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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31 December 2010

African Women in Cinema Highlights of 2010

This list is not exhaustive, it is a modest attempt to highlight significant events relevant to African Women in Cinema.

Mati Diop (France-Senegal), winner of the Tiger Award for Best Short Film at the Rotterdam International Film Festival for the film Atlantiques, February.

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe (Nigeria) is selected for the Pan African Film Festival/Africa (PAFF) Channel Visionary Award for her efforts in promoting African culture through her internationally recognized African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), February.

From a Whisper by Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya) - Award for Best Narrative Feature. PAFF Filmmaker Awards « Pan African Film and Arts Festival, February.

Des journées cinématographiques de la femme africaine de l'image is launched in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 3-8 March.

African Movie Academy Awards (March) -
Best Director - The Perfect Picture (Ghana) Shirley Frimpong Manso
Special Jury Prize - I Sing of a Well (Ghana) Leila Djansi 
Best film for an African language film - Imani (Uganda) Caroline Kamya 

First edition of "Mois du cinéma féminin" in Dakar, launched by l’Association sénégalaise des critiques de cinéma (ASCC), every Saturday during the month of March.

Special mention to Atlantiques, by Mati Diop (France-Senegal) - Cinéma du Réel - Paris, France, March.

The 32nd Festival international de film de femmes/International Women's Film Festival at Créteil presents the program Trans-Europe-Afrique. Homage to Safi Faye (Senegal). 2-11 April.

Dyana Gaye (Senegal) was among the winners at the 32nd Festival International de films de femmes: Meilleur court-métrage français/Best French short for the film: Un transport en commun/St. Louis Blues, April.

Vues d'Afrique Festival (Montréal) Zem la serie (Angela Aquereburu-Togo), special mention, Prix OIF - Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and special mention for Bidenam, l'espoir d'un village (2009) by Gentille M. Assih (Togo), April.

Prix Annette Mbaye d’Erneville created by the Agence de Presse Sénégalaise, May.

Maji-da Abdi, Paris-based Ethiopian producer-filmmaker launches "Images That Matter International Short Film Festival" (ITMSFF) in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, June.

African Women in Film Forum. Nollywood Women and the Dynamics of Representation held 16-17 June 2010 in Lagos, Nigeria.

Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) Awards (July)
Golden Dhow - Best Feature Film - Themba by Stefanie Sycholt (South Africa)
Silver Dhow - Best Feature Film - Imani by Caroline Kamya (Uganda)
Golden Dhow - Special Jury Prize - Pumzi by Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya)

Nikyatu Jusu (USA-Sierra Leone) is the winner of the Shadow And Act $3300 Filmmaker Challenge, August.

Goethe-Institut-hosted African Women Filmmaker’s Forum, a gathering of 25 women filmmakers of all levels of experience from sub-Saharan Africa, the USA and Germany to network and gain inspiration from colleagues. 1-4 September, Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Women of the Sun Film Festival. Johannesburg, South Africa, 3-9 September.

Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya) hosts a special screening of Pumzi on September 11th at the Venice Film Festival as winner of the “Prize City of Venice”. The prize goes “to an artist who with his work makes the cinema of his country appreciated and who is thus capable of stimulating its development. A filmmaker who, by prompting the artistic, social and ethical involvement of other filmmakers,makes cinema a mirror of life and of the reality of which it is an expression.”

Claude Haffner (Congo-France) is among the recipients of the PUMA.Creative Catalyst Award for documentary film, September.

Soul Boy by Hawa Essuman (Ghana-Kenya) carries the largest number of winners with three awards (Kalasha Awards, Kenya): Best Short Film, Best Lead Actor (Samson Odhiambo) and Best Scriptwriter (Billy Kahora), September.

Wanuri Kahiu receives the Kalasha Awards (Kenya) Best Director honor for Pumzi, Septemer.

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe (Nigeria) is selected as TED Fellow, October.

Asmari Beraki (USA-Eritrea) is among the 2011 Artist Fellows, awarded a grant by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Washington DC, October.

Yetnayet Bahru (Ethiopia) receives the Emerging Filmmaker Award, Silicon Valley African Film Festival, October.

Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya) wins the Silver Tanit for her film Pumzi at the JCC - Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage, October.

Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe presents the 9th edition of the International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF), the only professional women's festival south of the Sahara (founder and director Tsitsi Dangarembga). Running under the theme "Women of Decision", which investigates among other things, the societal pressures women face when making decisions for themselves, their families, and the community, November.

Sarah Bouyain (France-Burkina Faso), winner of the Grand Prize feature film (Licorne d'Or) at the 30th Festival International du Cinéma d'Amiens for Notre étrangère, November.

The third edition of Festival7Quartiers (Brazzaville) presents: "La femme et le cinéma dans la société" - Women and cinema in society (founder and director Nadège Batou), December.

The first edition of the Ghana movie Awards 2010. Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Sting in A Tale (Ghana) wins a total of 5 awards including Best Directing, Best Original Music, Best Screenplay, Best Score, and Best Cinematography. Leila Djansi (Ghana) wins Best Picture, Best Art Direction, Best Wardrobe, Best Movie (West African Collaboration) for the film Sinking Sands, December.

Vilole Images Productions hosted the View Special Images Film Festival mini-festival in commemoration of World AIDS Day, 1 December and the International Day of the Disabled, 3 December. Musola Cathrine Kaseketi (Zambia) is founder and director of the festival.

African Film Festival Inc. (New York), founded by Mahen Bonetti of Sierra Leone, who is Executive Director, releases Through African Eyes Volume 2: Conversations with the Directors, December.

29 December 2010

Through African Eyes: Conversations with the Directors Volume 2

Announcing the African Film Festival (New York) release of Through African Eyes: Conversations with the Directors, Volume 2. The African Film Festival (New York) was founded by Mahen Bonetti of Sierra Leone, who is the Executive Director.

