The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.


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


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31 July 2013

London Feminist Film Festival 2013 Call for Submissions

The London Feminist Film Festival is looking for feminist films by women directors, which will be screened at the 2013 festival in November / December.

Submissions Deadline: 31 August 2013


• Women directors from any country may enter. In the case of multiple directors, all should be women.
• Films should deal with feminist issues and/or be feminist in their representation of women.
• Films can be of any length or genre, and from any year.
• Non-English language films should be presented in English-subtitled versions.

22 July 2013

Concours l'Afrique au Féminin : les 15 candidates | Competition l'Afrique au Féminin: the 15 candidates (2013)

Concour  L'Afrique au Féminin : les 15 candidates | Competition L'Afrique au Féminin: the 15 candidates (2013)

Hélène Gnahih - Bénin; Aminata Sylla - Guinée; Alexandra Amon - Côte d’Ivoire; Maimouna Ndiaye - Burkina Faso; Mariama Ibrahim Keïta - Niger; Pauline Mvélé-Nzé - Gabon; Essivi Névamé Akpandza - Togo; Samantha Biffot - Gabon; Siam Marley - Côte d’Ivoire; Fatoumata Coulibaly - Mali; Nadège Batou - Congo; Poupoune Sesonga - Rwanda;  Diane Kaneza - Burundi; Mylène Enanamond Ndoumbé - Cameroun; Aminata Bakhoum - Sénégal

Dans le cadre du concours « l’Afrique au féminin » lancé au printemps 2013, CFI et Canal Plus Afrique réunissent à Abidjan du 24 juillet au 2 août, 15 réalisatrices issues de 13 pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinée, Mali, Sénégal, Togo et Niger) et d’Afrique Centrale (Burundi, Cameroun, Congo, Gabon et Rwanda), afin de participer à un atelier sur le développement et l’écriture de leur projet.

Encadrées par les 4 experts, les candidates auront l’opportunité de mettre en pratique différents exercices lié à la technique (plan Lumière) et au contenu (rédaction de la lettre d’intention et du séquencier), et de participer à des séances spécifiques sur la production, le son, le portrait et le point de vue. La formation sera ponctuée par la projection de documentaires de genres différents (grand reportage, documentaire d’auteur…).

Après cette première session d’aide à l’écriture qui se déroule à Abidjan, chaque réalisatrice retourne dans son pays pour tourner son film. Les meilleures d’entre elles seront de nouveau réunies au début de l’automne pour une session de montage, post production.

L’AFRIQUE AU FEMININ vise à soutenir des réalisatrices africaines francophones, vivant en Afrique subsaharienne. Cet appui s’inscrit dans la volonté partagée par CFI et Canal Plus Afrique de détecter des talents et d’encourager les femmes, souvent sous représentées dans l’accès aux financements et aux métiers de l’audiovisuel, à écrire et réaliser leur film. La thématique du concours est « réussir en Afrique » et entend permettre la réalisation d’une collection documentaire de films de 8 à 12 minutes.


L’Afrique au féminin (Africa by its women) : A competition spotlighting African women filmmakers announced in spring 2013 by CFI and Canal Plus Afrique, will meet in Abidjan from 24 July to 2 August. Fifteen filmmakers from 13 West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Togo and Niger) and Central Africa (Burundi, Cameroun, Congo, Gabon and Rwanda) will participate in a workshop on the development and writing of their project.

Supervised by 4 experts, the candidates will have the opportunity to put into practice diverse exercises related to technique (lighting) and content (writing a letter of intention and sequencing), to participate in specific sessions on production, sound, photography, and point of view. The training will be interspersed with documentary screenings of diverse genres (the coverage of major international events, arthouse documentary...).

After this first writing session in Abidjan, each filmmaker will return to her country to shoot the film. The best among them will meet again at the begin of autumn for a session on editing and post-production.

The objective of L’AFRIQUE AU FEMININ is to support francophone African women filmmakers who live in Sub Saharan Africa. This support is part of the shared effort by CFI (Agence Française de Coopération Médias) and Canal Plus Afrique to discover talent and encourage women--often underrepresented in audiovisual careers and access to funding--to write their treatment and make their films. The theme of the contest is "succeeding in Africa" and aims to provide the means to produce a collection of 8-12 minute documentary films.

Source: CFI. Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

LIRE AUSSI : Le groupe Canal+ : launches "l’Afrique au féminin" to train African talent in audiovisual production | lance « l’Afrique au féminin » pour former les talents africains aux métiers de la production audiovisuelle (2018)

21 July 2013

Influential Women – Aïssa Maïga, Actress: "Read. Think. Create." An interview by Pamela Pianezza

Aïssa Maïga, Actress, featured in the series Influential Women, Tess Magazine an interview by Pamela Pianezza.

