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.

28 November 2014

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

Producer-Filmmaker-Actor Constance Ejuma who was born in Cameroon and grew up in the United States, talks about her film projects and crowdfunding campaign; as well as her identity and telling the story of where she came from.

Constance, you are one of the producers of the film Ben & Ara, which touches on issues that are not often visible in the media. You also play the role of Ara. Please talk a bit about the film and what motivated you to focus on this topic?

Ben & Ara is about two people from different worlds who have a passion-ate love affair, which eventually falls apart. From this perspective, it isn’t an unusual story. What does make it unconventional is the pairing of an African Muslim woman and an agnostic American man who meet in an academic setting and immediately have a strong intellectual connection which flowers into a physical attraction. Over the years we’ve seen a few faith-based films crop up, but I’ve yet to see one about an African woman practicing Islam in a social environment where people are more often than not disenchanted by or uninterested in religion and spirituality. The fact that a woman of strong faith and a man who has doubts about the existence of God end up falling in love is something I find intriguing.

The story came about in an interesting way. The writer, Joseph Baird, kicked around this idea of an African American woman who has a secret affair with a white agnostic man she meets at the university she attends. Joe wrote a scene based on this, we made a short and we figured that was that. But Joe kept getting positive feedback from people who watched it, which was encouraging enough for him to write a screenplay. After a year or so of story development we ended up with a really good script. The choice to make Ara an African Muslim was fairly easy; it’s in-line with my own background and we wanted to create as much authenticity between myself and the character as possible.

The film Ben & Ara is directed by Nnegest Likke (of African-American and Ethiopian parentage). Could you discuss how she came on board as director of the film, your producer-director relationship, what it was like to work with her.

There were a couple of people we had in mind to direct Ben & Ara, but for me Nnegest was the best fit. She wrote and directed Phat Girlz which was successfully distributed by a major studio. She was also familiar with the subject matter of our film and it certainly doesn’t hurt that she has an African background.

My manager is acquainted with her so he sent her the script to gauge her interest. We met, bonded over a love for art-house films, and she offered a lot of constructive feedback but ultimately agreed to come on board.

Drawing from her own experience as a writer, her goal was always to stay true to Joe’s intentions while figuring out the most authentic way to execute on those intentions with the limited resources we had. Working with her bolstered my confidence as an actor, especially since I had the added pressure of being a producer. I felt like she was always thinking ahead, trying to catch blind spots and constantly working to capture gems that would enhance this art-house feel we were going for. She was relentless in her efforts to make this a great film in spite of the challenges we faced, which is something I truly admire about her.

By the very positive response to the crowdfunding campaign there appears to be a keen interest in the film. How did the campaign evolve? What was the process, and what are the next steps toward completion of the film?

The most difficult part about our crowdfunding campaign was coming up with a number. How much would our entire film budget be? How much could we realistically raise? How much of a risk were we willing to take by choosing Kickstarter over a different platform? Once we came up with answers for these crucial questions, putting up a Kickstarter page was fairly straightforward.

I was surprised by how receptive people were, to be honest. While we expected that people we know would help us out, we weren’t prepared for how overwhelmingly supportive they would be. A huge amount of the money we raised came from our families. I even had relatives from Cameroon donating to the cause. It was a humbling experience. I think the reason for the positive reception is two-fold. One reason is that Ben & Ara is a love story, which makes it relatable and universal. I think there is something about the story that touches people and captures their imaginations. The other reason is that this film is a tangible thing that people who support us could get behind. Joe and I have spent many years in Los Angeles pursuing acting careers, and though we’ve been doing all the things that actors here do to move their careers forward, it’s really difficult to convince people back home that you’re making progress when they don’t see you on TV on a regular basis. The excitement around the prospect of seeing us on the big screen was also a motivating factor for our families and friends.

We’ve made some really good progress so far. We just wrapped production in October and we’re going into post. We’re also going to launch another crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for postproduction but for now we encourage people to donate on the website: www.benandara.com. We would have loved for the money we raised last year to cover the entire production but stretching it that far was literally impossible. However, waiting to raise our entire budget before shooting the film was never an option we wanted to pursue. We didn’t want to lose momentum and I think the choice to move forward in spite of our limited resources will pay off.

You are also working on a documentary film project called “Don’t Forget Me” about a woman in the diaspora finding her roots. Is this autobiographical? Who is making this request? To whom is it being addressed?

Yes, “Don’t Forget Me” is autobiographical but it’s still a work in progress. It came about as a result of curiosity. I was born in Cameroon but I grew up in the United States. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to maintain strong ties with my place of birth and its culture. But when I finished college, I started wondering about my tribe. Who are these people and what are they about? I took a trip to Cameroon, visited some villages and asked a bunch of questions. I had no idea what I was doing.

