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.


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

31 December 2013


UM PERFIL DE SARAH MALDOROR (Tradução Janaína Damaceno)

Você ainda não ouviu falar de Sarah Maldoror (1938)? Pois bem, ela é uma das principais cineastas de África e tem uma extensa obra ainda pouco conhecida no Brasil. Um dos seus principais filmes, Sambizanga (1972), retrata o papel da mulher durante a guerra civil de Angola onde a cineasta viveu durante anos. O roteiro do filme foi escrito com Mário Pinto de Andrade, poeta e militante contra o colonialismo português, autor de Primeiro Caderno de Poesia Negra de Expressão Portuguesa (1953) e seu marido na época. Neste post, traduzimos o artigo de Beti Ellerson para o seu blog African Women in Cinema, um dos principais canais do mundo a divulgar o trabalho de mulheres negras e africanas no cinema. Boa leitura! 

26 December 2013

Rise Africa Interviews Nikyatu Jusu

Rise Africa interviews Nikyatu Jusu, first generation Sierra-Leonean American, 25 November 2013 (6:40 min.)

1. What are the difficulties of keeping a character authentic when crafting a story?

2. You often cast women in lead roles. Does feminism cross your mind during the creation process?

3. Is feminism a western idea? Does feminism exist on the continent?

4. Is feminism a conflict of Africa culture?

5. Any advice for filmmakers who'd like to follow your footsteps?

6. How do you interpret the phrase, "Africa is done suffering?"

Also see interview on African Women in Cinema Blog

19 December 2013

Research Agenda: African Women in Cinema | Faire avancer la recherche sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma (2013)

Research Agenda: African Women in Cinema |
Faire avancer la recherche sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma (2013)

A key goal of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to feature current research and critical discourse, through interviews, conference proceedings and analyses. Here at the end of this year is a selection of these articles published since its creation.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma a pour vocation de mettre en exergue la critique et la recherche à travers les entretiens, les comptes rendus de conférences et les analyses. En cette fin d’année, voici un recueil d’articles publiés depuis la création du Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma.


31 Dec 2014

18 Dec 2014

14 Dec 2014

05 Dec 2014

03 Dec 2014

21 Sep 2014

06 Sep 2014

05 Sep 2014

04 Sep 2014

03 Sep 2014

02 Sep 2014

01 Sep 2014

31 Aug 2014

30 Aug 2014

29 Aug 2014

28 Aug 2014

27 Aug 2014

26 Aug 2014

31 Jul 2014

06 Jun 2014

11 May 2014

16 Apr 2014

11 Apr 2014

08 Apr 2014


04 December | décembre 2013

13 November | novembre 2013

06 October | octobre 2013

06 September | septembre 2013

02 August | aôut 2013

25 June | juin 2013

07 January | janvier 2013


26 December | décembre 2012

13 December | décembre 2012

04 December | décembre 2012

19 September | septembre 2012

20 September 2012

18 September | septembre 2012

17 June | juin 2012

07 May 2012

10 March | mars 2012


30 December | décembre 2011

14 December | décembre 2011

03 December | décembre 2011

01 December | décembre 2011

30 November | novembre 2011

14 November | novembre 2011

26 October | octobre 2011

28 September | septembre 2011

06 August | aôut 2011

28 July | juillet  2011

25 July | juillet 2011

09 June | juin 2011

05 May | mai 2011

20 April | avril 2011

12 January | janvier 2011


13 December | décembre 2010

23 November | novembre 2010

26 October | octobre 2010

12 July | juillet 2010

26 May | mai 2010


31 December | décembre 2009

26 September | septembre 2009

10 July | juin 2009

14 June | juin 2009

29 May | mai 2009

08 May | mai 2009

23 April | avril 2009

16 April | avril  2009

01 April | avril 2009

10 December 2013

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe announces: The Africa Movie Academy Awards Call for Entries 2014


The Africa Movie Academy Awards invites filmmakers to submit their feature, short and documentary works for consideration for the 10th edition of the prestigious 2014 AMAA Awards that honours and celebrate the best in the art of filmmaking and the professionals who make the industry the pride of Africa.