Source: Tess Magazine* 14 July 2013. Translated from French by Beti Ellerson

Photo: Aïssa Maïga in the film Les Insoumis (2008)  © SND

She has acted in films by Haneke, Berri, Klapish, Lioret, Sissako, Gondry… By her choice of intelligent and demanding roles,  Aïssa Maïga is at ease with and asserts her womanhood and her black womanhood. She is one of our rare actresses capable of playing both the role of a woman of French origin and a woman 100% African. Moreover, one of the only women to inspire filmmakers with such a range of roles. An encounter with a passionate artist, at the occasion of the release of Aya of Yopougon, a feminist comedy animation film (Aïssa does the voice-over of Aya) inspired by the fantastic graphic novel by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie.

TESS MAGAZINE : Who is Aïssa Maïga?

AÏSSA MAÏGA : A hybrid being, born of the fusion of two cultures, having grown up in a third one. Up until now, all is well...

What do you do in life?

I am an actress.
I have also become producer.
I enjoy myself while working.
Besides, I don't imagine a job any other way.

What brought you to where you are now?

In high school, a professor of French. Her name: Daisie Faye: Distinctive characteristics: sensitivity and edgy humour. Her approach: to teach with fantasy. She had me go on stage in a musical comedy that she wrote. The first time was at the Folie Bergère. I was 14 years old. I immediately felt that my life would be played out in this manner: embodying characters, telling stories, creating another reality. It is this world, recreated, reinvented, that was going to help me tolerate real life.

When you were 20 years old, what were you doing, what were your dreams?

I was a waitress and I furiously dreamed of not remaining so.

In what ways have issues regarding female and male representation in cinema, literature, and art in general been of concern to you?

Artists exist in order to propose, in total freedom, their vision, their interpretation of the world: through denunciation, lyricism, humour... In this reinterpreted world, what place will they (male or female) make for women? Subject or object? It is impossible, in my opinion, to avoid thinking about it when reading a script for example, there is always the issue of its impact on attitudes, the mind, the imagination. And so for the artist, it is about responsibility. Even though I am a woman with certain advantages--I am financially independent, my children are free from want, I enjoy considerable social recognition, I can speak and be listened to--how could I not be concerned when inequalities between the sexes, violence done to women, are still firmly entrenched in every continent?

Does this concern translate in your work? If so, how?

It is a choice that is made continuously: this film, this play, does it perpetuate clichés, or by the angle that it proposes, the interactions between characters, are negative stereotypes deconstructed? The question, that I ask myself the most often intuitively, or in any case systematically, regards gender, but also ethno-cultural identity. For me these two themes are linked by the fact that they are both related to the issue of the domination of "minorities" in society. What interests me even more is the way that awareness and empowerment can be articulated.

Could you name a book or film that intelligently examines these issues?

Camille redouble by Noémie Lvovsky is a beautiful example. The film is forceful from an artistic perspective and also the manner in which it puts the viewer into the woman's skin. It allows us to live, feel, her subjectivity, which is rarely the case in cinema.

A book or film which, on the other hand, left you deeply annoyed?

It is exactly because I was annoyed that I don't want to think about it.

A writer who reflects your vision of relationships between men and women?

Toni Morrison. Perhaps because she is part of two minorities (black and woman in the United States) and above all because she is a great novelist. She knows how to pay homage to this extremely painful history of black people in the United States and to create women characters who are subjects and not objects--complex, emblematic and always embodied. Her work is universal because in it she talks about oppression and the conquest of freedom.

Is there a notable figure in the construction of your ideas?

Albert Memmi. Frantz Fanon. Rainer Maria Rilke. Frederick Douglass. Ouch, I am only naming men...

Advice to the young generation that are (or not) examining these issues?

Read. Think. Create.

Advice to editors for women's publishing?

Never forget that women have brains (laughter).

With an unlimited budget, you may choose to be the minister of Culture or the minister of Women's Rights. Which would you choose and what would be your first step at this post? 

To replace the "Day of the Woman" with "The Woman's Decade". Ten years of forceful and continuous action, could change a generation.

*Tess Magazine: [] NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Femmes dinfluence Aïssa Maïga, Actrice par Pamela Pianezza. Source : Tess Magazine, 14 juillet 2013

Photo: Aïssa Maïga in Les Insoumis (2008)  © SND

Une série de portraits-interviews de celles qui font la pluie et le beau temps sur la planète Culture, qui nous surprennent, nous passionnent et surtout, nous inspirent. Rencontre avec une artiste au parcours original et exigeant.