More recently, my curious gaze has been directed towards my grandmother, whom I felt I knew nothing about. I figured, if I, her oldest grandchild, didn’t know her story, it’s very likely that the rest of her grandchildren were equally ignorant. Because I made it my job to satisfy a curiosity and document her story, the request is self-generated. But the most startling discovery for me was the complete disconnect between my generation and hers within my family, and how little effort is being made to bridge that gap. So I guess I’m addressing members of my generation who fail to see the value of their heritage.

A recurring theme by filmmakers of the “neo-African Diaspora” in the the United States, is their connection to Africa, the return to Africa. Could you give some reflections on this tendency, its manifestations, and its reception by Africans on the continent?

I can’t speak for the neo-African diaspora at large but from my own experience, I’ve never had qualms about taking ownership and having pride in my identity as an African. It’s true that I came to America as a child and completely assimilated myself in the culture; so much so that when I’d visit Cameroon relatives would mock me for “rapping” because they couldn’t understand my “American English.” But when I moved to America, I was surrounded by Africans. There’s a huge African population in Maryland where I grew up, and I was constantly immersed in the aspects of the culture, which migrated along with them. So I’m not entirely sure I can categorize myself as someone who’s aspiring towards a return to Africa because I don’t think I ever completely left. Africa is in me; it is an aspect of my identity as a human being, which I acknowledge and embrace. But I also have an identity as an American, as a woman, as an artist.

My focus isn’t so much on a return to Africa but an expression of what’s African about me. Making “Don’t Forget Me” is one manifestation of a desire to express myself and tell the story of where I come from. This effort has been well received, especially by my family in Cameroon. I think for the most part, Africans on the continent have a perception that those of us who left eventually lose interest in African culture. While this is certainly true for some, I’ve encountered many in the diaspora who are far more interested and connected to African culture than some youths I’ve met on the continent. People on the continent get very excited when they make this startling discovery.

Interview with Constance Ejuma by Beti Ellerson, November 2014.

For more information on Constance Ejuma:

Constance Ejuma Website: http://www.constanceejuma.com/

Ben and Ara Website: http://www.benandara.com/

“Ben and Ara” on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BenandArafilm 

A behind the scenes video of Ben&Ara with some wonderful commentary by Ghanian American actress Akuyoe Graham:


“Don’t Forget Me” on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DontForgetMeFilm 

Cannes 2014 interview with Constance Ejuma discussing both film projects: 


26 November 2014

Congo, un médecin pour sauver les femmes, d'Angèle Diabang. La résilience des femmes, analyse par Olivier Barlet


Congo, un médecin pour sauver les femmes, d'Angèle Diabang. La résilience des femmes, analyse par Olivier Barlet

Vous n'avez que jusqu'à la fin novembre 2014 pour voir [en suivant ce lien] l'excellent documentaire d'Angèle Diabang sur le docteur Denis Mukwege et son hôpital pour femmes victimes de violences sexuelles dans l'Est du Congo, là où des enfants soldats immatures sont lancés sur des femmes qui pourraient être leurs mères, le viol étant pour les rebelles du Kivu une arme de guerre en détruisant le tissu social, car tous y perdent leur identité : les femmes, mais aussi leurs maris et leurs enfants.

LA SUITE SUR [AFRICULTURES]

“Congo, A Doctor to Save Women” by Angèle Diabang: The resilience of women, an analysis of the film by Olivier Barlet


“Congo, A Doctor to Save Women” by Angèle Diabang: The resilience of women, an analysis of the film by Olivier Barlet.

Translation from French by Beti Ellerson |
En français ci-après

Source & Photo: Africultures 

You only have until the end of November 2014 to see [at this link] the excellent documentary by Angèle Diabang about Dr. Denis Mukwege and his hospital for women victims of sexual violence in eastern Congo. Immature child soldiers are pushed to rape women who could be their mothers. Rape, a weapon of war for the rebels of Kivu, destroys the social fabric, as everyone loses their identity: the women, as well as their husbands and children.

The documentary by the young Senegalese director is programmed in the early evening on France 5, a respectable French broadcast channel. It is a rather rare topic to be reported. But it is especially important as the film is of exceptional acumen about a difficult subject. Angèle Diabang could have simply presented a flattering portrait of the famous surgeon-gynecologist who "repaired" women; triumphantly returning to the country he was forced to leave in 2012 after three assassination attempts. On the contrary, in line with the humility of his character, what Denis Mukwege says facing the camera is but the starting point for other voices; those of the psychologists and other caregivers, those of the women who have been raped; also at the centre of the image is the force of their uncovered faces, they who yearn to testify before the world, of the horror that they have lived, in the wild hope that it would serve to defend against future acts. The camera’s framing reflects their beauty and dignity; an appropriate distance is always respected.