From back cover:

Survey African cinema through candid, revealing conversations with thirty of its most vibrant and innovative voices!

Volume 2 of African Film Festival, Inc.'s series, Through African Eyes, continues the conversation begun in 2003's Dialogues with the Directors. In Volume 2: Conversations with the Directors, thirty new voices join this dynamic discussion through one-on-one interviews and group conversations, exploring their own personal experiences and examining the landscape of African cinema fifty year after its inception. Together, they illuminate trends in African filmmaking, ranging from emerging regional film industries and evolving gender dynamics to the redefinition of the very term "African filmmaker."

Featured Interviews

Mahen Bonetti with Françoise Bouffault
Moustapha Alassane with Gaston Kaboré; Haile Gerima with Mbye Cham; Ngozi Onwurah with Simon OOnwurah; Fanta Régina Nacro with Guetty Felin; Zézé Gamboa with Yara Costa Pereira; Cheick Fantamady Camara with Françoise Bouffault;  Mama Keïta and Zeka Laplaine with Caroline Pochon;  Jean-Michel Kibushi Ndjata Wooto with Paula Callus; Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, Omelihu Nwanguma, and Seke Somolu with Kaine Agary; Khalo Matabane and Xoliswa Sithole with Nomsa Mwamuka; Khaled Benaissa Brahim Fritah, and Kamal El Mahouti with Rasha Salti; George Amponsah and Zina Saro-Wiwa with Oladipo Agboluaje; Rehad Desai and François Verster with Kristin Pichaske; Jihan El-Tahri with Alonzo Rico Speight; Osvalde Lewat and Katy Lena Ndiaye with Aurélien Bodinaux; Tsitsi Dangarembga with June Givanni; Dyana Gaye with James Schamus; Wanuri Kahiu, Judy Kibinge, and Lupita Nyong'o with Ekwa Masangi-Omari; and Ousmane Sembene with Mamadou Niang and Samba Gadjigo.

Critical Essays
Reading the Trajectory of Postcolonial African Cinema by Mamadou Diouf; Regional Developments by Sean Jacobs and Adam Esrig; Writing on Walls: The Documentary Tradition by Jean-Marie Teno; The Evolution of Women in Cinema by Beti Ellerson; and A Lesson in Cinema by Mamadou Niang.

13 December 2010

Sisters of the Screen: Reflections on a Decade

The African Women in Cinema Project culminated with the publication of the book, Sisters of the Screen: Women of Africa on Film, Video and Television in 2000. The film documentary, Sisters of the Screen: African Women in the Cinema was completed two years later.  The Project emerged out of my research on African women in visual culture and my desire to find a paradigm for reading visual representation of and by African women. In 1996 I undertook the project as a Rockefeller Humanities fellow, with the objective to make a critical inventory of the works, thoughts, and practices of African women in the various areas of the moving image. Realizing the “fixity” of the book and film structure, the emergence of the Internet provided a virtual space for the fluid inclusion of new information. Thus the online extension of the African Women in Cinema project launched in 2004, which evolved into the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema in 2008. Moreover, the African Women in Cinema Blog, the African Women in Cinema Vlog (Video Log) and the Facebook pages demonstrate the desire to be a part of the developing trends in new media. Here I will reflect on the African Women in Cinema Project from its inception in 1996 when it was first formulated to the present. Thus, discussing tendencies, activities and initiatives.

How is African cinema visualized, described, experienced, theorized, and interpreted by the women who circulate, navigate, and negotiate in the diverse areas of this world?  Is there a woman's sensibility, a female imaginary, a woman's visual text, a female gaze?  Who are their models, their references?  What are the specificities of their experiences in cinema?  What are their struggles, accomplishments, goals, and objectives?  What are African representations of female subjectivity? These were the questions that I sought to answer.

"African women in the cinema" is not a monolith; the disparate technologies, locations, and conditions in which African women work attest to this. Nonetheless, women from every region of Africa use the diverse mediums of the moving image to produce feature, short, documentary, animation and télé films, that are shown in movie houses, at film festivals, cultural centers, on television and the Internet. While they come to cinema along different paths, for different reasons, and at different moments, they share a common goal: to bring images to the screen. The Sisters of the Screen Project covered a continuum of experiences: from the pioneer women to women film students who were making their debut in the film arena. Producers, film critics, and organizers are an integral part of the filmmaking process and their perspectives added an important dialogue to the conversation. Actors, the visible subjects on the screen, voiced their thoughts about African cinema and their role in the larger context of visual representation, culture, and society.

The conversations reflect the wide spectrum of voices that shape the cinema of African women. Some shared stories of their journey along the path to cinema, others shared personal feelings around identity and its influence on their work. Some focused on the themes of their work, spanning the personal to the political. Their films probed intimate and personal issues around sexuality, women's responses to male infidelity, conjugal violence, and arranged marriages. The films also examined societal laws and statutes that deny women's personal, legal, and human rights. They probed broader political concerns of democracy and free elections, and the consequences of civil war and its devastating effect on women and children. Some women talked about their direct involvement in national liberation struggles and the importance of raising consciousness around AIDS and other health issues, as well as women's literacy and education. Still others contemplated their role as communicator and catalyst for change, stressing the need for women to organize among themselves and come together as a collective body to realize their objectives. As their diverse experiences converged under their common interest in cinema, the thread that wove their voices together was their commitment to visualizing their stories.
Fast forward: if one were to judge from the flurry of initiatives focusing on African women in cinema since the late 1980s it would seem that they have finally secured a visible position in the 7th art. And yet, film production, distribution and exhibition of films by African women remain a challenge; meetings and published documentation continue to be sporadic. If the life span of the FEPACI-sponsored Ecrans d’Afrique (1991-1998) is an indication of the possibility of a Pan-African critique of cinema, a closer look must be made. The future? I offer prospects since the decade of new technologies. While the organizing efforts of African women in the cinema remain modest, due to the vast resources needed to sustain such a project, the die has been cast.  The Internet has become an important tool: websites and blogs, social networking, video sharing, language translation tools and infinite other possibilities. Moreover, the fledgling African Women Cinema Movement is taking shape. Film distributors are expressing increasing interest in acquiring films by African women. Festivals and conferences devote categories for African women's films. University course syllabi include films by and articles about African women in the cinema, and in more and more cases entire courses or seminars are being created. University theses and extensive research projects on African women in the cinema are increasingly visible. All are collectively contributing to an African Women Cinema Studies. 

