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 October 2014

African American Women in Cinema Festival 19-22 November 2014 New York City

African American Women in Cinema Festival
19-22 November 2014 New York City


African American Women in Cinema International Film Festival provides a platform and showcase for aligning experienced and novice filmmakers.
The African American Women in Cinema International Film Festival mission is to expand, explore and create business opportunities for minority female filmmakers throughout the entertainment industry. It is the goal of AAWIC to give artistic women a path to fulfilling their dreams through showcasing their talents, exposure to peers’ interaction and mentoring by established Industry professionals.
This year there will be a special International Day, on November 22nd, at the United Nations Church Center, located at 777 UN Plaza, located at 1 avenue, at 44th street.

Keynote Panel hosted by Winsome Sinclair. 10:00 am to 11:00

Film Screening Program 11:30 am to 3:00 pm

24 October 2014

UDADA Film Festival (Kenya) - 24-29 October 2014 - Interview with co-organiser Matrid Nyagah - Goethe Institut

UDADA Film Festival 24-29 October 2014
Interview with co-organiser Matrid Nyagah by Sabine Bretz from the Goethe Institut

Kenya will be celebrating the UDADA Film Festival, its first women film festival, from 24-29 October 2014. Organized by Kenyans Wanjiru Kinyanjui, Matrid Nyagah and Naomi Mwaura, since its inception the Goethe-Institut has been one of the main supporters. During the six-day event, filmgoers are welcome at the Goethe-Institut to view films from around the world, interact with the women filmmakers and participate in forums, which focus on various aspects of filmmaking and issues relevant to cinema.
UDADA Film Festival - Interview with Matrid Nyagah

From the 24th to the 29th of October Kenya will be celebrating its first women film festival, the UDADA Film Festival. Since the idea was born, the Goethe-Institut is one of the main supporters of the six-day event, which has been organized by three Kenyan women Wanjiru Kinyanjui, Matrid Nyagah and Naomi Mwaura from the UDADA Festival Trust (UFT). Visitors are welcome at the Goethe-Institut to watch movies from all over the world, interact with female filmmakers and participate in forums that address different aspects of filmmaking. We met with Matird Nyagah to find out more about this exciting feast.

Sabine Bretz: The UDADA filmfestival is the first women film festival in Kenya. Why do you think there is a need for a woman filmfestival?

Matird Nyagah: We believe women have many stories to tell. But often African women are not seen as if they can become cinematographers, directors, producers or filmwriters. Speaking from my own experiences, when I tell people I am a filmdirector, they often cannot believe it. Often people think women can just do make-up or be an assistent. We thought, why not empower women through a women’s film festival. Our overall target for UDADA Festival Trust is however broader: we want to celebrate African women in the arts in general. That is why we registered as a trust, so that we can do more things than film. Maybe next year we do music or fine art or fashion.

S.B.: Is it the first women’s film festival within Africa?

M.N.: It is the second one. There is one in Zimbabwe it is called International Images Film Festival for Women. But it is encompassing all arts. The director is Tsitsi Dangarembga, who will also visit our festival, she will be doing a workshop.

S.B.: UDADA is a great name, how did you come up with it?

M.N.: Coming up with a name was a whole process where we were discussing different names. 

Eventually we were writing to this foundation to see if we can partner with them, the Akili Dada Foundation. That’s how the idea of udada came. Udada is Kiswahili for sisterhood, it is unique and it sticks and we wanted something Kenyan.

S.B.: How many submissions did you receive since your call for submission, and how many will you be able to show?

M.N.: We had about 160 entries! To receive so many films was overwhelming and exciting for us. The six days of the festivals will be packed with 16 hours of film screening. We will show about 87 films: short films including some animations, and 15 feature films. I have gone through almost all movies; they cover a variety of themes. So people should really come, because there is really a lot to gain from it.

S.B.: Do you also screen local movies?

M.N.: That was our hope, but we were very surprised because we received films from all over the world, just not many from Africa. We received films from Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, its endless, the list is just endless. But from Kenya, where the idea was born, we didn't have many entries. Somehow I think they felt too close to us. In the industry we are all friends, so some people dropped films way after the deadline. At some point it became difficult for us to accept movies that we received too late, because no one is special, there is nothing we could do about it. We are hoping in the future that we will sensitize a lot of our people to send films, and send them on time.