These men, says Mukwege, "transform women's bellies into a battlefield." These poignant stories show that his words, unfortunately, are so true. Because it is not only the rape, but also the rejection that the women experience by their families. "My tears flow by themselves": We learn that women come back, raped again, what do they say to the child born of rape? How do you love this child?

Attentive to the surroundings, the details, the emotions, and especially to the vitality of the women and how they enliven the space, Angèle accords them first place, putting them in the spotlight, which is the objective of the hospital: to give them hope, teach them to read and write, help them rebuild their lives with a trade (in the Dorcas centres).

Men repair what the other men have done: the surgeons come together in an attempt to disrupt the damaging effects resulting from the "culpable complicity" of the Western powers, even though "without justice there is no peace." By his action as by his outspokenness, Dr. Mukwege troubles both the Rebels as well as the Rulers, but he takes the risk of acting because "the women are the ones who will bring about change", by their resilience and vitality, and "we must fight alongside them." 

[Français]

Congo, un médecin pour sauver les femmes, d'Angèle Diabang. La résilience des femmes Olivier Barlet

Vous n'avez que jusqu'à la fin novembre 2014 pour voir [en suivant ce lien] l'excellent documentaire d'Angèle Diabang sur le docteur Denis Mukwege et son hôpital pour femmes victimes de violences sexuelles dans l'Est du Congo, là où des enfants soldats immatures sont lancés sur des femmes qui pourraient être leurs mères, le viol étant pour les rebelles du Kivu une arme de guerre en détruisant le tissu social, car tous y perdent leur identité : les femmes, mais aussi leurs maris et leurs enfants.

LA SUITE SUR [AFRICULTURES]

25 November 2014

Pocas Pascoal (Angola) : Alda and Maria | Alda et Maria


Pocas Pascoal (Photo: Cinemassy)
Pocas Pascoal: Alda and Maria | Alda et Maria

Source: Cinemassy - Indépendance(s) et Création. Translation and transcription from French, respectively, by Beti Ellerson 


Pocas Pascoal with Ciomara Morais, Cheila Lima. 2012. Portugal. V.O. 1:34. Drama: Cinemassy. Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

Synopsis and details

Lisbon, late summer 1980. Two sisters, sixteen and seventeen years old have just arrived from Angola to escape the war. Left to fend for themselves, Alda and her younger sister Maria will have to learn to survive in a foreign city without financial means. With the support of others in the Angolan community, in a gray, polluted suburb, they put together a precarious existence.

Pocas Pascoal

Originally from Angola, where she was the first female camera operator, she now lives in Paris. After studying at the National Conservatory of French Cinema, she devoted herself to photography and the production of short documentaries. In 2002, she was part of the group of artists at the Cité internationale des arts and participated in various exhibitions of contemporary art. Among others, she directed the 56 mn documentary, Il y a toujours quelqu'un qui t'aime (There is always someone who loves you), which competed in several festivals and received the SCAM award. Her first feature film, Alda and Maria has received awards in several festivals, including the Los Angeles Film Festival for best film.

Excerpt from Interview 

"In the eighties, hundreds of adolescents were sent to Portugal to escape the war in Angola or to avoid military service. I was one of those young people. With very little money in our pockets, my mother put my sister and me on a plane to Lisbon. In war-affected Angola, Lisbon resonated in our ears like a promise of freedom. We arrived in that city with a heart full of hope. Though my mother was to join us soon afterwards, the Angolan state signed a decree banning anyone from leaving the country. At sixteen and seventeen years old, we were on our own in a Lisbon suburb..." Pocas Pascoal

Interview with Pocas Pascoal about Alda and Maria on Youtube: “Indépendance(s) et Création”. Transcription from French by Beti Ellerson

The origins of the film

I came to cinema a few years ago making documentary films about the collective memory of Angola; my first film focused on Angolan history. One day I found myself on the outskirts of Lisbon and realized that the story of these Angolans had not been told, in this vast space where a majority of Angolans live. The history of the Angolan youth who migrated from Angola in the 1970s to escape the military service. I myself experienced a part of the story of the film. I first began with a little documentary and then I wrote a fiction film. 

The choice of fiction

I did not initially intend to do a fiction film. I wanted to make a documentary as I really like that genre. As it is a rather personal story, I did not want to focus only on me. I wanted to talk about other Angolan immigrants who I encountered when living that experience in Portugal.