At the time, the title “sisters of the screen" provoked a kindred spirit among women where the screen was their ultimate point of convergence.  On the screen is where their images are read—a movie screen, television screen, video screen or computer screen.  Whether as director, producer, film festival organizer, actor, or critic—that space, the screen, is the ultimate site from which the moving image is viewed, interpreted, understood. The notion of cinema as the feature film projected on a big screen viewed by large audiences in cinema houses is no longer the reality in the age of new media, video on demand, video streaming. And thus, African women have positioned themselves to take full advantage of the global screen culture that has emerged during the first decade of the 21st century, and with it the technological, social and cultural transformation and evolution that this will bring.

Parts of the text are drawn from the Preface of Sisters of the Screen: Women of Africa on Film, Video and Television.

--by Beti Ellerson

07 December 2010

Sara Gubara: Her Father’s Eyes (Sudan)

Sara Gubara’s extraordinary story of perseverance and resolve begins early as a young child. The daughter-father triumph over many obstacles and challenges spans the lifetime of Gadalla Gubara who died in 2008, and continues today as Sara carries the torch of his dreams. At three years old, young Sara was stricken with polio, the family facing the bleak diagnosis that nothing could be done. Gadalla does not accept this fate, devoting himself to his daughter’s recovery. She was encouraged to swim and at twelve years old competes internationally. Moved by Sara’s incredible accomplishment, Gadalla made the documentary Viva Sara, which would later inspire the fiction film Sarahsarà (1994) by Renzo Martinelli.
Sara Gubara journeyed into cinema through her father’s footsteps and as a team they directed more than 40 films. The pioneer of Sudanese cinema, Gadalla Gubara created his own company, Gad Studios, after managing the mobile cinema of the Sudanese Ministry of Information. Through his indefatigable efforts, single handedly he forged a Sudanese cinema infrastructure, producing some 300 documentaries. However, in 1998, Gadalla’s sudden blindness thrust Sara into the forefront. At her father’s side, she became his eyes: “On the film, I work as his eyes. Sometimes we argue about some things but still, we cooperate well together.”

Sara’s film The Lover of Light (2004) is both a metaphor of Gadalla Gubara and of his interest in bringing social issues to light through filmmaking. Taking the torch of her father, Sara is determined to keep filmmaking alive in Sudan: “I love cinema and because of my father—I think he is a brave man to own a studio in Sudan—I don’t want this to die.”

Their last work, Les Miserables, a Sudanese adaptation of the Victor Hugo classic, produced in 2004, is a tribute to the enormous struggle of the Sudanese people against injustice and poverty. The film is about a desperately poor man who commits a minor theft and is punished without compassion: “I brought my daughter, she read the scenario to me, she understood the scenes and she became the director of the film “Les Miserables”. I consider my daughter a part of me, she understands me very much."

Aljazeera: The Home Song Stories (The Gubaras are featured at 8:00/12:59):

Short interview of Sara Gubara by 

01 December 2010

African Women in Cinema Confront AIDS

African Women in Cinema have long used film as a means to raise consciousness about diverse issues related to their communities and the continent as a whole.

Fanta Nacro (Burkina Faso) has been at the forefront in this regard, utilizing cinema to confront the AIDS crisis in Africa, producing documentary films such as, En parler ça aide (2002); Vivre positivement (2003), Never Alone, A Call to Action, No Time to Drop Your Guard, and an impressive collection of films produced for Scenarios from Africa/Scenarios d'Afrique (2003-2004): A Call to Action, A Love Story, A Ring on Her Finger, The Champion, Iron Will, Peace of Mind, Never Alone, The Reasons for a Smile, Tiger Tigress. In the same Scenarios from Africa series, Looking for a Brave Man by Kidi Bebey (Cameroon) explores relationships in the age of AIDS. A young woman seeking a serious relationship, insists that her partner act responsibly and be willing to take the AIDS test. Le Truc de Konate (Konate's Thing), 1998), a humorous short fiction film by Nacro was very popular with the audiences in Burkina Faso. The film blends traditional skepticism of new ideas, masculine virility and honor, and emerging female consciousness. 

On a more somber note Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga's Everyone's Child (1995) deals with the daunting consequences for the children who are left to fend for themselves when their parents die from the devastating affects of AIDS. Similiarly, one of the themes in Musola Cathrine Kaseketi's film Suwi recounts the tender story of the young Bupe, who in the end finds a happy home. Tumaini by Beatrix Mugishagwe (Tanzania) is also a tale of hope.

Kenyan Wajuhi Kamau, who works in the Film Production Department of the Educational Media Service of the Minister of Education, emphasizes the effectiveness of video as a means of educating people about issues from AIDS to family planning. Using both the documentary and drama presentations, the objective of the Educational Media Service is to take the results to the people who then see themselves reflected in the images, "when you see yourself, you see your situation, then it is easy to remember and change attitudes and behavior." Zimbabwean Prudence Uriri focuses on issues related to AIDS and health in general. Madizela and Samora (2003) commissioned by UNESCO and Life (2002), produced by Rooftop Promotions were two AIDS-focused films made by Uriri. In her role as filmmaker, she sees the importance of opening a dialogue about the problems that people face so that they may be better informed of the situation.