S.B.: Do you have entries from other African filmmakers?

M.N.: Yes we have, but not so many. From Zimbabwe we have six
films and there is one very interesting film from Ghana.

S.B.: Besides a variety of movies, what else can visitor expect?

M.N.: Besides the filmscreenings, we have discussion forums and capacity building workshops, where we have experts on particular topics. Women that we look up to. Judy Kibinge is going to talk about film funding. She has a documentary film fund which was initiated through Ford foundation called DOCUBOX and she is also a film director, so she will talk about that.Then we have Marisella Ouma from Kenya Copyright Board. She will talk about how to do the copyright. We thought that would be really important because we have many challenges about copyrights. Another workshop is about how to classify a film. Then we have a workshop about co-production in film by Tsistsi Dangarembga, the lady from the festival in Zimbabwe. The script playwriting and film critique will be held by our former director Dr. Rachael Anyango Diang’a. Eva Mwaniki will discuss film distribution and social media, and we are very happy to have a guest actress from Germany, Stephanie Stremler who will be leading the forum on acting for the screen. The forums will be happening in the morning and the screenings will be from 2 to 8 pm. All forums will take place at the Goethe-Institut and the screenings will take place at the Goethe- Institut and at the Michael Joseph Center.
S.B.: To organize a festival is a lot of work, how did you divide the workload among the three of you and who has been helping you?

M.N.: At the moment I contribute all my time to the festival; I decided not to work so that I can just concentrate on UDADA. The other two have full time jobs, I figured if all of us are working then how will UDADA come about. We also divide the work in terms of who is good in Kenya - Germany and 
what field, but before anything goes out we make sure to have a meeting to agree on it. Of course we needed more people helping us. We have two interns from Multimedia University, where Wanjiru Kinyanjui lectures. They volunteer for UDADA, and at the same time it is part of what they are supposed to do in school, so they will get credit points for it. They really helped at lot. Then we have three more people, which are our planners. They are also volunteering.

S.B.: What are your hopes and wishes for the next years?

M.N.: We are very passionate, UDADA is passion driven, not money driven. Our wish is to support women in art. We are trying to get more sponsors, so that in two years we are ready to have a jury and have an awarding film festival. With more funding we would also do technical trainings that could run for the whole week during a festival, and then at the end of it the women that have
been trained will come up with a three to five minute story and we shoot it, and screen it at the end of the festival. In general we are full of ideas and plans to promote Kenyan women in arts, in all counties of Kenya. In order to do that we will work hard to make the UDADA Festival Trust grow and grow.

S.B.: Thank you for the interview!

Sabine Bretz works at the Goethe-Insitut Nairobi as webeditor and is a freelance journalist currently based in Nairobi.


23 October 2014

Film analysis: “Girlhood” | « Bande de filles » by/de Céline Sciamma

“Girlhood” by Céline Sciamma: Beyond clichés, analysis by Olivier Barlet | « Bande de filles » de Céline Sciamma : Au-delà des clichés, analyse par Olivier Barlet

Translation from French by Beti Ellerson for the African in Cinema Blog. A collaboration with

Girlhood [Bande de filles] opened the Directors' Fortnight at the last edition of Cannes [2014] with an excellent reception. Should one see in its success a celebration of ethnography-style clichés or the recognition of the individuality of an experience? 

What is interesting about Girlhood is precisely that it avoids clichés, or rather that they are reworked to go beyond them. Yet this timorous black teenager who realises that the only way to escape her fate is to fight, could have fallen into the ploy of preconceived ideas.

That this does not happen is due to the subtle way the story is told, but above all to Céline Sciamma's aesthetic choices: the camera close to the body gives a soft feeling, capturing gestures and glances with framing that highlights the beauty and humanity of the characters. Marieme who in the gang becomes Vic (Karidja Toure) is in all the shots, the film constantly following her point of view. 

This identification with the heroine is not only an emotional one, but it is also political. While it is the group who goes through an initiation, it is Vic who must experience the solitude that will allow her to define herself and go beyond it. Her painful journey, which entails a series of rejections, illustrates the possibility of reinvention, allowing her to step out of a predestined path, and to leave the immutability of the housing projects. It is she who forges her own destiny and not because she is forced to do so. 