The role of reality

I wanted to cast young people living in Lisbon; I met a lot of people, a lot of youth there. I met the children of the immigrants because this is another generation. I wanted to work with young people who were not professionals. During the casting I met so many people who told me their stories, which enriched the scenario.

The engagement of the actors

It was fantastic to work with the young people. The two girls and two boys had an extraordinary drive. We had very little time because there was not a lot of money to work with. They learned the script by heart, and that was so gratifying, since we could then focus on the staging and the directing of the actors. Even though it was a dramatic story, we were constantly laughing, exchanging ideas and stories. It was great.

Projects

After this film I started working on another project. There were producers who contacted me, a French producer, my Portuguese producer with whom I continue to work, as well as a Swedish producer. This new film project will take place in Angola this time.

Independence(s) and Creativity

I think if one looks for it, really wants it, there is always a place. Even if they are not independent productions one may always find the moment to express oneself and be creative.

Relevant link from the African Women in Cinema Blog


19 November 2014

Call for applications: IWMF International Women's Media Foundation Africa Great Lakes Reporting Initiative


Call for applications: IWMF International Women's Media Foundation Africa Great Lakes Reporting Initiative
ANNOUNCING
the Africa Great Lakes Reporting Initiative

Washington, DC – The International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) is proud to announce a $5 million grant from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to expand its reporting initiatives in Africa’s Great Lakes region. The African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative will provide training and support for in-country women journalists, as well as opportunities for international correspondents to work in regions of East and Central Africa that receive limited coverage abroad. These efforts will include essential security training to help journalists stay safe in the field.
“Women are vital to international development, so it is critical that their voices are well represented in the global conversation. The IWMF’s unique programs are designed to include women's perspectives in international news reporting. We need more of those perspectives brought to Africa’s Great Lakes region, a part of the world that has so much potential and yet faces so many challenges to development,” explained Howard G. Buffett.
In addition to continuing its work in the Democratic Republic of Congo [link to Congo pages], in 2015 the IWMF will lead groups of women journalists to the Central African Republic, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda to report on the intersections between conservation and conflict, agriculture and food security, democracy and governance. Over the next four years, the IWMF plans to work with more than 350 journalists to reshape the media narrative about the region.
To address growing safety concerns for journalists, the IWMF will expand its security training to benefit both international reporters and hundreds of journalists living and working in the African Great Lakes region by conducting hostile environments training for all of its program participants. In addition, the IWMF will launch its journalism security app, Reporta™, to facilitate the implementation of security protocols and to gather information about incidents of violence and threats against journalists around the world.
“Media organizations, even those with an interest in Africa's underreported stories, are hard-pressed to find the resources to pursue them. With the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, we will build a network of journalists around the world devoted to producing outstanding news coverage in and about Africa.” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director of the IWMF.
To learn more about the African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative and how to submit an application, please go to iwmf.org/greatlakes and follow the IWMF on Twitter and Facebook.
Please direct all media inquiries and interview requests to IWMF Communications Strategist Anna Schiller, mailto:aschiller@iwmf.org, +1 202 567 2613.
Founded in 1990 by a group of prominent U.S. women journalists, the International Women’s Media Foundation is a Washington-based organization dedicated to strengthening the role of women journalists worldwide. The IWMF believes the news media worldwide are not truly free and representative without the equal voice of women. The IWMF celebrates the courage of women journalists who overcome threats and oppression to speak out on global issues. The IWMF’s programs empower women journalists with the training, support and network to become leaders in the news industry.
Established in 1999, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation (HGBF) is a private family foundation working to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations. The Foundation looks for opportunities where funding is the catalytic capital that seeds sustainable, transformational change. 

15 November 2014

“Women and Youth: Vectors of peace, agents of development” | Femmes et jeunes en Francophonie: vecteurs de paix, acteurs de développement" - DAKAR 2014


“Women and Youth: Vectors of peace, agents of development” film screenings and debates during the Francophone Summit | Femmes et jeunes en Francophonie : vecteurs de paix, acteurs de développement". Semaine Francophone de La Critique Cinématographique - DAKAR 2014

Monday 24 to Sunday, November 30, 2014 |  
du lundi 24 au dimanche 30 novembre 2014

English translation | Français ci-après - Photo : Ousmane Ndiaye Dago

“Women and Youth: Vectors of peace, agents of development” - XV Francophone Summit 

A week of screenings of Francophone films (accompanied by debates), in Dakar (Senegal), in conjunction with the fifteenth Francophonie Summit (29-30 November) which brings together the Heads of State and Government of the OIF.