Looking for a Brave Man by Kidi Bebey

Everyone's Child by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Suwi by Musola Cathrine Kaseketi

A Love Story by Fanta Nacro

Link to other films by Fanta Nacro in the Scenario for Africa Series

Some parts of this text were published in the 30 November 2009 post: A Call to Action: UN Themes and African Women in Cinema.

29 November 2010

Françoise Pfaff: A l'écoute du cinéma sénégalais (In tune with Senegalese cinema)

Françoise Pfaff:
À l'ecoute du cinéms sénegalais (In tune with Senegalese cinema)
Version française ci-après
Published in French, A l'écoute du cinéma sénégalais (L'Harmattan: Images plurielles, 2010) by Françoise Pfaff, may be loosely translated as "In tune with Senegalese cinema."

"This book depicts the state of Senegalese cinema some 50 years after its emergence through the works and voices of 22 filmmakers representing various generations and different cinematic trends. Who are these men and women behind their cameras? How do they live? What do they think? What are their resources and methods of work? What role have they chosen to play in the unraveling of time and an ever-encroaching globalization? How will they develop their cinema while asserting their socio-cultural uniqueness? How do digital technologies influence their trade? How will their films serve as memories for the future? Are their aspirations and challenges essentially Senegalese or are they to be found on an African or even worldwide scale? What does the New Wave of Senegalese directors have to say? How do they compare with their elders?

With seriousness and sparks of biting humor, these film practitioners speak about their training, the themes and aesthetics of their works, as well as matters of production and distribution. In doing so, they illustrate the wealth of their cultural matrix and reflect a humanism which is both lucid and generous. The issues on which they focus are of interest to people versed in the arts, history, sociology, anthropology, politics and economics."

Photo credit: María Roof
Born and educated in Paris, Françoise Pfaff is Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Howard University (Washington, DC.), where she also teaches courses on literature and film from France, West Africa, and the Caribbean. She has published numerous articles and four books on African cinema: The Cinéma of Ousmane Sembène, A Pioneer of African Film (Greenwood Press, 1984), Twenty-five Black African Filmmakers (Greenwood Press, 1988), Focus on African Films (Indiana University Press,  2004), and A l’écoute du cinéma sénégalais (L’Harmattan, 2010). She is also the author of a book on the Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé entitled Entretiens avec Maryse Condé (Karthala, 1993), which she translated into English as Conversations with Maryse Condé (University of Nebraska Press, 1996).

Françoise Pfaff:
À l'ecoute du cinéms sénegalai
Cet ouvrage présente l'état des lieux du cinéma sénégalais 50 ans après son émergence, à travers les témoignages de 22 cinéastes de tendances et de générations différentes. Qui sont ces hommes et ces femmes derrière leurs caméras ? Quelles sont leurs vies, leurs idées, leurs visions, leurs oeuvres, leurs ressources et leurs méthodes de travail ? Quel rôle s'assignent-ils dans la marche de temps et une mondialisation qui gagne sans cesse du terrain ? Quelles voies prônent-ils pour le développement de leur cinéma et l'affirmation de leur spécificité socioculturelle ? Que change pour eux le numérique ? Comment constituent-ils une mémoire cinématographique de leur époque ? Leurs aspirations et leurs défis sont-ils essentiellement sénégalais ou se retrouvent-ils à l'échelle africaine, voire planétaire ? Que dit la nouvelle vague des jeunes cinéastes sénégalais ? Avec sérieux mais aussi avec humour, ces réalisateurs parlent de leur formation, de leurs thématiques, de leur esthétique, de la production et de la distribution de leurs films, ainsi que de leur pays, de l'Afrique mais aussi du monde. Ce faisant, ils nous réverbèrent les richesses de leur matrice culturelle, et font souvent preuve d'un humanisme à la fois lucide et généreux. Ce qu'ils ont à dire présente un intérêt artistique, historique, sociologique, anthropologique, politique et économique.
Photo credit: María Roof

Françoise Pfaff, d'origine alsacienne et guadeloupéenne, est née à Paris où elle a effectué toutes ses études. Elle réside depuis des années aux Etats-Unis où elle est professeur à Howard University (Washington D.C.). Elle y enseigne le français, les cinémas et littératures des pays francophones d'Afrique et de la Caraïbe. Elle a publié de nombreux articles ainsi que trois livres sur le cinéma africain: The Cinema of Ousmane Sembene, A Pioneer of African Film (Greenwood Press, 1984), Twenty-Five Black African Filmmakers (Greenwood Press, 1988) et Focus on African Films (Indiana University Press, 2004). Elle est aussi l'auteur d'un ouvrage sur l'écrivaine antillaise Maryse Condé, Entretiens avec Maryse Condé (Karthala, 1993), qu'elle a traduit en anglais sous le titre de Conversations with Maryse Condé (University of Nebraska Press, 1996).

(Re)Discover: Françoise Pfaff

(Re)Discover: Françoise Pfaff

Françoise Pfaff, professor emerita of Howard University (Washington DC, USA), a pioneer of African Cinema Studies in the United States, has a foot in three continents—France, the Americas and Africa.

Links to articles on the African Women in Cinema Blog:

Françoise Pfaff, a "regard croisé:

Françoise Pfaff: A l'écoute du cinéma sénégalais (In tune with Senegalese cinema)


23 November 2010

Akosua Adoma Owusu’s Triple Consciousness

Akosua Adoma Owusu begins her filmmaker's statement with the enduring reflection of the renowned intellectual W.E.B. Dubois:

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife — this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He wouldn't bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.

According to Owusu, while African Americans experience the double consciousness that W.E.B. Dubois describes, the African immigrant encounters a triple consciousness:

The African immigrant is unlike the African American who has a double consciousness. The African immigrant has a triple consciousness. The African immigrant has to assimilate in white American culture in order to succeed in American society. The African immigrant is grouped and identified with African Americans in the eyes of others because of their shared skin color. Yet the African does not always identify with African American culture and history. Along with the African immigrant’s triple consciousness, he has to deal with the African world and his or her own line of descent. Me broni ba Website - No longer available

Her “warring consciousness” as she describes it, becomes the point of departure for her film Me broni ba (my white baby). Using hair as a medium of culture, she examines African and African-American identities and ideologies in an effort to resolve their differences.