The deadline for submissions is 15 January 2013 and nominations will be announced in the first week of March. Acceptable genres include feature length films, shorts and documentary entries. Only films produced,
premiered and or released between May 2012 and December 2013 are eligible. Features may not exceed 120 minutes and shorts should not be longer than 40 minutes.

The Jury of the prestigious continental motion picture reward system rising from its Annual General Meeting which took place recently in Durban, South Africa has approved the guidelines for the submission of films for the 2014 edition of the awards.

The AGM which was attended by Mr Ayo Baku, Director of Pan-African Film Festival Los Angeles, Dr. Asantewa Olatunji, Co-Director of PAFF, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of National Mirror Newspaper, Mr. Shuaib Hussein, Journalist and Film Critic, Ms June Givanni, an international film curator, Mr. Keith Shiri, an international Film curator and programme advisor to the London Film Festival, Mr. Berni Goldblat, member of the jury of the International Francophone Film Festival of Namur (FIFF Namur) in Belgium and Professor Hyginus Ekwuazi, lecturer at the department of Dramatic Art, University of Ibadan and also former Managing Director of Nigeria Film Corporation, Jos.

Speaking on some of the decisions taken by the Jurors, Ms. Givanni who presided over the AGM revealed that the Jury made some amendments of the award categories adding that the awards organization and the jury are poised to deliver a good tenth year anniversary event.

"We made some changes on the award categories. We have introduced an award that is named after former President Nelson Mandela called Madiba Africa Vision Awards which will be given at the discretion of the Jury to any film captures the essence and vision of the category. The category of Best Film by African Living Abroad has been cancelled.

We also renamed two categories after two exceptional Africans who have contributed to the growth and development of the film industry. The Best Film in African Language will now be Sembene Ousmane Awards for Best Film in African Language while the Best Short Film Award category will now be called Efere Ozako Award for Best Short Film. AMAA is immortalizing the names of these two great men with the awards," she said.

Ms Givanni also said that a new category Best Director First Feature Film has been introduced to encourage young and upcoming film directors to continue to strive for excellence and best practices.

The award in its nine years has had international music and Hollywood icons such as Danny Glover, Forest Whittaker, Morris Chesnut, Rockmond Dunbar, Angela Basset, Monique, Miriam Makeba, Mario Van Peebles,Jimmy Jean Louis, Hakeem Kae Kazim and host other others in attendance at different times.

Over 700 films were entered for the awards in 2013 from over 40 countries within Africa and the Diaspora and the award has been described by international media most especially CNN as the Africa's Oscars.

The awards organization also holds nominations gala night where nominees are announced for different categories across different African cities to drive home the pan-African vision of the scheme with the last 2013 nomination gala night was hosted in Lilongwe, Malawi by President Joyce Banda who has now also endowed a prize for the best film depicting positive stories about women.

"There is this great awareness of the possibilities in Africa. This has been an exciting year for African cinema as many big budget productions have been produced on the continent and distribution is becoming more
accessible to African films," says AMAA founder Academy CEO Peace Anyiam-Osigwe.

The primary aim of the African Movie Academy Awards (popularly known AMAA) is to facilitate the development and showcase the social relevance of African Film and Cinema. Presented to recognize excellence in professionals in the Africa film industry, including directors, actors and writers, the
Awards are aimed at honoring and promoting such excellence as well as uniting the African continent through arts and culture.

Submission must be entered online at Each completed entry form must be accompanied by all the supporting materials listed on the submission forms, including the synopsis of the film, the list of credits, 5 DVD copies of the film and proof of the right to submit.

For more information see

We look forward to seeing your film!