In several venues around the Senegalese capital, film screenings will be followed by a discussion with a film critic and possibly the directors/actors. The programming reflects the diversity of the Francophone cinema of the South, and the theme of the summit, “Women and Youth: Vectors of peace, agents of development”. Some fifteen films will be screened—long and short fiction and documentary— by filmmakers from the Francophone countries of the South.

Admission is free and open in order that all may fully benefit.

* Dates
Monday, 24 November to Sunday, 30 November 2014, in parallel with the XVth Francophonie Summit, Dakar.

* Sponsors
Filmmaker Safi Faye (Senegal).
Chief Editor Andrée Davanture (France), posthumously

Organised by
The Senegalese Association of Film Critics (ASCC- L'Association Sénégalaise de la Critique Cinématographique, Dakar) - The Association Vanuit het Zuiden / Depuis Le Sud / From the South (Amsterdam)
and
The African Guild of Directors & Producers (La Guilde africaine des Réalisateurs et Producteurs, Paris)

In collaboration with
The African Federation of Film Critics (FACC, La Fédération Africaine de la Critique Cinématographique)

Funded by
The General Delegation of the 15th Francophone Summit in Dakar (Commission of accompaniments and labeling projects).
***

Femmes et jeunes en Francophonie: Semaine Francophone de La Critique Cinématographique
DAKAR 2014 - XVème Sommet de la Francophonie

Il s'agit d'une semaine de projections de films francophones (accompagnées de débats), à Dakar (Sénégal), en marge du XVe Sommet de la Francophonie (29-30 novembre) où se réunissent les Chefs d'État et de gouvernement de l'OIF.

Chaque film sera suivi d'un débat avec un critique de cinéma et éventuellement les réalisateurs /acteurs, dans plusieurs lieux de la capitale sénégalaise. La programmation est le reflet de la diversité du cinéma francophone du sud surtout (en raison d'un budget modeste) et du thème du sommet, "Femmes et jeunes en Francophonie : vecteurs de paix, acteurs de développement". Nous montrons une quinzaine de longs et courts métrages de fiction /documentaire, de réalisateurs / réalisatrices de pays francophones du Sud.

L'entrée est libre et gratuite afin que tout public puisse y bénéficier pleinement.

* Dates
Du lundi 24 au dimanche 30 novembre 2014, en marge du XVème sommet de la Francophonie, Dakar.

* Marraines
La réalisatrice Safi Faye (Sénégal).
La Chef Monteuse Andrée Davanture (France), à titre posthume

Organisée par
L'Association Sénégalaise de la Critique Cinématographique (ASCC, Dakar),
L'Association Vanuit het Zuiden / Depuis Le Sud / From the South (Amsterdam)
et
La Guilde africaine des Réalisateurs et Producteurs (Paris)

En collaboration avec
La Fédération Africaine de la Critique Cinématographique (FACC)

Financée par
La Délégation Générale du 15e SOMMET DE LA FRANCOPHONIE à Dakar (Commission projets d'accompagnements et labellisations).

Source: Africultures http://www.africultures.com/php/?nav=evenement&no=35925 

14 November 2014

World Premiere: “The Flying Stars” by Ngardy Conteh George (Sierra Leone-Canada) and Allan Tong – 14 November 2014


World premiere of The Flying Stars by Ngardy Conteh George and Allan Tong at the Rencontres Internationales du documentaire de Montréal | Montreal International Film Festival. Screenings: 14 November and 16 November.

Synopsis

The Flying Stars is about amputee soccer in post-war Sierra Leone. Team captain Bornor Kargbo and midfielder Momahamed “Census” Jalloh are amputees who play organized soccer in Sierra Leone to cope with the horrors of war they suffered a decade ago. As they dream of playing internationally, they wrestle with nightmares that haunt their daily lives and threaten the very families they are trying to feed. Can Bornor and Census overcome their postwar trauma and score a victory for their children off the soccer pitch?

The Filmmakers

Ngardy Conteh George: Co-director/editor/producer
As a Sierra Leonean-Canadian, Ngardy always wants to tell stories of the African Diaspora. As a director she has achieved this with Soldiers for the Streets, a short documentary for the NFB, broadcast on CBC Television and Literature Alive, a documentary series featuring Caribbean- Canadian authors broadcast on Bravo!. She is also an accomplished video editor working on various documentaries and television shows including I Want to Be a Desi 2 (documentary short, Dir. Allan Tong), Something Beautiful (half-hour documentary on development in Kenya), Cypher for AUX TV, Arts & Minds for Bravo!, The Rhyming Chef Barbuda, Food & Drink TV and The Marilyn Denis Show for CTV. She is a former scholarship athlete and graduate of the University of New Orleans.