Me broni ba is inspired by the experiences of Adoma’s sister who as a child was fascinated with white people’s hair, as well as her own observations, during her travels to Ghana, of girls using white dolls to practice hair braiding.  This relationship to the white doll raises the vexed question of the exportation and internalization of white standards of beauty in Africa. Thus a parallel to the triple consciousness among the African immigrant population—an “exteriorized consciousness” that Africans experience, though not in the context of assimilation but rather of interiorizing a western aesthetic leading to a similar double consciousness to which Dubois refers, in the form of an African/Western dichotomy.

In the United States, Owusu reflects a growing population of Neo-African Diasporans, whose experiences highlight a recent debate on the differences between African Americans and Africans in America; the former, descendants of enslaved Africans having endured the transatlantic slave trade and U.S. slavery, and the latter, diverse groups having largely migrated to the United States post-African independence and who constitute the “Neo-African Diaspora”. 

Me Broni Ba by Akosua Adoma Owusu (Trailer) 


Me Broni Ba Website - NO LONGER AVAILABLE. Last accessed November 23, 2010.

“My Films Are Manifestations of My Warring Consciousness” Interview with Akosua Adoma Owusu by Jacobia Dahm for MTV - NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Movie Review: My White Baby by Jacobia Dahm for MTV IGGY - NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Updated to include recent films.

15 November 2010

International Images Film Festival for Women 2010 presented by Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe

From the International Images Film Festival For Women (IIFF) 2010 E-Catalogue


It is with great pleasure that Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe presents the 9th edition of the International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF), the only professional women's festival south of the Sahara. Running under the theme WOMEN OF DECISION which investigates among other things, the societal pressures women face when making decisions for themselves, their families, and the community, IIFF will continue to stand out as a festival where people are not only entertained but are also educated and inspired.

IIFF received an overwhelming response of more than 100 films of different genres from across the globe. The selection was stiff but IIFF is proud to say more and more women are coming out of their closets to tell their stories and through their eyes. Screenings will be held at Ster Kinekor - Eastgate, Alliance Française and the Zimbabwe German Society in Harare where the premier television showcase, INPUT will take place. The Bulawayo leg of the festival will be celebrated at the Stanley Hall in Makokoba and finally for the first time ever, the Gwanda community will get an opportunity to watch the films at the Edward Ndlovu Memorial Library.

This year, IIFF incorporates some exceptional local films and therefore sees it fitting to open and close with local productions. The Ndichirimupenyu (While I Am Still Alive) Awards will this year take place in collaboration with UNIFEM during a special event on Gender Based Violence.

In attendance will be acclaimed filmmakers from Belgium, Britain, Poland, Belgium, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia taking part in different training workshops. As always, it is necessary for us to thank the people without whose help this festival would not be possible. In particular, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to SIDA, Culture Fund, UNIFEM and Afrykamera, the corporate world for coming on board as well as friends, partners who have always supported IIFF. WFOZ team, your support is appreciated. We would also like to thank the audiences who love and support IIFF.

Yvonne Jila
Programmes Officer


AN UNCOMMON WOMAN dir. Abdoulaye Dao
Burkina Faso 2008, Feature, 100mins, DVD
Mina, the Chairperson and Managing Director, decided to have co-spouses. For which reason! Her husband Dominique, unemployed ‘was cooing’ with Aicha, the neighbor’s wife…

AT STAKE dir. U. Agustin, M. Ichsan, L. Kuswandi, I. Setiewan, A. E.Susanti
Indonesia, 2008, Documentary 127mins, DVD
At stake is a brave and eye-opening documentary anthology tackling taboo issues that many women are facing in the world’s most populous Islamic country, Indonesia. Topics range from female genital mutilation to the conflict that arises when unmarried women want to go to the gynecologist.

France 2008, Documentary, 110mins, 35mm
Agnès Varda explores her memories, mostly chronologically, with photographs, film clips, interviews, reenactments, and droll, playful contemporary scenes of her narrating her story.

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE dir. Vahur Laiapea
Estonia 2008, documentary, 58mins, DVD
From every corner of Estonia, mentally challenged young women are preparing for the beauty pageant Miss Vaimukad. The winner goes on to make her own movie.

BETWEEN THE CUP AND THE ELECTION dir. Monique Mbeka Phoba& Guy Kabeya Muya
DRC/Belgium 2008, documentary, 56mins, DVD
The Leopards, Zaire’s 1974 world-cup team, where are they today.Did they vanish into obscurity or are they running for political office? DRC’s veteran filmmaker Monique Phoba can tell...

BOLLYWOOD BOUND dir. Nisha Pahuja
Canada 2001, Documentary, 85mins, DVD
Bollywood Bound is a feature length documentary which tells the story of four young Indo Canadians who return to Bombay to find fame and fortune in the Hindi film industry, and who are at various stages of success.

BURNING MAN, THE dir Adze Udjah
SA 2008, Documentary, 24mins, DVD
Burning Man is a story of a Mozambican man burnt to death by a xenophobic mob in South Africa. Nigerian Filmmaker Adze Udjah follows his footsteps.

CATCH 22 dir. Simbi Gibson
Namibia 2010, Documentary, 24mins, DVD
A young lady is trapped between two choices, to kill her unborn baby and get her prestigious dream job or to keep the baby and lose the job.

CAMEL THORNS dir. Genevieve Tanya Detering
Namibia 2010, Short Film, 17mins, DVD
Set in Namibia, Africa, this short film serves as a teaser for a feature project and tells the story of two girls, Marie (Nicole Davidow) and Jessica (Klara Mudge) who find themselves in a threatening and life-altering situation.