Sincere regards,

CEO: Ms Peace Anyiam-Osigwe and the AMAA Team

07 December 2013

Yaba Badoe talks about the documentary film project “The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo”

Yaba Badoe talks about the documentary film project “The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo”
Yaba, both a filmmaker and writer, you are above all a storyteller. Hence, your desire to document the legacy of Ama Ata Aidoo is immediately evident. Talk about the project idea that has come to be called The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo. 
Ama Ata Aidoo is one of the great pioneers of African women’s writing. She’s an iconic Feminist writer and a national hero in Ghana. Her work is taught in schools and universities and just about every educated Ghanaian adult, at one time or another, has read one of her short stories or plays. 
I came to Ama Ata Aidoo late. I was invited to submit a short story to a collection of stories she was editing: African Love Stories (pb Ayebia Clarke). My short story, The Rival, was accepted. But it wasn’t until I attended a friend’s New Year’s party in Accra that I finally met Ama Ata. I fell in love with her spirit, and immediately read everything of hers I could lay my hands on. I particularly enjoyed her 1991 award winning novel, Changes: a Love Story. I devoured the book, relishing its subject matter, which Jamaican academic, Carolyn Cooper, describes in her blog Woman Tongue as: “Ghanaian woman divorces her insecure husband and becomes the second wife of a sexy, polygamous Muslim.”
I came to realise, as I read Ama Aidoo’s work, that as a writer she is fearless. She’s a poet, short story writer, playwright, novelist and essayist. Her voice is humorous yet searing and she’s one of the first African writers to explore African women’s sexuality. I also admire Ama Ata Aidoo’s courage in tackling themes many African writers avoid: the impact of the slave trade on the relationship between Africa and its Diaspora – a thorny, sensitive theme that reminds us of the cataclysmic betrayal by African leaders of their people.  
The documentary is a collaborative effort in multiple locations. Talk about the evolution of the project.
We started making The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo in January 2012. We filmed Ama Ata as she travelled to her ancestral village in the Central Region of Ghana. When I say ‘we’  I mean my camera man, Darren Hercher, sound man, Jeremiah Dogbe, assistant camera, Sam Commodore, myself and Abena Busia who did two extensive interviews with Ama Ata. We then filmed the writer at the University of Ghana at the outdoor theatre where her first play, The Dilemma of a Ghost, was performed in the early sixties when she was still an undergraduate.
At the end of May 2012, Amina Mama, my co-producer and I, travelled to the University of Santa Barbara to film a colloquium in celebration of Aidoo’s work. We interviewed academics who know Ama Ata’s writing well: Anne Adams, Vincent Odamtten, Carol Boyce Davies and Nana Wilson-Tagoe and filmed drama students as they rehearsed AAA’s classic play about the indigenous slave trade in West Africa, Anowa. We also caught Ama Ata’s reaction to the play on the opening night. She was overwhelmed.
You are in the process of raising funds through a crowd funding campaign. Talk a bit about the concept of crowdsourcing and your choice in using this strategy.
In August this year, a close friend of ours, Margo Okazawa-Rey, suggested that instead of waiting for funding from grant-giving bodies, who tend to have their own agendas on the sort of films they want made, we should try crowdsourcing to raise funds to complete The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo. Margo agreed to lead our Indiegogo campaign. We aim to raise $45,000 from a network of friends, family, well wishers and lovers of African women’s writing, so that we can edit and complete the film. We’ve had an amazing response to our campaign. Though we still have a way to go, so far we’ve achieved 30% of our goal and have donations in the pipeline that are inching us towards our target.  Friends are pointing us in the right direction; they’re spreading the word about the film; and most important of all, firing us up with enthusiasm to finish what we set out to do – celebrate the writing of a great Pan Africanist, Ama Ata Aidoo. Once the film is finished the first thing we’ll do is make sure that everyone who donated $100 and more receives a limited DVD edition of The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo. Then we hope to launch the film in Accra and party!
A Conversation with Yaba Badoe and Beti Ellerson, December 2013
African Women in Cinema Blog Links 

04 December 2013

Anita Afonu: Preserving Ghana's Cinematic Treasures

Anita Afonu at the 2nd African Women's Film Forum
Ghanaian filmmaker Anita Afonu is passionate about the preservation of Ghana's cinematic history. With enthusiasm and hope, she talks about her film Perished Diamonds which relates the history of Ghanaian cinema, and the initiative to restore its hidden and lost legacy. 