Allan Tong: co-director/writer/producer
Allan is a Toronto filmmaker who wrote and directed the comedy shorts Little Mao and I Want To Be a Desi, which Bravo aired after enjoying award-winning festival runs. His short drama, Grange Avenue (2008) also played festivals and was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Previously, Allan apprenticed as a documentary director and producer at the National Film Board of Canada. He has served as an office manager, post-production manager and associate producer at documentary production companies. His articles about cinema regularly appear in the IFP’s Filmmaker magazine, and he has programmed for several film festivals. Presently, Allan is writing scripted television drama after recently completing the WGC-Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program. 

Source: http://www.flyingstarsdoc.com

11 November 2014

Juliet Asante: Mobilefliks across Africa

Juliet Asante is the CEO of Eagle Productions and visionary of Mobilefliks, which has 100,000 subscribers in Ghana, making headway in Nigeria and has recently signed with 30 countries.

Her upcoming film Silver Rain, which will be completed in 2015, will be shot in two African countries and set in five. Juliet Asante describes the film as an African story, about which Africans in sub-Saharan Africa can identify—love and politics: African girl falls in love with African guy, a mixture of African experiences. Plans are for its release in all platforms: theatrical, VOD, television.



10 November 2014

Flaherty NYC Special Screening: A Thousand Suns with Mati Diop, 17 November 2014

Still from A Thousand Suns by Mati Diop
Flaherty NYC Special Screening: A Thousand Suns with Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop, 17 November 2014

Press Release

The Flaherty is excited to announce that Paris-based filmmaker and actor Mati Diop will be joining us for a program of her work followed by a moderated discussion on Monday, November 17, 7pm at *Anthology Film Archives*. The Flaherty is one of the country's oldest film arts organizations, celebrating our 60th Anniversary this year. We are pleased to host Mati for the fourth night of our screening series, *Systems and Layers*.

The program will include Atlantiques which “recounts the odyssey of Senegalese friends who attempt a life-threatening boat crossing” and Mille Soleils (A Thousand Suns) Diop’s beautiful, haunting portrait of Magaye Niang, the lead actor of the 1973 film Touki-Bouki. One of the most important films of African cinema, Touki-Bouki was directed by the filmmaker’s uncle Djibril Diop Mambéty. Set in Dakar and Alaska, A Thousand Suns portrays Niang as a “sad-eyed cattle herder who embodied the seminal role in Touki-Bouki forty years ago…[and]…is now filled with longing for the vanished past and a future that was never meant to be.” (Andréa Picard)


07 November 2014

Gender Terrains in African Cinema (2014) by Ugandan scholar Dominica Dipio

Gender Terrains in African Cinema
by Sr. Dr. Dominica Dipio
Unisa Press, 2014

Dominica Dipio describes the trajectory of the book Gender Terrains in African Cinema as an evolution through three continents, Africa, Europe and the Americas. She fell in love with African cinema around 2000, while studying in Rome. As a field of study, African cinema was relatively new on the continent at the time. She attended various film festivals in Europe in order to view films during which she met filmmakers and interacted with them, and as a Fulbright scholar in the United States she was able to concretize her research. She describes her journey in this way: "it started in Africa, it developed in Europe, and it was fine tuned in the USA." 

Book description:

Attaining its identity in the 1960s, African cinema is characteristically a post-colonial art form. The first group of filmmakers and critics saw themselves, together with the political elite, as responsible for building their new nations. They came up with a series of statements which underline what cinema should be in their contexts: an instrument for educating, decolonizing the mind, and developing critical participatory viewership. To some extent, cinema continues the role of the griot (an African tribal storyteller), with a difference. Interest in this subject has led author Dominica Dipio to analyze how cinema and the filmmaker are located within the predominantly patriarchal hegemonic structure, as she addresses issues related to gender and, in particular, the representation of women in African communities. The films selected for analysis are all directed by male filmmakers that are considered representative of African filmmaking. These films span from the 1970s to the 2000s, with a comprehensive analysis of how gender relations are reflected - in the portrayal of the girl child, the young woman, the more mature woman, as well as the grandmother - vis-a-vis their male counterparts. (Series: African Humanities)

Image Source of Sister Dominica Dipio: archive.is


Contents of book:

1. Theoretical introduction
-Theoretical frames of African filmmaking
-African Filmmaking
-African Feminism
-Selected films and book structure

2. Imaging the Girl Child
-Introduction
-Children in African colonial and traditional settings
-Children in adult worlds
-Portrayal of children in synthesis