Denmark/Kenya 2010, Documentary, 29mins, DVD,
“Rose Nyambura is among the characters featured in the film Challenges Of Our Time portraying lives of women in Kenya. Rose is living in Korogocho, a slum dwelling just outside Nairobi, with her grandmother.

CRIES AT NIGHT dir. Oshosheni Hiveluah
Namibia, 2009, Short Film,13mins, DVD
Lazurus’ niece is involved in an accident where he meets Victor. Something about Victor leaves Lazurus restless and he can’t forget the encounter or the man.

CRY OF THE SEA dir. Aicha Thiam
Senegal 2008, Documentary, 26mins, DVD
The “cry of the Sea” is the struggle of a mother, Yaye Bayam DIOUF, who lost her only
son in a dugout (or boat) for the Canary Islands.

ESTERHAZY dir Izabela Plucinska
Poland/ Germany, 2009, Short Film, 23mins, DVD
The story of a small Esterhazy and his research of Bunnies’s Paradies that truly existed between East and West part of the Berlin Wall.

EXIT dir. Malgorzata Bielkowska-Buehlmann
Poland 2009, Documentary, 29mins, DVD
This film was shot between 10th and 20th October 1989 and contains unique footage of the “Autumn of Nations” of 1989 – the beginning of transformation in Central-Eastern Europe. Through Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland people try to escape west. This film documents the emotions of desperate people in a moment of historical change.

FIGHTING SPIRIT dir. George Amponsah
UK/ Ghana 2007, Documentary, 80mins, DVD
Bukom is a tiny shanty suburb of Accra in Ghana, and a factory for the toughest, most skilled boxers in the world.

FRAGMENT OF HISTORY dir. Uma Chakravati
India 2009, Documentary, 22mins, DVD
This documentary is based on the life of Subblakshmi who was born in 1897 and died in 1978, lived in Tamilnadu and was involved with the national movement for independence

FROM A WHISPER dir. Wanuri Kahui
Kenya 2009, Feature, 79mins, DVD
When an intelligence officer and a young, rebellious artist discover that they both lost somebody in the US Embassy bombing 10 years ago, they learn how to confront their fears and forgive.

GOD’S OFFICES dir. Claire Simon
France 2008, Feature, 122mins, 35mm
A realist dramedy about dedicated social workers who devote their long shifts to helping pregnant women.

DRC, 2007, Documentary, 76mins, DVD
This film features interviews with activists, peacekeepers, physicians and even- chillingly - the indifferent rapists who are soldiers of the Congolese Army. Despite all the harrowing moments talking to survivors and perpetrators, this powerful film also provides inspiring examples of resiliency, resistance, courage and grace. Winner of IIFF 2009 Documentary Award!

HOMELAND dir. Jacqueline Kalimunda
Rwanda/ France 2005, Documentary, 90mins, DVD
Homeland is a journey around Rwanda , with characters from two different generations: those who were 20 years old during the genocide and those who are old enough to have been 20 during the sixties, the independence years.

Poland/ France/Netherlands/UK 2008, Documentary, 72mins, DVD
The film retraces the love story of an unusual and unique creative union. Franciszka and Stefan Themerson lived and worked together for almost sixty years, first in Poland, then in France and eventually they settled in England.

IMPASSE dir. Bram Schouw
Netherlands 2008, Short Film, 5mins, DVD
A beautiful short about a young Nazi skinhead who finds himself sitting with a young black woman on a suburban night train.

Mexiko 2001, TV-Movie, 89mins, DVD with Salma Hayek
A young woman and her sisters fight against the brutality of the rule of Leonidas Trujillo, life-long dictator (1930-1961) of the Dominican Republic.The day of the Mirabal sisters’ death, Nov 25th, is observed in many Latin American countries as the Day against Violence towards Women.

I WANT A WEDDING DRESS dir. Tsitsi Dangarembga
Zimbabwe 2010, 3-part Feature, 89 min, DVD
The story of young Kundisai Sande who desperately wants to get married but finds herself in a sexual network with disastrous consequences. Her boyfriend Teri deserts her, only to find himself in the same sexual network. Mahachi, the successful, promiscuous businessman who seduces Kundisai, brings infection to the marriage bed. In the midst of their misery, the players in the sexual network come to realise that One Love can conquer all. OUT OF COMPETITION

IZULU LAMI, MY SECRET SKY dir. Madoda Ncayiyana
SA 2009, Feature, 93mins, DVD
A young girl and her little brother leave their rural homestead for the city when they are orphaned, and meet up with a gang of street kids. Hoping to fulfill their mother’s dream, in the end they find their own.

KICK IN IRAN dir. Fatima Geza Abdollahyan
Germany 2010, 82 min, documentary, DVD
‘Kick In Iran’ gives insights into the life of Tae Kwon Do fighter Sara Koshjamal- the first female athlete from Iran who has ever qualified for the Olympic games.

LOBOLA dir. Joe Ngagu
Zimbabwe 2010, 93mins, Drama, HD
The mutilation of the African marriage custom by a cosmopolitan groom, his brothers and their accomplice, the bride. OUT OF COMPETITION

MALL GIRLS dir. Katarzyna Roscaniec
Poland 2009, Feature, 77mins, DVD
Mall Girls looks at the trials and pitfalls of adolescence that can occur when moral support is lacking for a young teenager.

Italy 2009, Documentary, 50mins, DVD
A documentary by 19-year-old Laura Halilovic, won the Bellaria Film Festival 2009, “for the ability to describe in a soft, at times ironic, but always direct way, her own story, the one of her family and through these the difficult conditions of Gipsies in Italy.

MY VOICE dir. Flora Gomes
Portugal 2002, Feature, 110mins, 35mm
It has always been a firm conviction of Vita’s family that any woman who sings, will die. While in France, Vita becomes an international recording star. She realizes that sooner or later her mother in Africa will learn about it. To solve this dilemma she goes back to her native village and stages her own death and resurrection.