While Girlhood is set in the outskirts of the city, it has none of the codes of the "banlieue film"; a term used to designate films that reduce these spaces to clichés. It is not shot with a handheld camera and drenched in rap music. The film does not try to prove its legitimacy. Rather, it works in scope mode stylised with lustrous colours, using tracking shots and steadycams or placing the camera on a tripod for episodes tending toward sequence shots. This approach allows Vic to have a romantic destiny.

Female violence is not new (though really never recognised), what is new (and which dates from the time when Nicolas Sarkozy was interior minister), though still minor, is the phenomenon of girl gangs. Vic and her friends are neither sweet nor maternal. Loud and strong-minded, they express a political violence, fighting against all rules and assignations.  They are all black, as are the boys who they frequent. Again this is a political choice of representation of this invisible sector of multicultural France--in this French society, when Vic can finally play a video game with her brother, and given the choice between Brazil and France, she chooses France without hesitation.

Hence, it is not neutral to choose black teenager girls to express what is the basis of Céline Sciamma's cinema (Water Lilies, Tomboy): the construction of femininity, the affirmation of desires, the negotiation of identities. As it relates to her objective, she finds in these girls the requisite vitality. 

If Girlhood assists the girls that it presents on screen, it is in being aware of their wonderful energy, it is in filming—without locking them in the stereotype beyond what they themselves are working to resist—their gestures, their dance, their speech, their symbols, and the spaces that they create—such as the hotel room that they book in order to be together.

There is rage in this energy, and it is this rage that will allow Vic to leave the over-determinism of her social environment, and cinematically—to leave the frame. Transgression, a beautiful programme!

Read other analyses of Girlhood on the African Women in Cinema Blog:

A Gang of What? by Claire Diao | Bande de quoi? Par Claire Diao
Gang of Chicks-Bande de meufs by Amanda Kabuiku

A Gang of What? | Bande de quoi ? by/par Claire Diao – Analysis/Analyse : Bande de filles/Girlhood by/de Céline Sciamma

A Gang of What? | Bande de quoi? by/par Claire Diao – Analysis/Analyse : Bande de filles/Girlhood by/de Céline Sciamma

Source: Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

After two feature films about identity, femininity and the construction of self, Céline Sciamma completes her trilogy with a film about four black adolescent girls employing a stereotypical vision of a girl gang from a neighbourhood. And it is applauded by the French cinema establishment.

"These working class girls flanking the metro with the souk..." ( "These girls from the 'hood (Le Monde). "The riffraff girl gang" (Le Nouvel Observateur). "The black Beatles chicks from the 'hood (Les Inrockuptibles). Here are in several phrases, the French image of black girls who live on the outskirts of the French capital presented in the latest film by Céline Sciamma.

This film demonstrates a mastery of composition, lighting, staging and directing of actors, like her previous films Water Lilies (2007) and Tomboy (2011)—a diptych on identity, self-acceptance and discovery of sexuality. Featuring four beautiful novice actresses: Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla, Lindsay and Karamoh Mariétou Touré (as well as two rising actors, currently confined to supporting roles: Idrissa Diabaté and Rabah Naït Oufella) Girlhood was a sensation at Cannes last May [2014] and aided by beautiful advertising, it awaits its place leading up to the Caesars, and will certainly receive an award.

A girl (Karidja Touré, featured in ELLE magazine, 2014), oppressed by her environment, decides to join a group of girls, dancing to the music of Rihanna, they dictate their own laws. She falls in love with a guy from the neighborhood, but not wanting to look like a “sucker”, is forced to hide her feelings. Her mother, who works as an office cleaner, reflects the preponderance of people of color in these jobs in France. Her brother beats her for no reason, while demanding that she wear a blonde wig to meet a dealer (presumably to move about with discretion?) This girl gang, who brawls and steals clothes, reinforces a French cinema that already demonstrates an inglorious representation of its minorities.

It is rather amusing to note that the wave of constant media criticism of this film comes from the "minorities" [of non-European origins], a public that is fed up and disappointed with films such as: "Fatou the Malian, Samba, Girlhood, Cité Rose...France sells you dreams my negroes", cited by LeCritiqueur on Twitter. "The film Girlhood, in summary, will further stigmatize black girls: they are loud and wild," Nihahsah tweets. "A huge disappointment !!! Clichés as long as the weaves of the protagonists, devoid of any credibility, such as the scene of the heroine who steals from a school mate, words put into her mouth that sound incredibly fake!" writes Jamel Zaouche lashing out on Facebook.