3. Negotiating spaces within patriarchy
-Introduction
-Dismantling patriarchial logic
-The logic of bride price
-Questioning foundational myths and traditions
-Women in polygamy
-Polygamous men's 'fatal' attraction to young, sophisticated women
-Women under new economic challenges
-The feminine in the public sphere
-Male victims under patriarchy
-Conclusion

4. Positioning the elderly in gender relations
-Introduction
-Elderly women as centres of alternative authority
-Male-female dynamics
-The elderly as harbingers of change
-Conclusion

5. Recurrent trends in gender representation in African cinema
-Introduction
-Trends in the representation of women
-Implications for film theory research

IDFA: "The Female Gaze" investigates the role of women in documentary – 19-30 November 2014 (Amsterdam)

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam: "The Female Gaze"
investigates the role of women in documentary
19-30 November 2014


Senegalese Safi Faye will be among the women filmmakers in the Female Gaze program organised by IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam




During the upcoming festival, IDFA will present a themed program on the role of women in documentary called The Female Gaze. The Female Gaze program will consist of a survey, a film program and discussions with the directors present.

Fifteen leading international female directors, including Pirjo Honkasalo, Barbara Kopple and Kim Longinotto, have put together a program of old and new documentaries by themselves and other female directors, renowned and less well-known.

In addition, IDFA will be investigating the share female directors have had of the festival’s own selections during the past ten years, and attention will be devoted to the question of how women are represented in documentaries and of whether a ‘female gaze’ can be said to exist within the documentary genre. 

On Saturday, 22 November, IDFA will organise a debate on the role of women for the documentary industry. 

The Female Gaze at IDFA

In recent decades, a great deal of research has been undertaken into how images of women are produced in the media. This research has focussed principally on the role of women in advertising, on television and in fiction films. This prompted IDFA to devote special attention this year to women in documentary.  The central question is whether women are (also) under-represented compared to men both in front of and behind the camera in the documentary. Does the glass ceiling exist in the documentary industry? How are women represented in documentaries, and does something like ‘the female gaze’ exist in documentaries?

IDFA asked fifteen leading female directors  from different countries to present three documentaries: one directed by themselves, one directed by a woman who has inspired them, and one by an up-and-coming female talent. The documentaries selected were made by three generations of female directors. The directors who made a selection for IDFA and will be attending the festival are: Phie Ambo (Denmark); Rakhshan Bani-Etamad (Iran); Safi Faye (Senegal/France) Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing (US); Chris Hegedus (US); Pirjo Honkasalo (Finland); Nishtha Jain (India); Barbara Kopple (US); Kim Longinotto (UK); Mercedes Moncada (Mexico); Ileana Stanculescu (Romania); Jessica Yu (US) and Jasmila Zbanic (Bosnia).

Heddy Honigmann, who this year compiles her Top 10 for IDFA, has also been asked to select three films for The Female Gaze. 
A total of 28 documentaries will be screened: classics including Portrait of Jason (1967) by Shirley Clarke and The House is Black (1962) by Forough Farrokhzad as well as films by emerging talents such as How to Pick Berries (2010) by Elina Talvensaari and Waiting for August by Teodora Ana Mihai. The latest films from a number of directors will also be shown, such as Misconception by Jessica Yu; Love is All: 100 Years of Love & Courtship by Kim Longinotto and Good Things Await by Phie Ambo.

After the screenings, the issues arising will be discussed in the various Q&As with the directors present: is there in fact a female gaze and to what extent has this gaze changed over the generations? Are films made by women different from those made by men, and are films made by women in the third world different from films made by women in the West? 

Alongside the film program and the discussions following the screenings, IDFA will also be looking at the share female directors have had of the festival’s own selection over the past ten years. On Saturday 22 November, IDFA will be organising a debate for the documentary industry, in which the question of whether this is an emancipated sector which employs as many women as men in creative, crucial decision-making roles will be raised.



06 November 2014

Canal+ Afrique : L’Afrique au féminin c’est quoi ? | African women’s perspectives, what is it?

Canal+ Afrique : L’Afrique au féminin c’est quoi ? African women’s perspectives, what is it?

SOURCE :  CANAL+ AFRIQUE 

English translation | Français ci-après
CANAL+ would like to broaden its commitment beyond the specific sphere of television. That is why every year the channel invests in projects that allows a rethinking of the world, to better understand it and to endeavour to make it better.

In 2013, CANAL+ AFRIQUE and CFI launched a call for projects to African women filmmakers. The idea? To create a short program under the theme "Succeed in Africa today." Four experts were chosen to advise the candidates.