Anita, you are a graduate of the Ghanaian film school NAFTI. Talk about how you came to cinema and a bit about the film school and its mission.

I attended the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) from 2006 to 2010 where I pursued a programme in Film Directing with an option in documentary filmmaking. I had always wanted to be a filmmaker because to me, having the ability to tell a story and have an audience watch your film meant that you wield a lot of power and therefore can change the perceptions and idiosyncrasies of people through film.

The National Film and Television Institute was established in 1978 to train people to produce films and other audiovisual material for the government of Ghana. The school offers a four-year bachelor degree programme in all aspects of filmmaking.

I was a privileged spectator at the screening of your film Perished Diamonds, a documentary about the history of Ghanaian cinema. I was touched by your in depth research and your tremendous will to get it made. What motivated you to make the film?

I was sorting out films at the Information Services Department for my friend Jennifer Blaylock, a cinema archivist who had come to do some research on Ghanaian cinema. While working with the films, I saw how dilapidated the Information Services Department was and how the film reels had been left to go bad. I also realized that I had not seen most of these films. I thought, "Here I am, a film school graduate calling myself a filmmaker". I thought that is was rather ironic, asking myself what had happened. Why had the film reels been left to go bad? And it broke my heart to personally discard some of the films because they had gone mouldy, in an almost soup-like state. I felt that if I could trace the origin of the problem and find a way to repair the damage, things could improve. I knew that if I made a film about these conditions people would wake up. And that’s what motivated me to make this film. Jennifer was very supportive and we put together a proposal to the Goethe Institute which funded the film.

You have also researched the history of Ghanaian cinema and cinema in Ghana that is related in the film. Give some background on Ghanaian cinema history and your process in learning about it.

Generally, cinema was used by the colonizers to instil in Africans, and Ghanaians in this case, an attitude of subservience. The films were mainly instructional materials about keeping homes clean, accepting Jesus Christ and embracing Christianity, and others along this line. The West African Film School was set up in 1948 to train people in film to essentially work as assistants to British filmmakers who were commissioned to come to Ghana to make propaganda films. When Dr. Nkrumah became president, he took a personal interest in film because he believed that the medium of film was very powerful; that it had the ability to change the mind-set of Ghanaians to accept and hold their own, and thus remove the colonial mentality that Ghanaians had held that white people were better than black people. After learning about this I spoke to veteran filmmakers and people who had worked closely with President Nkrumah, including his personal cameraman. I read a number of articles about Ghanaian cinema and watched some films that were made during that time period. However, most of the research was drawn from interviews, which are shown in the film.

I was delighted to learn that President Kwame Nkrumah was behind the creation of the Ghana Film Industry Corporation. What is the history behind this initiative?

Former President Nkrumah believed that the medium of film was a very important tool to change the mentality of the Ghanaian if he was going to make any changes as president. He believed that by showing films made by Ghanaians and shown to Ghanaians, that it would boost their self-esteem and encourage them to work for the better Ghana that he had set out. As president Dr. Nkrumah laid the groundwork for Ghanaian cinema; he brought new film equipment and an editing suite; he sent Ghanaians to London to train in filmmaking; and he established the Ghana Film Industry Corporation incorporating the Lebanese-built cinema into it. Another creation was the biggest sound stage in Africa at the time, which continues to hold this record today. Films were churned out often, increasing Ghanaians' appetite for film. President Nkrumah had a personal studio at Flagstaff House, his office, where he made recordings that were transmitted to the Ghanaian audience. He read every script that was written, and personally made corrections to them before they were shot; he even viewed the first cut of the films before they went into final cut. In fact, he took a personal interest in film. Every activity he undertook as president was filmed and screened for the public at cinema houses; a way to show the transparency of his government. The Ghana Film Industry Corporation became the hub of filmmaking in West Africa. Even people from Nigeria came to Ghana to train as filmmakers. Nkrumah looked at the development of the Ghanaian and the African in a holistic way. He believed that filmmaking formed a big part of a country’s culture and he was determined to move Ghana and Africa to the next level of development.