How does one interpret the unexpected hopes that this film created in France? The expectations, the desire, to see black people on the screen. Beautiful smiling girls who one wants to love and watch. How does one interpret the media hype surrounding this film? That France needs to reassure itself by looking at characters whose social determinism does not cause discomfort. This poor girl, in her housing projects, beaten by her brother, obliged to help her mother at work, stealing clothes and skipping class! Let us not have to hear the usual verse, that "there are no black actresses in France." How many actresses are waiting patiently for someone to offer them a role commensurate with their talent?

Once again, French cinema locks itself into a quasi-ethnographic vision of these "neighbourhood youth" (condemned to an ageless youth) that one likes to dissect and observe, but does not listen when they speak. So will films of the new generation of filmmakers—this Double Wave composed of artists born in France to parents from abroad—find a place on French screens? Where are the roles representing intelligent, talented black people, whose character is not conditioned by their cultural background or by a fixed image? Who will go listen to the flow of "KT-Gorique in Brooklyn" by Pascal Tessaud, to non jargon-filled dialogue such as "Ghetto Child" by Guillaume Tordjman and Uda Benyamina, the future films of Maimouna Doucouré and Josza Anjembe? When will one realise that actors "from minority origins" are also influenced by Lino Ventura and Jean Gabin? These actors of a bygone era where dialogue and attitudes still make one dream?

One will probably have to wait for the next film by Alice Diop for the public and professionals to become aware of the potential of this generation. As she showed in her documentary The Death of Danton, where Steve Tientcheu broke with "the statistics of social determinism" to become an actor, only to be confronted with "a certain type of role and straightjacket" from which he had difficulty breaking free. Hopefully the actresses of Girlhood can go beyond this. And the film of Céline Sciamma will open the eyes of the industry on the "muzzled" creative potential that exists in this country.

Read other analyses of Girlhood on the African Women in Cinema Blog:

Beyond clichés/Au-delà des clichés by/par Olivier Barlet
Gang of Chicks-Bande de meufs by Amanda Kabuiku

20 October 2014

Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series – 25-27 October 2014

Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series  
25-27 October 2014
Women – Films – Empowerment 
Celebrating women of color across the globe

Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series, founded by African Voices magazine and Long Island University (LIU), Brooklyn Campus, is the first Brooklyn-based festival devoted to supporting films produced, directed and written by women of color. Since 1997, the festival has been enriching the city with over 500 films by women of African, Caribbean, Latino, Asian, Indian and Native American descent. Reel Sisters attracts more than 800 film lovers from across the nation and globe including California, Chicago, Florida to as far away as Britain. The festival screens 25 films each year.
Reel Sisters also provides scholarships to emerging women filmmakers and offers other resources for women filmmakers. The festival not only showcases films, but hosts panels and workshops as well.
Reel Sisters will be held from 25-26 October 2014 at LIU (Brooklyn, New York, USA).
See complete schedule of films and events at: 
Text: Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival press page.

17 October 2014

And Still I Rise - Women's History Month Film Festival - Women in Media-Newark Call for Entries 2015

And Still I Rise
Women's History Month Film Festival
Call for Entries 2015
Women in Media-Newark

Women in Media-Newark encourages submissions of films by and about women from every country and nationality world wide!

Women in Media-Newark mission statement:

Women In Media – Newark is an organization that advocates for and educates the public about issues affecting the lives of women using film, video and new media as our platform. Merging culture and academia, we also rally behind the brave women who courageously struggle to assume leadership roles in the film industry with their conscious effort to present a balanced image of women, dispelling the stereotypes, and changing public perception of their sisters worldwide.

12 October 2014

Remembering Khady Sylla: Djia Mambu interviews Mariama Sylla, producer and co-director of “A Single Word” (with the late Khady Sylla) | À la mémoire de Khady Sylla : Entretien avec Mariama Sylla, par Djia Mambu

Djia Mambu interviews Mariama Sylla, producer and co-director of the film “A Single Word” (with the late Khady Sylla). 
SOURCE: Translated from French by Beti Ellerson.
"A Simple Word", premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the documentary by the Senegalese sisters/filmmakers, Mariama and Khady Sylla, draws a picture of their traditional oral culture where their grandmother remains one of the last guarantors of genealogical memory.
Khady Sylla, who died in October 2013, left with us a tribute to the ancestors and those who have gone. It is the seventh collaboration with her younger sister, who considers this the most accomplished of their work.