Hundreds of projects were received from across Africa. 15 directors from 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Francophone Africa were selected to participate. They attended a scriptwriting workshop in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, after which they returned to their respective countries to shoot their films. After a tough selection process, 11 of the final projects were chosen to be broadcast on the channel. Discover here, the new works of these talented women in the realm of African audio-visual creation!

Les 3 pierres - Maïmouna Ndiaye (Burkina-Faso)

La Reine des perles - Hélène Gnanih (Bénin)

Couvre feu - Siam Marley (Côte d'Ivoire

Fashion for change - Alexandra Amon (Côte d'Ivoire)

Kania donse - Aminata Sylla (Guinée)

Le Défi - Aminata Bakhoum (Sénégal)

La 7ème passion - Essivi Nevamé (Togo)

Sur le divan - Nadège Batou (Congo Et Niger)

Les Bottes du succès - Mylène Ndoumbé (Cameroun)

Kaz'ozah - Diane Kaneza (Burundi)

Résistance - Samantha Biffot (Gabon)

[Français]
CANAL+ veut porter son engagement au-delà de la seule sphère télévisuelle. C’est pourquoi la chaîne s’investit chaque année dans des projets qui permettent de repenser le monde, de mieux le comprendre et de chercher à le rendre meilleur.

En 2013, CANAL+ AFRIQUE et CFI ont lancé un appel à projets auprès des réalisatrices africaines. L’idée ? Réaliser un programme court su la thématique « Réussir aujourd’hui en Afrique ». Quatre experts ont été choisis pour encadrer les candidates.

Nous avons reçu plusieurs centaines de projets depuis toute l’Afrique. 15 réalisatrices de 13 pays d’Afrique francophone subsaharienne ont été choisies pour participer au projet. Elles ont suivi une formation d’aide à l’ecriture à Abidjan, en Côte d’Ivoire. Ensuite, chacune d’entre elle est retournée chez elle afin de tourner son film. À l’issue d’une sélection difficile, 11 d’entre elles ont vu leur projet final choisi pour être diffusé sur la chaîne. Découvrez vite ces nouveaux talents féminin de la création audiovisuelle africaine ! :


Link | Lien
Concur L'Afrique au Féminin : les 15 candidates | Competition L'Afrique au Féminin: the 15 candidates http://africanwomenincinema.blogspot.com/2013/07/concur-lafrique-au-feminin-les-15.html



04 November 2014

Introduction: Out of Africa International Film Festival (OOAIFF) - Mumbi Hinga (Australia), Wairimu Mwangi (Kenya), Rose Wachuka (France) - English | Français

OUT OF AFRICA
INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
 (OOAIFF)

English | Français ci-après



Greetings from the OOAIFF “Out of Africa International Film Festival” team: Mumbi Hinga (Australia), Wairimu Mwangi (Kenya), Rose Wachuka (France)

Now that we have this crazy idea to work together from three different continents...well here is a short introduction of our objectives. Through film, our desire is to inspire the global community by telling authentic African stories and to translate stories from foreign lands to our societies, thus promoting cohesion and integration. We also hope to preserve our languages and dialects by archiving our stories. Through the medium of cinema, our aim is to provide opportunities for empowerment and self-actualisation to young people—especially women—as well as develop strategies for employment.

We will also work closely with women on the European festival circuit in order to introduce works made in Africa to the international film market.

We do appreciate your interest. As this is our inaugural project we invite you to check on us often and let us know where to step and where not to: http://www.outofafricafilmfest.com/



Salutations de l’équipe de l’OOAIFF « Out of Africa International Film Festival » : Mumbi Hinga (Australia), Wairimu Mwangi (Kenya), Rose Wachuka (France)

Maintenant que nous avons cette idée folle de travailler ensemble de trois continents différents ... Eh bien voici une brève introduction de nos objectifs. Par l'intermédiaire du cinéma, notre désir est d'inspirer la communauté mondiale en racontant des histoires authentiques africaines et de traduire des récits de pays étrangers à nos sociétés, et ainsi de promouvoir la cohésion et l'intégration. Nous espérons également préserver nos langues et dialectes en archivant nos histoires. À travers le cinéma, notre objectif est d'offrir des possibilités de réalisation de soi et d'epanouissement aux jeunes, et en particulier les femmes; ainsi que de développer des stratégies pour l'emploi.

Nous allons également travailler en étroite collaboration avec les femmes sur le circuit des festivals européens afin de présenter les oeuvres réalisées en Afrique, sur le marché international du film.

Nous vous remercions de votre intérêt. Comme ceci est notre projet inaugural nous vous invitons d’y revenir souvent pour nous dire ce qui fonctionne et ce qui ne fonctionne pas : http://www.outofafricafilmfest.com/