The story behind the destruction of the Ghanaian film industry was very unsettling to watch and hear about, your meticulous research provided a treasure of information as some of the witnesses to the demise gave first hand accounts. How did this destruction come about?

The destruction of Ghana films occurred when the Ghana Film Industry Corporation was divested for fifteen years to the Malaysian company, GAMA Media System for the sum of 1.23 million USD. GAMA Media System, obviously interested in television and not cinema, turned the location into a TV station, which provided content from both Malaysia and Ghana. Since they needed space for their TV equipment and other items, they got rid of the film equipment, including all of Ghana’s archives. Evidently not concerned about Ghanaian heritage, these treasures were dumped outside, left to the mercy of the weather.

What was your reaction when you first learned about the damage?

To say that I was shocked to see and hear about this is an understatement. I couldn’t eat properly for days. I was emotionally troubled about this. And I think that was what kept me going to make the film. There were certain times during the film production when I was burning out, but whenever the thought of those films came to my mind, it gave me more strength to keep pushing forward to complete the project.

Of course to imagine that Ghana’s cultural heritage was sold to another country, Malaysia, and partially destroyed is shocking. Your passion to restore these films and to document the story is truly heartfelt. Talk about the story behind this arrangement with Britain and what attempts are being made to have these “perished diamonds” returned.

Luckily for me, or better still for Ghanaian filmmakers and Ghana, a number of the films are being stored in laboratories in England. This occurred because at the time when these films were made, Ghana did not have a colour-editing machine so they had to be sent to England to be edited. The negatives were stored there and have remained there since. All of the black and white films have been destroyed. The government of Ghana pays a yearly rent to the labs to check and keep the films in pristine conditions. During the making of the film, I found it difficult to get archival material that I felt should be available to me to use as a filmmaker and researcher. I figured that if these films could be digitized and the digital copies brought here to Ghana, it would make it easy for people like me to be able to have access. I also felt that being a Ghanaian filmmaker that I had every right to access those films without any difficulties. However, because they are being stored in England, accessing them is almost impossible.  Since Ghana did not have the facilities to store the celluloid films, I thought it would be better if digital copies of these films were brought to Ghana so that researchers and fellow filmmakers could access them. Hence, I started an initiative to digitize these films. 

Yes, during the Action Plan Breakout Group Sessions at the 2nd African Women's Film Forum held in Accra in September 2013, you proposed an initiative to preserve and digitize the films produced during the Kwame Nkrumah era. What are your plans and the campaign in search of funding?

My intention is to have the colour materials sent to London to be digitized, and have those digital copies that are stored in London brought here to Ghana so that filmmakers and people doing research may access it. In addition, it is a revenue-making venture for the government since fees will be charged for those who want to use it. Moreover, I have been in talks with Rev. Dr. Hesse, the personal cameraman of Dr. Nkrumah, who went to London to identify over 200 films that were recently discovered in the Ghana High Commission vault. He shot the majority of the films and is familiar with all of them. For now, my goal is to be able to start with about fifty of the most important films that the Reverend can identify. Those films will be cleaned, catalogued and stored. With regards to funding, I will be meeting Prof. Ampofo, the director of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana who will advise on funding.

And your future plans, films, scripts?