Djia Mambu: Two Senegalese sister filmmakers, this is rather rare in this realm?
Mariama Sylla: I started working with my sister at the age of 17; she is the one who trained me and introduced me to cinema and scriptwriting. The person I am today is the result of this long journey with Khady, the first-born of our family. I am the youngest and she and I often laughed about being at these two ends, despite the difference in age and education, we were able to come together.
DM: How did you come up with the idea to make a film paying tribute to your ancestors?
MS: The idea for the film came one day when, while sitting on a mat next to our great grandmother, her voice broke the silence of the evening sunset and the purple twilight. She sang of her ancestors. Her slightly husky voice, the emotion that it carried, moved us deeply. Though we were not able to record these words that came from the depths of time, we were satisfied with listening to the voice of this centenarian with whom we had woven so many ties.
It is from this moment that we had a desire to make a film about the oral tradition but seen from the perspective of our family, because we had realised that being of a generation of the written word, that this manner of relaying the word had escaped us.
DM: Oral transmission is at the heart of your culture, and it is your grandmother Penda Diogo Sarr who is the guardian. How did you manage to bring it to the screen?
MS: We filmed several takes as Penda Diogo Sarr taught us the words. We asked her to teach us the foundations of oral culture. She was very happy to do so, patiently repeating the words of a verse about three of our ancestors.
Our grandmother lives simultaneous disappearances, that of her own imminent  person because of her advanced age, and that of the world that witnessed her birth into the world of the Wolof peasantry. And that is why every time she meets her grandchildren, this meeting is highly emotional. All of the imperceptible emotion that you see in the film comes from this sense of loss. "A Single Word" is not an ethnographic film about speaking, but it is rather a portrait and a questioning of the world.
DM: These images of you with your grandmother are full of emotion…
MS:  Seen implicitly, read between the lines of the film, is this elder, in the twilight of her life, trying to convey that which risks disappearing with her. That is why we chose the simplest images as possible, in fusion with the bodies. This vision enabled us to film our ancestor while appearing in the film as secondary characters and as spectators.
DM: In your view, what is the real issue at stake if the oral transmission of culture and heritage disappears in Senegal, Africa, and in the world?
MS: The spoken word for the Wolof peasantry is the vehicle of all knowledge. Speech travels through time. The Wolof is often perceived as a person of the word, master of the oratorical art. Our grandmother Penda lived during colonisation at its most difficult moments: forced labour, the conscription of soldiers... She lived during independence, the rule of the new elites, and the gradual hegemony of the written word over oral tradition. She lived through the gradual disappearance of this world. The spoken word defies death and oblivion.
Presently, as a generation of the written word we have come to realise that the spoken word has eluded us through our existence as Senegalese women educated to master the word by writing it down. The disappearance of the spoken word is having a great impact on our lives not only in Africa but also for all humanity. 
DM: Especially with the explosion of social media over the past decade...
MS: In our opinion, all the crises in the world result from the fact that we live in a silent, nebulous world, where the notion of dialoguing, which includes sharing and talking to each other, becomes obsolete. And then we rely on Facebook and Twitter as a stopgap, as a means of communication--at the same time walking by ones sister in the morning without greeting her.
DM: Did the recent passing of Khady in any way influence the ending of the film?
MS: The passing of Khady greatly influenced the final voice-over in the film but the visual editing is the same, as we had completed it just before her death. There are two voices in the film. The first is Khady’s, which was done in her presence, and the second is mine, which I wrote while finalising the film. I went through a moment of shock and anger, then slowly, the phrase in Césaire's work Notebook of a Return to My Native Land was constantly in my thoughts, and all this anger turned into a desire to write about my sister, to tell her a final goodbye, and this is how my voice was laid down in the film.
DM: As the film screens in the cinema houses of Senegal, people will also view Khady's final work. What message from her will you give them?
MS: Khady often asked this question: "What happened to us as human beings, when Facebook and Twitter are rapidly replacing the ties created by speech, family and friends?". I ask this same question to the filmgoers and those who will read this interview, so that the followers of this virtual world can one day respond to this question.
Source: []
À la mémoire de Khady Sylla : Entretien avec Mariama Sylla, par Djia Mambu. Productrice et coréalisatrice du film Une Simple Parole (avec la regrettée Khady Sylla)


Présenté en Première internationale au Festival international du Film de Toronto (TIFF), le documentaire des deux sœurs cinéastes sénégalaises Khady et Mariama Sylla, Une Simple Parole, dessine un portrait de leur culture traditionnelle orale où leur grand-mère demeure l'une des ultimes garantes de la mémoire généalogique.