Elle a joué chez Haneke, Berri, Klapish, Lioret, Sissako, Gondry… Par ses choix de rôles intelligents et exigeants, Aïssa Maïga assume et revendique le fait d’être une femme et d’être une femme noire. Elle est l’une de nos rares actrices capables de passer d’un rôle de Française pure souche à celui d’une Africaine pur jus. Et surtout l’une des seules à inspirer aux réalisateurs des performances aussi variées. Rencontre avec une artiste passionnante, à l’occasion de la sortie de  Aya de Yopougon, comédie féministe animée (Aïssa prête sa voix à Aya) inspirée des géniales bandes dessinées de Marguerite Abouet et Clément Oubrerie (En salles le 17 juillet). TESS MAGAZINE Tess Magazine: [] N'EST PLUS DISPONIBLE

19 July 2013

Durban International Film Festival: Opening film "Of Good Report" not screened, censored by Film Board for "child pornography"

Durban International Film Festival: Opening film "Of Good Report" not screened, censored by Film Board for "child pornography" 

At the opening of the 2013 Durban International Film Festival on 18 July, instead of the highly anticipated screening of the film Of Good Report, the following text was projected on the screen: 

“This film has been refused classification by the Film and Publication Board, in terms of the Film and Publications Act of 1996, unfortunately we may not legally screen the film, Of Good Report, as doing so would constitute a criminal offence.”

Rather than screen another film, deemed disrespectful to the filmmaker, cast and crew, the cinema theatre was transformed into a space for reflection as Lawzi Manzi, a doctor and wife of the filmmaker Jahmil X. T. Qubeka, who taped his mouth shut in protest, described the terrible abuse that teenage girls and young women endure by predatory older men who lure them into relationships. 

A member of the audience filmed the event, which is posted on YouTube with the following description:

"At the opening of the Durban International Film Festival, instead of screening the scheduled film, OF GOOD REPORT, a letter was read which prohibits any screenings and requires that all copies be destroyed. The wife of the filmmaker is a medical doctor and she speaks to the subject of the film and her experiences with women victims, such as those depicted in the film."

Also read: This film has been banned by Katarina Hedren ( 

17 July 2013

Zimbabwean spaces through the eyes of women

“Interaction and Documentation - Zimbabwean spaces through the eyes of women” Exhibition - Friday 19 July 2013, Harare

In October 2009 two filmmakers living in Barcelona came to Zimbabwe to work with Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) to develop women’s storytelling in film in Zimbabwe through documentary skills.  Many of the women had not held a camera before. The products of the workshop show the women’s interaction with their environment and the concerns this group of Zimbabwean women wish to tell the world about:  the self, the community, the nation and hunger, which was felt everyday during this no-budget workshop....

11 July 2013

Mille soleils (A Thousand Suns) by Mati Diop, the heritage of Touki Bouki, an analysis

Marème Niang and Magaye Niang in Touki Bouki
Mille soleils (A Thousand Suns) by Mati Diop, the heritage of Touki Bouki an analysis by Olivier Barlet.

Translation from French by Beti Ellerson for the African Women in Cinema Blog. (An African Women in Cinema Blog/Africultures collaboration)

The world premiere of Mille soleils at the 2013 edition of the International Cinema and Documentary Festival of Marseille on July 6, where it won the grand prize for the international competition, confirms Mati Diop as a defining figure of new cinematographic forms.

"The world is old, but the future comes from the past". Over and over again the griots repeat this beginning of the Sundjata epic. And yet this basic truism is not easy to apply. How will this young filmmaker, daughter of Wasis Diop and niece of the most legendary of African filmmakers, Djibril Diop Mambety, eager to bring forth her vision of the present world, be able to proceed within the delicate equation of a magnificently rich and at the same time an undoubtedly weighty heritage?

From hard work!  Navigating through Dakar in the footprints of Touki Bouki, a film that touches her deeply but which her grandfather summarizes by saying, "It is our history". Here is a story of a family, of handing down, of heritage, of rupture, where personal history mixes with the grand History of cinema. There had to be a entry point, to investigate what had become of Marème Niang and Magaye Niang, the actors who incarnated Anta and Mory, the young nonconformist freedom-loving couple who forty years before traversed Dakar looking for money to fund their voyage to Europe.

As Anta, Marème Niang left to go North, and as Mory, Magaye Niang remained in Dakar.  As the real and fiction intermingle, Magaye is still at the head of the herd and as in Touki Bouki, the animals are at the slaughterhouse. But forty years have passed, and in spite of her referential desire, Mati does not film in the same way as Djibril. Indeed the bloodline is there, as is the blood of the slaughterhouse, the blood of the animals of Georges Franju (1949), evoked to better imagine the carnage of the world wars, as the blood of the slaughterhouses of Rwanda pour memoire by Samba Félix Ndiaye (2003) which closely corresponds to the representation of Itsembabwoko. Blood is present and, like Djibril, Mati does not film this butchery from afar: she is right in the midst of the zebus. While in Touki Bouki it is the shock of the animals and their execution that Djibril represented, in her desire to evoke the damned as well as their force, Mati is more interested in men who are pitted against the herd as in a corrida, as they cry out in victory when they have conquered them. As in Haïtien history where leaders refer to themselves incessantly, blood is a link that traverses time; both the weight of the past and the heritage of the living.