I am currently working on a short piece. At the moment I am still writing, I want to do a film on African teenage girls. I want to be an inspiration for other young girls who are coming up. I realize that a lot of girls or young women are confused about what they want out of life. The media is heavily influencing their choices. There is plenty of talk about women being empowered but I personally do not see it. All I see is a bunch of elite women who are angry and complain bitterly about the glass ceiling. A lot of young girls are not being encouraged and that is what I want to do. I run a small production house called Roaming Akuba Films. We make commissioned films, consult for foreign film crews and provide other general services with regards to filmmaking.

Unfortunately, my website was hacked some weeks ago and I am unable to retrieve all that I lost. Hence, I am currently working on creating a new website. 

Conversation with Anita Afonu and Beti Ellerson, November 2013

Sommaire en Français

PD TRAILER - Broadband from Anita Afonu on Vimeo.

Anita Afonu : Pour la défense des trésors cinématographiques du Ghana

Anita Afonu au 2ème African Women's Film Forum 2013
La cinéaste Anita Afonu du Ghana est passionnée par l’histoire cinématographique de son pays. Avec enthousiasme et espoir, elle nous parle de son film Perished Diamonds (Les trésors péris) qui raconte l’évolution du cinéma ghanéen et ses pionniers, ainsi que sa brutale déchéance. Récemment, pour aider les futures générations de chercheurs et de cinéastes à mieux connaître le cinéma du Ghana, elle a initié un projet pour restaurer ses héritages cachés voire oubliées. 

C’était quand elle s’est rendue à l’Information Services Department pour travailler sur un projet avec une collègue qu’elle a pu y voir l’état de délabrement des bobines entreposées. À partir de ce moment elle a décidé qu’il fallait faire un film pour informer les gens de cette histoire choquante.

Elle a découvert pendant sa recherche qu’à son indépendance en 1957, le Ghana était au centre de la réalisation cinématographique en Afrique de l’Ouest.

Kwame Nkrumah, le premier président du Ghana avait la conviction que pour faire les changements qu’il voulait en tant que président, le cinéma était un outil très important pour transformer les mentalités des Ghanéens qui gardaient une attitude d’infériorité instaurée pendant l’époque coloniale.

L'ancien président a jeté les fondements du cinéma ghanéen : nouveaux équipements de tournage et de montage ; formations cinématographiques des Ghanéens en Angleterre ; création du Ghana Film Industry Corporation [la compagnie ghanéenne de l'industrie du film] et une salle d’enregistrement parmi d’autres initiatives.

Convaincu que le cinéma participe en grande partie à la culture d’un pays, Kwame Nkrumah était déterminé à faire avancer le Ghana, et l’Afrique à l’étape suivante de leur évolution. 

D’une interview en anglais avec Anita Afonu de Beti Ellerson, novembre 2013.

02 December 2013

Africa’s Top 40 Women in Film and TV: Film Biz Africa Special Edition

Film Biz Africa
Special Edition
Africa’s Top 40 Women in Film and TV
Edition #9 2013

01 December 2013

Christiane Chabi Kao: Festival Lagunimages - 05 to 08 December 2013 (Cotonou)

Christiane Chabi Kao, director/producer from Benin, is the president of Festival Lagunimages, which will open its 7th edition from 05 to 08 December 2013 in Cotonou. 

Christiane, you are president of Festival Langunimages. Talk a bit about yourself.

I am Christiane Chabi Kao director and producer from Benin. I directed a 52-minute documentary in 2005 entitled Les enfants esclaves. In 2007 I produced and directed a feature entitled Les inseparables, which won the Africa Numérique award at Vues d'Afrique in Montréal, as well as the Human Rights Special Prize at Fespaco. Presently, I am preparing the premier season of a 20 x 26 series, entitled "Les Chenapans". I received funding for it from the OIF (International Organisation of the Francophonie), but the budget is not yet complete so I am looking for additional backing. The pilot is already complete as well as the storyboard for certain episodes.