Khady Sylla, disparue en octobre 2013 nous lègue ici un véritable hommage aux ancêtres et disparus. Une 7ème collaboration avec sa cadette qui estime cette œuvre comme la plus accomplie qu'elles aient réalisé.


08 October 2014

Women of Africa/Diaspora at the Festival International de Films de Femmes Creteil



XI Festival International Films de Femmes 1989

XX Festival International Films de Femmes 1998

XXXII Festival International Films de Femmes 2010


XI Festival International Films de Femmes 1989

Bérénice Reynaud & June Givanni

Images de femmes noires - Images of Black Women

Etre femme, cinéaste et noire, c’est se trouver dans une situation unique pour donner de nouvelles images à ce qu’on a appelé la “diaspora noire”. Mais pourquoi se fait-il alors que la voix cinéastes noires ait souvent tant de mal à se faire entendre ?

To be a woman, cineaste and black, is to find oneself in a unique situation to be able to provide new images to what is called the “black diaspora”. But why is it then that the voices of black women cineastes often find it so hard to make themselves heard?

- Angela Davis a été invitée par le festival à participé au debat de clôture de la Section Images de Femmes Noires

- Angela Davis was invited to the festival to participate in the closing discussion of the Images of Black Women Section


Bérénice Reynaud & June Givanni proposent pour illustrer le Cinéma des femmes noires, une serie de 28 films: courts, moyens, longs métrages. Provenance : Etats-Unis, Jamaïque, Grande-Bretagne, Antilles, Afrique, France…

Bérénice Reynaud & June Givanni propose a series of 28 film to illustrate Black Women’s Cinéma: shorts, mediums, longs features. From: United States, Jamaica, Great Britain, the Antilles, Africa, France…


Contenu de l’article “Images de femmes noires” - Subsections of article “Images of Black Women”

-Plus qu’un accès difficile aux modes de production - Beyond difficult access to modes of production

-Se reconnaître dans leurs images - Recognizing themselves in their images

-Se définir en terme de race…ou de sexe ! - Defining oneself in terms of race…or gender!

-Questionnements - Questioning

-Un cinéma de la diversité et de l’inattendu - A cinema of diversity and the unpredictable

XX Festival International Films de Femmes 1998

Réalisatrices d’Afrique - Women Filmmakers of Africa

- Avant-première nationale du film Mossane de Safi Faye

en présence de la réalisatrice et de la comédienne Isseu Niang

- National preview of the film Mossane by Safi Faye

in the presence of the director and the actress Isseu Niang

-Projection de Daughters of the Dust de Julie Dash - À nos 20 ans

-Screening of Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash - On our 20th year 

-Projection de Guelwaar par Ousmane Sembene. Suivi d’une rencontre avec Isseu Niang, comedienne.

-Screening of Guelwaar by Ousmane Sembene. Followed by a Q&A with Isseu Niang, actress.

-Sarah Maldoror présente son film "Sambizanga" à l'occasion de la rétrospective Réalisatrices d'Afrique. Dans la Leçon de Cinéma, elle raconte ses débuts à Moscou, sa manière de travailler, ses luttes et ses engagement politiques et son rapport à la poésie et à la littérature, qui sont au cœur de ses films.

-Sarah Maldoror presents her film "Sambizanga" on the occasion of the Réalisatrices d'Afrique retrospective. During the Leçon de Cinéma, Sarah Maldoror talks about her time in Moscow, her way of working, her activism, political commitment, and her use of poetry and literature, which are at the heart of her films.

