata Ouedraogo receives a tribute by her pairs and the JCFA. On the eve of the launch of the festival, the women met with her in order to show their gratitude for all her actions. On this occasion, she received a present from the women filmmakers. The General Delegate of FESPACO, Ardiouma SOMA was part of the delegation to honour Aminata Ouédraogo. Even in retirement, she continues to share her experience with the younger generation in the Burkina Faso National Union of Women of the Image (UNAFIB). In addition to the films she made, Aminata helped in the organisational aspects of FESPACO and directed the film and television market.

The 5th edition of the Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africain de l'Image (JCFA): the theme “The African woman professional meeting the challenges of the digital age”. According to the responses of some professionals, this is a timely theme. Digital technology is a tool that should be of great assistance to women. Presently, women are in all sectors of cinema and we know that in everyday life, women work more than everyone else. It allows women to better reconcile their family life and their profession. For example, at the same time remaining within the household environment, she is able to run her business, organise her festival, send emails, do long-distance interviews and make video conferences. Digital technology can therefore be a contribution to the work we do if we know how to use it. There are many pitfalls with these technologies, which means we have to use them intelligently.

Melanie de Vales Rafael: "The nurse who wants to save the war-wounded in Le train du sel et du sucre "
Melanie de Vales Rafael, an actress for 8 years, made her break through on the screen in the role of Nuta in "The Republic of Children" accompanied by American actor Danny Glover. Since then, she continues filming in her country Mozambique in"Under the full moon", then in the film "The Train of Salt and Sugar" the opening film at JCFA 2018. "I am a nurse from a wealthy family living in the South. But when the war breaks out in the north of the country, I leave it with the hope of healing the war wounded, "says Melanie. In Ouagadougou, she is the ambassador for this film, directed by Licinio Azevedo who was nominated at the 2018 Oscars "The film was selected for this year's Oscars, but we did not have enough money to do the campaign. Still we are proud that the film was selected, even if in the end we were not among the finalists "she adds. Mozambican cinema is in its infancy, according to the actress, since a film is only produced every 4 years. "We have a great deal of growing pains with many challenges such as looking for funding." Optimism is allowed for this young actress who is also fashion model.

Apolline Traore wins awards beyond our borders
Frontières won Best Film in Los Angeles in the United States during the Pan African Film and Art Festival from 8-19 February. Apolline Traoré dedicated her award to Idrissa Ouédraogo who had just passed away. This is a reminder that through art, the festival creates a greater understanding among afrodescendants.

Khouribga Festival 2018 the Egyptian Kamla Abu Zekri wins the Ousmane Sembène Award
For her film Un jour pour les femmes [A day for women] Kamla Abu Zekri was awarded the Ousmane Sembène prize at the 20th edition of the Khouribga African Film Festival.

Her feature film uses as pretext the news of the opening of a pool in a popular neighbourhood and the fact that it is open only to women on Sunday, to show, with subtlety and mastery, a space of externalizing feelings and unveiling personalities.

By Laurentine Bayala