Festival Langunimages has become an important event in Benin. What is the festival’s history? 
The Festival Lagunimages was created by Monique Mbeka Phoba in 2000. In 1997, as she had to return to Belgium, she created an association of which I am president. The festival is a biennial that organises free film and documentary screenings for the public which are shown in cinema houses or in outdoor venues. The association also organises workshops and training sessions for audio-visual professionals (directors, producers, technicians, etc.). During the year between festivals there are screenings in schools and hospitals.

A conversation with Christiane Chabi Kao and Beti Ellerson, November 2013.

The Theme of the Festival: CINEMA AND URBAN CULTURES

In 2050, more than a billion Africans will be urban dwellers. This rapid urbanisation is a phenomenon that sociologists have named “Homo Urbanus”.

The city in general, and the African city in particular, is a wonderful melting pot of cultural mixing. It is also the favourite site of expression for youth who are exploring new ways to assert their identity.

In addition to the regular sections of Lagunimages from 05 to 08 December 2013: screenings, workshops and professional meetings, this edition has created a platform specific to Urban Cultures.

The theme “CINEMA AND URBAN CULTURES URBAINES”, has as objective to introduce the festival goers to the new languages of the city.

The physical and audiovisual encounters will be articulated around artistic expressions such as rap (for music), slam (for spoken word), graffiti (for painting), the flash mob d’azonto and Capoeira demonstrations (for dance), and the Urban Dress Code (for fashion).

Christiane Chabi Kao : Festival Lagunimages - 05 au 08 décembre 2013 (Cotonou)

La réalisatrice/productrice Christiane Chabi Kao du Benin est présidente du Festival Lagunimages dont la 7ème édition se déroulera du 05 au 08 décembre 2013 à Cotonou.

Christiane, vous êtes présidente du Festival Lagunimages. Parlez un peu de vous-même.

Je suis Christiane Chabi Kao réalisatrice et productrice de nationalité Béninoise. J'ai réalisée en 2005 un documentaire de 52 minutes intitulé Les enfants esclaves. En 2007 j'ai produit et réalisé un long métrage de fiction intitulé les inséparables. Ce film a eu le prix Africa Numérique à Vues d'Afrique à Montréal, ainsi que le prix spécial des droits humains au Fespaco. Actuellement je prépare la première saison de la série intitulée "les Chenapans" de 20 x 26 mn. J'ai obtenue le financement de OIF pour cela, mais je n'ai toujours pas bouclé le budget et je cherche des financements complémentaires. Le pilote est déjà prêt, ainsi que la maquette de certains épisodes.

Ce festival est devenu une manifestation importante au Bénin, quelle est son histoire ?
Le Festival Lagunimages a été crée par Monique Phoba en 2000. En 1997, comme elle devait rentrer  en Belgique elle a créer une association, dont je suis la présidente. Le festival est une biennale qui organise des projections gratuites de films et de documentaires pour la population dans des salles ou en plein air. L'association organise aussi des ateliers et des formations pour les professionnels de l'audiovisuel (réalisateurs, producteurs, techniciens, etc...). Pendant l'année entre deux éditions du festival on propose des projections dans les écoles, les hôpitaux.

Une conversation avec Christiane Chabi Kao et Beti Ellerson, novembre 2013.


En 2050, plus d’un milliard d’Africains seront des citadins. Cette urbanisation accélérée, est un phénomène que les sociologues ont surnommé «  Homo Urbanus ».
La ville en général et la ville africaine en particulier est un formidable creuset du métissage et des échanges culturels. C’est également le lieu d’expression préféré de la jeunesse, qui explore de nouvelles voies d’affirmation identitaire.
Du 05 au 08 Décembre 2013, se créera, à la périphérie  des sections habituelles de la biennale Lagunimages ( projections, ateliers et rencontres professionnelles), une plate forme d’actions liées aux Cultures Urbaines.
«CINEMA ET CULTURES URBAINES», thème de cette 7ième  édition du festival Lagunimages, a pour ambition, de faire découvrir aux festivaliers les nouveaux langages de la ville.
Pendant quatre jours, les genres seront décloisonnés.
Les rencontres physiques et audiovisuelles, s’articuleront autour d’expressions artistiques comme le Rap pour la musique, le Slam pour le  Spoken Word,  les Graffitis pour la peinture, des flash mob d’azonto et des démonstrations de Capoeira pour la danse,  l’Urban Dress Code pour la mode. 