-Forum Etat des lieux du cinéma africain” : la place des réalisatrices, la relation fictions/documentaires 

Présenté par Michel Amarger, responsable de la section “réalisatrices d’Afrique à RFI et Jacqui Buet, directrice du Festival. Avec Catherine Ruelle, journaliste à RFI, critique de cinéma, membre de l’association “Racines Noires” et les realisatrices de la section “Réalisatrices d’Afrique”

-Forum Overview of the situation of African cinema”: the place of women filmmakers, the relationship between fictions and documentaries

Presented by Michel Amarger, coordinator of the “Women Filmmakers of Africa” section at RFI and Jacqui Buet, director of the Festival. With Catherine Ruelle, journalist at RFI, film critic, member of the “Racines Noires” association and the women of the “Réalisatrices d’Afrique” section

-Soirée de gala “Réalisatrices d’Afrique” - Gala evening “Women Filmmakers of Africa”

Wanjiru Kinyanjui: La Bataille de l’arbe sacré - Battle of the Sacred Tree

Contenu de l’article “Réalisatrices d’Afrique”,  Les images d’Afrique aux féminins pluriels - Subsections of article “Women Filmmakers of Africa”, Images of Africa, women’s multiple perspectives 

-Diversités des cinémas nationaux - Diversity of national cinemas

-Emergences des femmes réalisatrices - Emergence of women directors

-Impulsions sur tous les formats - having a pulse on all formats

-Recherches des sujets efficaces - Research effective topics

-Conquêtes des meilleurs voies - Seizing the best routes

-Retrospective, Safi Faye, ouvrir la voie des femmes - Retrospective, Safi Faye, paving the way for women

-Regards sur l’Afrique - Euzhan Palcy, marraine de la section

XXXII Festival International Films de Femmes 2010


Whether immigration or travel between the two continents, Europe and Africa, the 32nd edition of the Festival International de Films de Femmes welcomes a number of films this year that reflect this fusion of two worlds. Saturday, the section “Trans-Europe-Africa” opens its doors in the presence of Safi Faye, who has honored us with the presentation of her film “Peasant Letter”.

Gala Trans Europe Africa

The filmmakers from the section, Trans-Europe-Africa : Alla Kovgan, Moira Tierney, Nadia El Fani, Christiane Chabi Kao, Lucie Thierry, Nicoletta Fagiolo, Pascale Obolo, Halida Boughriet, Safi Faye

"Le 32e Festival International de Films de Femmes rend hommage à Safi Faye” - Welcoming of Safi Faye

This evening is dedicated to Africa, to the African filmmakers, and our section Trans-Europe-Africa. For us, Safi Faye is an important role model. In order for African filmmakers to exist, to be able to show their films and lead a tough fight, they sometimes work in isolation, but they also have a great deal of courage, tenacity and talent.

Safi Faye : La Grande Référence - Leçon de cinéma


Un cinéma qui participe aux bouleversements du monde

Aujourd'hui, le cinéma africain des femmes, à l'égal de leur confrère réalisateurs, se caractérise par une grande diversité des sujets traités. La transcendance du quotidien de ces femmes « visibles » ou « invisibles » se manifeste par des œuvres de créations fortes et originals pleines d'humour et de poésie.

Douze ans après l'accueil des réalisatrices Africaines à Créteil (en 1998), le Festival renoue avec les réalisatrices confirmées et soutient les nouveaux talents pour un voyage Trans-Europe-Afrique à travers 25 pays du continent, 40 réalisatrices présentes.

Les pays représentés sont l'Afrique du Sud, l'Algérie, le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, le Burundi, la Cameron, le Cap Vert, les Comores, le Congo, la Côte d'lvoire, l'Egypte, le Gabon, la Guinée, le Kenya, le Libéria, Madagascar, le Malawi, le Mali, la Maroc, la Mauritanie, le Mozambique, le Nigeria, le Niger, l'Ouganda, le Rwanda, le Sénégal, le Soudan, le Togo, la Tunisie et le Zimbabwe.


Frieda Ekotto, professeure de théorie du cinéma à l'Université du Michigan, Etats-Unis et critique cinéma.

A cinema that participates in the upheavals of the world

Today, African women's cinema, like their fellow male directors, is characterized by the great diversity of subjects in which they engage. The transcendence of the everyday life of these"visible" or "invisible" women manifests itself through strong and original creative works full of humor and poetry.

Twelve years after welcoming African women filmmakers to Créteil (in 1998), the Festival is reconnecting with established women filmmakers as well as supporting new talents for a trans-Europe-Africa across 25 countries of the continent, with filmmakers present.