Of this blood link as personal as it is historical, an intense red gives way to an invading blue, imposing itself as it bathes in the blue light of the overhead projector onto the veterans Wasis Diop, Joe Wakam (Issa Samb), Ben Diogaye Bèye and Magaye Niang--who come to present Touki Bouki during a open-air screening. Under a banner of blue it is a new generation that takes its place, a generation of a new cinema that seizes the digital and abandons the film reel, and in the footprints of Djibril, ruptures with a certain classicism. The generation of this taxi driver, which with a loud cry claims the power of the people, admonishing the elders such as Magaye, for making no attempt to do anything. This taxi driver is none other than Djily Bagdad, the rapper of the group 5kiem Underground, a politically committed activist of the Y'en a marre (We are fed up) Movement, which by mobilising street rallies, prevented the passing of power from the president Abdoulaye Wade to his son.

To travel? "It was necessary" said the three comrades. However, even if Wasis left, Joe and Ben stayed. But their paths traversed the world: as travelling is not only geographical. They are, as Magaye, these fragile and uncertain heroes, but who invoke the spirit of certain westerns, such as Gary Cooper of High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) in which the famous song that Djibril was fond of, accompanies Magaye as he leads his herd at the beginning of the film. It is repeated at the end of the film to the rhythm of rock, and Magaye, like the song, has changed: having surmounted the space of memory facing the bluish cold of the Pole. To have gone beyond his pain and confronted his fears, he reached the beyond of memory, this invisible that is no longer a rememberance but the conscience of time.

This will be the heritage of Touki Bouki : these thousands of clocks, these thousands of suns, these thousands of lightning that move us profoundly towards a film which is as much nocturne as luminous, as intuitive as anchored in the present, worthy of entering into a lineage that is innovative and strong. With Mille soleils, Mati Diop revisits with an infinite finesse the programme of Touki Bouki : to triumph without leaving.

Mille soleils (A Thousand Suns) by Mati Diop, the heritage of Touki Bouki an analysis by Olivier Barlet. Source : Translated from French by Beti Ellerson

Towards an African Women in Cinema Studies

Towards an African Women in Cinema Studies
Beti Ellerson

Abstract from Journal of African Cinemas 4:2, pp. 221-228, DOI:

The focus of this article is the conceptualization of an approach to the study of African women in cinema, proposing tenets for constructing a historiography, developing a theoretical framework and formulating a feminist critic of African women’s cinematic practices, as well as gendered representations as a whole. The article considers the extent that African transnational expression has influenced its makers from the very beginning of African cinema history. Avoiding reductive declarations of a monolithic African women in cinema studies, the article attempts to discern key components that are representative of African women and their cinematic gaze.

As a practice, professional body and network, and conceptual framework, and field of study, “African women in cinema’ has been informed by diverse local, regional, continental, and world-wide movements during the last several decades: the global independence movements notably in Africa in the 1950s and 1960s, the international women’s movements and initiatives of the 1970s and 1980s, third cinema and postcolonial theory emerging in the 1970s, the global focus on multiculturalism and gender during the same period, and during the last decades of the twentieth century onward, the dominance of digital technologies, new media and the Internet. Key to this study is the examination of these movements and events as integrated phenomena.

05 July 2013

Black Movies Summer 4th Edition : Madame Cinema (Paris) 06-07 à 26-07 2013

En partenariat avec le festival Paris Hip Hop | In partnership with Paris Hiphop Festival

06-07 - Ouverture | Opening : « Madame, la réalisatrice | Madame, the filmmaker »
Films :
The Door (USA) Ava Duverney
Poetic Justice (1994, USA) John Singleton
Philia (2010, Afrique du Sud | South Africa) Zamo Mkhwanazi

13-07 - Intervenant | Speaker : « Madame, mon histoire | Madame, my history »
Films :
Winnie, l'autre Mandela | Winnie, the Other Mandela (2010, UK) Michael Samuel
Moolaade (2002, Sénégal) Ousmane Sembene

21-07 - Exposition d'affiche de films | Film Poster Exhibit: « Madame, mon sexe | Madame, My sex »
Pariah (2012, USA) Dee Rees
Paris is burning (1990, USA) Jennie Livingston

26-07 - Clôture | Closing : « Madame, ma couleur | Madame, my color »
Films :
For Colored Girls, (2012, USA) Tyler Perry

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