23 November 2013

Naomi Beukes-Meyer: a Namibian woman telling stories from Berlin

Naomi Beukes-Meyer is a Berlin-based Namibian writer and director. Her most recent work "The Centre" is a webisode series relating the experiences of African women who are trying to deal with the day-to-day life in Berlin. She talks about why she created the series and her future projects.

Naomi you are Namibian based in Germany and your stories relate your experiences in this environment. Talk a bit about your background, and your work as a writer and director.

I started writing while working as a Stage Manager at the National Theatre of Namibia. My first story was about the teenage pregnancies in Namibia. I always wanted to write about what happened to the women and girls around me, especially the stories that no one talked about. While working at the Theatre, I wrote and directed some children's plays. Currently, I'm still writing and developing plays with children at the school where I'm teaching in Berlin. Through my work as a teacher at a bilingual school in Berlin, I come across people from all corners of the world. It intrigues me what the big pull is to Berlin, so I started asking questions and ended up with a lot of, sometimes interesting, sometimes heartbreaking stories.

The first episode of the series The Centre has been released recently. Discuss the concept of the series and what motivated you to create it.

As a Namibian Citizen, I myself had a lot of trouble with Foreign Affairs, finding a job and getting accepted, so, out of frustration, I started to write about my experiences. This is how The Centre started. With this series, I would like to tell about the women, especially the African women, moving to Berlin, for one reason or the other and the difficulties they have to deal with every day between the different cultures. I am very happy that it was possible to release the first episode of The Centre - "I'm still down here". This was only possible with the help of a group of professional film- and theatre people from all over Europe.

What has been the reception in Germany? Do you also have a Namibian audience?

The response up to now has been very positive and I'm especially very happy about a growing Namibian audience.

It is disseminated as a Webisode on video sharing platforms on the Internet, what have been results in terms of viewers and reactions?

I am also overwhelmed by the amount of viewers in the short time we have been online. I think for The Centre, the web is definitely the way to go because we can reach a lot of people all over the world.

Will the series continue? In what form? What are future projects.

The Centre will definitely continue. I am in the process of looking for funding possibilities to shoot the rest of the episodes, already in planning. In the meantime, I'm very excited to be part of the One Billion Rising For Justice Campaign 2014 to end violence against women and girls, started by Eve Ensler.

Interview with Naomi Beukes-Meyer by Beti Ellerson, November 2013.

Images: The Centre Series


The Centre Series:

20 November 2013

Yaba Badoe’s Indiegogo crowdfunding for “The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo” continues

Filmmaker/Writer Yaba Badoe’s Indiegogo crowdfunding efforts to raise 45,000USD for the completion of “The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo” continues. She had this to say when I asked her about the project during an interview in September 2011: 

As a novelist with roots in both Ghana and Britain, I’m acutely aware of the significance of women’s voices in recounting alternative histories. Ama Ata Aidoo’s life and writing give those of us working on Women Writing Africa: Ama Ata Aidoo at 70 – Amina Mama, poet and critic Abena Busia, and myself – the opportunity to profile an African literary icon as a means to tell the story of post-colonial politics and culture in Ghana through the eyes of a prolific, colourful, Ghanaian intellectual. Her short stories novels and plays have achieved international acclaim.

However, Ama Ata Aidoo is a writer with a difference: an artist prepared to dip her toes in the turbulent waters of ‘revolutionary’ change to serve her country as Minister of Education. The idea that creativity can be used as a force to lambast, expose and fight corruption and authoritarianism, as well as instigate change through action, is a form of creativity that is fascinating.

Visit The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo Indiegogo webpage for details about the fundraising efforts and to make a contribution.