NOTHING PERSONAL dir. Urszula Antoniak
Netherlands/Ireland 2009, Feature, 85mins, DVD
A young female rebel and an old sage challenge each other in a story about personal freedom and attachment. She is a young Dutch woman, who becomes a vagabond by choice and finds solitude in an austere Irish landscape.

ONE WAR dir. Vera Glagoleva
Russia 2009, Feature, 85mins, DVD
Among modern films about WWII, Vera Glagoleva’s “One War” stands apart in many ways. Exploring themes that have been a taboo subject for years, the film strikes a very painful and dramatic chord.

P-STAR RISING dir. Gabriel Noble
Austria 2009, Documentary, 84mins, DVD
When Jesse discovers that his youngest daughter Priscilla can rap and perform, he sees redemption for his own failed music career and financial salvation for his family, and commits his life to make her a star.

PEARLS OF THE EAST, THE dir. Zulkarnain Meinardy
Indonesia 2009, Documentary, 23mins, DVD
A young girl living on an isolated mountain is struggling to attain an education and realizes that school is the most precious thing in her life.

PINK SARIS dir. Kim Longinotto UK 2010, Feature, 97mins, DVD
‘A girl’s life is cruel...A woman’s life is very cruel’, notes Sampat Pal, the complex protagonist at the centre of Kim Longinotto’s latest foray into the lives of extraordinary women.

Namibia/ Germany, 2008, DVD, 11mins, Short Film
As Namibia celebrates its 18years, a colonial monument German Soldier steps down from his monument and is confronted by the Namibian army.

SACRED HEART dir. Ferzan Ozpetek
Italy, 2005, DVD, 116mins, Feature
Sacred Heart is a ‘love story’, of a woman coming to her true self , in a confrontation with her past, and the memory of her mother; the present, and the death of a young girl whom she befriended; and the future, and the direction her life will take.

Ivory Coast 2008, Documentary, 55mins, DVD
Portraits of ordinary African women from Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, who spend 10 hours a day working in order to better their lives as well as to those around them.

SHIRLEY ADAMS dir. Oliver Hermanus
SA 2009, Feature, 92mins, DVD
A movie about a mother who has to take care of her crippled son - a victim of gang violence.

STARRING MAJA dir. Teresa Fabik
Sweden 2009, Feature, 91mins, DVD
The film is a heart-warming drama-comedy about overweight 18 year old Maja, whose size makes it difficult for her to be socially accepted and to make her dreams come true. It is an intimate story about people and their dreams - unfulfilled, suppressed and lost.

STRANGER dir. Malgosia Szumowska
Poland 2004, Feature, 95mins, DVD
19-year-old Eva gets pregnant by mistake and is talked by her family into having an abortion. But she starts talking to the child in her womb and, by describing the world for him, discovers it herself.

SUMMER IN BERLIN dir. Andreas Dresen
Germany, 2005, Feature, 105mins, 35mm
Two friends, one a carer for the elderly, the other unemployed live, live in an old tenement house and spend their evenings on a balcony high above the streets. A young man comes along and threatens to upset the harmony but brings one of them momentary happiness.

Iran 2007, Feature, 90mins, DVD
Neger and Janet are close friends. Reza, Neger’s husband and Janet’s former lover, is a chemically injured war victim, with his recovery a total disappointment to his doctors.

TIMPOKO dir. Serge Armel Sewadogo
Burkina Faso 2008, Short Film, 14mins, DVD
Timpoko is a Yaaba (grandmother) who lives in her daughter’s family. One day her grandson is followed into her room and is beaten up by his father. She also ends up being hit whilst trying to defend him: a lack of respect that yaaba cannot accept.

THREE AND A HALF LIVES dir. Richard Pakleppa
Namibia 2009, DVD, 30mins, Short Film
Phillip Wetu- a young and attractive IT Professional- is envied by his buddies for his success with women.

TOKYO TOWER dir. Matsuoka Joji
Japan 2007, Feature, 142 mins, 16mm
Based on the book by: Lily Franky, the film alternates between the past, in which the central character, Masaya, narrates his life story, and the present, in which Masaya watches his mother die of cancer in the hospital.

TUNNEL, THE dir. Jenna Cato Bass
South Africa 2009, Feature, 24mins, DVD
A short film about a girl and her dreams during the 80s in Zimbabwe.

UNGOCHANI dir. Porcia Mudavanhu, supervised by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Zimbabwe 2010, documentary, 43 min, DVD
A young woman media studies student is fascinated by the uproar about homosexuality in Zimbabwe and the people her society condemns. Courageously, Porcia sets out to approach a taboo by looking compassionately at the lives of gay people in Zimbabwe. OUT OF COMPETITION

WILL YOU MARRY US dir. Micha Lewinsky
Switzerland 2009, Feature, 90mins, DVD
Rahel is employed as a civil registrar, She hasn’t believed in the so called ‘love of her life’ in ages. Bet when a childhood friend Ben, suddenly turns up, Rahel recalls again what it felt like to be in love.

Ghana/ UK 2009, 55mins, documentary, DVD
All over Ghana women who are in the way of their husbands, their lovers, their neighbors or anybody greedy enough to want what is theirs, are chased away from their families as “witches”. Sounds familiar? In Ghana, they find refuge in Gambaga, a “village of witches” under protection of a local chief.

Switzerland 2009, Feature, 93mins, DVD
Her father ends up in one of Stalin’s prison camps, but young Svetlana Geier from Kiew, Ukraine is a survivor. She learns German and ends up in Germany after the war. 65 years later, she is one of the greatest translators of Dostojewsky’s novels.

ZIMBABWE dir. Darrel James Roodt
SA 2008, Feature, 91mins, DVD
A young 19 year old rural girl named Zimbabwe by her patriotic father, is orphaned. Starving and with few choices, she leaves her village in search of a distant aunt.