The countries represented are South Africa, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameron, Cape Verde, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'lvoire, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.


Frieda Ekotto,  film critic and professor of film theory at the University of Michigan, USA.

02 October 2014

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

W.A.K.A, a/un film by Françoise Ellong, analysis/analyse by/par Claudia Muna Soppo. 

Source : Terangaweb.comTranslation from French by Beti Ellerson.

The 4th edition of FIFDA (Festival des films de la diaspora Africaine) African Diaspora Film Festival was held this year from 5-7 September in Paris. W.A.K.A the debut feature of director Françoise Ellong released in 2013, was among the jury selection, screened on Sunday under the day’s theme "migration-transmigration."

Shot entirely in Douala by a Franco-Cameroonian crew, the film relates the story of a young woman Mathilde who raises her son, Adam alone. Interpreted by Patricia Bakalack, Mathilde wants a stable source of income to provide for her son but nowhere, as a single mother, is she able to find support. Running out of options, Mathilde’s only recourse is to accept a proposition, with dire consequences: Mathilde becomes Maryline, a W.A.K.A—Cameroonian slang for prostitute. The term derives from the English verb "to walk" and by extension, WAKAs are women who walk at night in search of customers. During the day Mathilde is Adam's mother and at night she becomes Maryline, the WAKA. 

Matilde pampers Adam, drops him off at school and gives him a loving home. But to provide these things Maryline must undergo humiliating, sometimes violent acts, with strangers. There is a fragile, interdependent boundary between these two worlds. Hence, while Mathilde attempts to protect her son from this world of prostitution, several characters and situations influence the fate of this mother-son duo. Family, neighbours, even school buddies, all observe the choice of this mother. Maryline must also deal with the many encounters and unscrupulous intentions that punctuate her nightlife. In this regard, it is impossible to ignore Bruno, the uncompromising pimp who gave her the name. He refuses to see his business affected by Mathilde’s situation, determined that she must work no matter the cost. Will she be able to separate herself from Adam? What price will she have to pay for it?

The film that Françoise Ellong proposes is compelling in many ways. A coherent scenario that keeps the audience in suspense throughout. Remarkable acting, enhanced by serious camera work. Sound, images, shots and editing, together create an atmosphere adapted for every scene: sometimes revealing a low-spirited ambience on a sidewalk of restless prostitutes or tenderness shared for a birthday. In this regard, one admires the particular choice of location that presents a view of a diverse Douala, a city favorable to both day and night shooting.

Bringing all of these elements together, W.A.K.A portrays complex characters enabling the viewer to pose questions about issues of equal importance. They are at the same time endearing and repulsive, and while in some instances we would like to stand by them, we cannot ignore their transgressions and we rush to judgment. Though Mathilde is a prostitute, do the solutions that she choose at a specific time for various reasons negate her past, diminish her struggle, condemn her in relationship to others, deprive her forever of their love? Is it because women are reduced to these measures that they also lose their humanity? These are difficult issues and oh how necessary it is that the viewer be led to reflect on them through this film. 

Hence, one quickly understands that the film's intention goes beyond a plunge into the world of prostitution in Douala, but focuses on the journey of a young mother in difficulty. In fact, prostitution is nothing more than a background, a pretext to relate Matilde’s struggle as a mother. Françoise Ellong explains and justifies this choice elsewhere, in her statement of intent that accompanies the film: 

"By choosing to confront this woman with the world of prostitution, the purpose is clearly to put her in a position deemed degrading in the eyes of society; in order to better reveal her strength and struggle as a mother. Beyond what this barbarism evokes, particularly to Cameroonians, the reading of the title should be done in the form of an acronym. Hence, W.A.K.A in this context, although referring to the global universe of prostitution, means Woman Acts for her Kid Adam."

A heartfelt performance by the actors, interesting cinematography, a touching story, and a committed director, finally W.A.K.A is a Cameroonian film to see and support for a variety of reasons, that ultimately can be summarized in one: it is a GOOD film. 

CLAUDIA MUNA SOPPO has a diploma in literature and is currently studying Humanities, Modern Literature and Political Science at Sorbonne Paris IV. She is a passionate of the classics and very curious about black culture in general, especially African literature. In addition, Claudia Muna Soppo has a growing interest in the cultural, economic and social dynamics that drive the African continent and is considering a career in public affairs.


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