CONTACT dir. Martin Butler, Bentley Dean
Australia 2009, documentary , 52 min, DVD
The story of the indigenous Australian women and children who were the last to establish first contact between the western world and “the desert people” in the 60s.

THE WOMAN OF BRUKHAM dir. Isaac Isitan
Canada 2008, documentary, 52 min, DVD

Germany 2009, 12 min, documentary, DVD
Innovative report about journalism in the times of the “ new media” and it’s future.

24 BERLIN, A DAY IN THE LIFE dir. Volker Heise
Germany 2009, 40 min, documentary, DVD

RABBITS À LA BERLIN dir. Bartek Konopka, Piotr Rosolowski
Germany, 2009, 39 min, documentary, DVD
Documentary on the destruction of a huge wildlife resort in the middle of the German capital: the green meadows around the Berlin wall.

THE LITTLE BOY AND THE BEAST dir. Johannes Weiland, Uwe Heidschötter
Germany 2009, 6 min, short animation, DVD
Both tragic and funny, this little animation by a German tv-station will move your heart.

SAVAGE EYE dir. Kieron J. Walsh, Damien O’Donnell
Ireland 2009, 25min, TV Satire- Magazine, DVD
Authentic and with sharp humor, this tv-satire looks at the most important status symbol of the Irish: owning a house.

LIKE A MAN ON EARTH dir. Biadene
Italy 2008, 60 min, documentary, DVD

GOLDFISH dir. Hiroshi Kurosaki
Japan 2009, 53min, feature, DVD

ESTERHAZY dir. Izabela Plucinska
Poland 2009, 23min, animation, DVD
The story of a small Esterhazy and his research of Bunnies’s Paradies that truly existed between East and West part of the Berlin Wall.

South Africa 2009, 25min, Talk Show, DVD
Community TV at it’s best. A high-density community in South Africa is producing it’s own talk show.

LIFE ON JEUNG ISLAND dir. Hyoung-Suk Kim
South Korea 2008, 60min, documentary, DVD

THE VOICES OF PAMANO dir. Lluis M. Guell
Spain 2009, 75min, documentary, DVD

TABOO dir. Orane Burri
Switzerland 2008, 52min, documentary, DVD
Courageous report on one of the big taboos in the western media: a loved one’s dying.

UK 2009, 60min, documentary, DVD
British obsession with sex from an unusual angle - the most ordinary people talk about their most normal sex life. In the most usual place: their bed.


National Arts Gallery - 24 November 2010 during the launch of Sixteen Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence in association with UNIFEM GENDER FORUM

The Ndichirimupenyu Awards is a Women Filmmakers Of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) initiative to recognize the achievements of women in various fields and especially as their achievements relate to uplifting lives in the women's respective communities. The awards are aimed at energizing the commitment of other women and men to engagement beyond the pursuit of mere personal gains. The awards reach out to women from all walks of life in Zimbabwe. The awards are for women who are alive, and conquering the world around them positively and effectively as builders of homes, communities, society and the nation.

One more objective of the awards is to counter societal discrimination against women, which tends to commend and applaud the contributions of men to development at the expense of women's equally important involvement. This year, WFOZ has joined hands with UNIFEM GENDER FORUM (network for various organizations) in selecting the nominees and a have also introduced the idea of activism against GENDER BASED VIOLENCE THROUGH ART.


Quite often you find people discussing how they saw death knocking its doors through domestic, gender-based violence. They talk about how she shy she was and how she had silently endured the physical abuse and violence, all for the sake of her marriage and the children. They relate certain incidents that probably explain the build-up to the final blow resulting in the death of the wife and children and the suicide death of the husband. If only these stories had been talked about in time before this tragic event, solutions and preventive measures could have been taken.

Women filmmakers of Zimbabwe in association with United Nations Fund for Women GENDER FORUM decided to mark the Sixteen Days of activism against gender based violence by using Art as a tool for visual activism that raises public awareness and promotes participation of local communities and mobilizes them to create safe places for women in the society. Art is a powerful voice for the voiceless and a means of message conveyance that reaches out to everyone and has no boundaries. NDICHIRIMUPENYU/NGISAPHILA/WHILE I AM STILL ALIVE women's fair and art EXHIBITION encourages women to tell their stories on Gender-Based Violence and related issues through art.

The exhibition and women's fair will inform and educate the communities that Gender Based Violence goes far beyond the physical violence that millions of women suffer every day, but that it has far reaching consequences harming families and communities and its effects can be physical, psychological, sexual or economical. Art will be used to expose and display TRUE effects of GBV as well as to advocate for positive behavior change concerning the status of women in society and through modeling positive attitudes in films and art works. Women's organizations and women from all walks of life will be able share information on practical solutions for creating a safe environment for women against all cultures of violence.

WOMEN Filmmakers Of Zimbabwe have over the years, successfully used art as a means of expression and communication.. THROUGH EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND EXCHANGE OF IDEAS, GENDER BASED VIOLENCE CAN BE MADE A THING OF THE PAST.


We are very happy to present as part of our festival the Mini-Input Harare 2010 at the Zimbabwe German Society with a selection of programmes from this year’s International INPUT conference.

Input (the acronym is derived from international public television) is an annual weeklong television showcase where the rules of broadcasting are challenged and redefined. Founded in 1978, this event is the only international conference that focuses specifically on the innovative programmes produced by public as opposed to commercial broadcasters.

But INPUT is much more than a television festival. It is a voluntary organisation governed and administered by men and women working with public television worldwide. So this Mini-Input will screen, discuss and evaluate the latest trends in public television programmes from around the world, and is therefor a must for all film-, television- and electronic media professionals in Zimbabwe.

Input is dedicated to exploring the limits of television beyond the merely conventional and derivative and reject the notion that it must be either “popular” or “cultural”, refusing to view these terms as mutually exclusive.

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