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 October 2015

30 October 2015

Call for Submissions: 2016 International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF) - Zimbabwe



Fifteenth consecutive year!

Application form and further information:

Be part of the coolest, most independent festival in Zimbabwe, run by Zimbabwean women passionate about film!
The International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF) 2016 retains the theme WOMEN ALIVE: WOMEN OF HEART! The theme celebrates for the third year running tough women who possess the rare gift of loving unconditionally; daring women, women who despite daily challenges emerge stronger.
The Festival is calling for features, documentaries and shorts in all genres for the main competition as well as non-competition and special competitions categories. To be eligible for the main competition, films must feature a woman in one of the three leading roles.
IIFF is pleased to announce that the call is open for films in the following special competitions in addition to the main competition. Films in these categories are not required to feature a female protagonist, but must reflect the gender sensitive ethos of the festival.
SHASHA/ INGCITSHI/ ZIM EXPERTS (SIZE)- SIZE is a platform for locally produced films or films directed by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.
NEW MAN- This category accepts films that feature male protagonists in roles that promote and model gender equality and positive gender relations between men and women
WORLD’S VIEW- The Festival has something for everyone. The category accepts films concerned with topical global issues that at the same time chronicle extraordinary journeys of the protagonists. The World’s View Category accepts full length fiction and full length documentaries.
To be eligible, films may not have been exhibited publicly in, nor premiered in Zimbabwe in the six (6) months before the festival opens.
FESTIVAL DATES: 19-27 August, 2016 in Harare
Other national and international outreach dates TBA.

Contact Details
International Images Film Festival
Postal Address: P.O. Box BW1550
Tel/ Fax: +263 4 862 355, Mobile: +263 775 553 273

Wildtrack Newsletter #19, October 2015, published by Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ)

The WILDTRACK NEWSLETTER, published by the Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) is accessible on the ICAPA TRUST website:

The Wildtrack Newsletter covers information, issues and events relevant and related to African women in cinema in general and specifically those from Zimbabwe, including coverage of the International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF), the annual film festival which takes place in Zimbabwe. In addition, it covers gender related arts-based activities in the Zimbabwe area.

Back issues are also available on the ICAPA Trust site: Issue 18, Issue 17, Issue 15, Issue 14, Issue 13, Issue 12, Issue 11, Issue 10, Issue 9, Issue 8, Issue 7.

Current issue contents include:

29 October 2015

South African Mmabatho Montsho’s "Women on Sex" Web Series

Photo: Mmabatho Montsho Facebook Page
Mmabatho Montsho’s “Women on Sex” social media project explores the many issues around female sexuality that are often only discussed privately or are considered taboo.

The YouTube-based web series features celebrities, doctors, pastors and everyday women as they challenge perceptions and norms about sex. (Text: Facebook). In addition to the YouTube platform, “Women on Sex” provides updates and newsfeeds on Facebook and Twitter, which encourage dialogue with followers about the web series content and related issues.

In an interview with Mmabatho Montsho had this to say about her reason for producing the series:

One of our duties as filmmakers is to hold a mirror up to society and as one who navigates the world in a black female body, it’s my duty to create progressive black female-centered content that disturbs the status quo.

YouTube Series : Women on Sex


26 October 2015

Ghanaian-German Jacqueline Nsiah’s digital Sankofa storytelling experience and other diasporic journeys

Ghanaian-German Jacqueline Nsiah, curator and cultural anthropologist, is a freelance film festival, arts and cultural consultant. She has curated, programmed and organized at several festivals: the Africa Film Festival in Cologne, the Cambridge African Film Festival, the African film festival UHURU in Rio de Janeiro, the Film Africa in London and the Berlinale Forum. In addition, she worked as a project manager for the Goethe-Institut’s African industry film platform She joined the Berlinale Selection Committee in 2023.

Polyglot transnational researcher and cultural media maker, she talks about these identities—navigating through Germany, Brazil, Ghana.

An interview with Jacqueline Nsiah by Beti Ellerson, October 2015. Photo by @blacticulate on instagram.

Updated December 2023.

Jacqueline, your final masters thesis project in Visual and Media Anthropology at Freie Universität, Berlin is a documentary titled “Returning from exile” talk about what inspired you to focus on this theme.

Interesting that you say it is a documentary title, because my initial idea was to make a documentary film but I felt I wasn't ready, yet, I might still do it. “Returning from exile” is about the second generation Ghanaians born in a European country or in the USA to Ghanaian parents, who decided to “return” or rather to live in Ghana. People like me, my tribe so to say. What inspired me to do the visual/audio website is partly my story but also I wanted to create a digital archive to register this moment. In Ghana we don't have a tradition to archive moments in time but in this digital era it is much easier. The idea is to continue to collect stories of the diasporas who are returning. I came up with the idea, when I visited Ghana again after four years not being there in December 2013. The minute I left the airplane and drove around Accra, the capital city I felt a sense of vibrancy. During my four-week trip, I met many Ghanaians like me who had “returned” and opened up bars, arts spaces, working on the governmental level or as freelance journalists and bloggers telling a different story of life in Ghana. I knew I wanted to be part of it and decided to move to Ghana in May 2014 and do wider research. I termed my research, which is part of an academic thesis “Returning from exile” because the motivation for most of the Ghanaian diaspora is to return on behalf of their parents and build this great nation, something that most of our parents were not able to do for various reasons.

Do you find the practice of return to be a phenomenon of this generation of Africans? To what extent does the connectivity of the global African diaspora contribute to this? I am thinking of social media and the Internet as a means to connect, influence and share. What have been your own experiences?

It is very difficult to say that it is a phenomenon of this generation, I want to say partly yes, but it really depends on whom we call a returnee. This actually contributed to my difficulties in doing my research. Over the years in Ghana, especially since 1992, when Ghana officially became a democracy, Ghanaians have been coming and going. Till this date it's difficult to really identify who lives in Ghana, because some of the returnee communities spend six months in Ghana and six months in their other country. Are they returnees?

Also, one mustn't ignore the many Ghanaians who are still trying to leave Ghana almost daily for economical reasons. A lot of them are working class or lower who struggle to find work or make a decent living in Ghana. They spend thousands of dollars or euros, all their savings and risk their lives in hope for a better life abroad. The returnees are professionals and are privileged to enter the work force in Ghana. We as Ghanaians should strive to give everyone the opportunity to find work and make a decent living, so that we can all enjoy the beauties Ghana has to offer.

Generally speaking though, I can say that social media and blogs have helped to show a different Africa/Ghana and has made it more appealing to its diaspora. I can definitely relate, reading about the different art spaces, exhibitions and festivals in Ghana got my attention and motivated me to see with my own eyes on what was happening and most importantly to be part of the movement. I never really felt part of something so wholeheartedly until I moved to Ghana, it's an exuberating feeling.

The short piece “No Place Like Home”, produced during a collaborative transcultural film workshop in Berlin is also about the notion of home among Diasporans, did this work evolve into “Returning from exile”?

That's a very interesting question, I would say it is looking at the other side. In “No Place Like Home” we talk to the first generation from various parts of Africa and ask why they left and why they go to an Afro Shop, a term that is coined in the new world, there's no place called Afro Shop on the continent, which in itself is very interesting. I was very interested in the sensory experience when entering an Afro Shop, what do you feel, smell or taste when you enter the Afro Shop? Does it remind you of home? What is home? And where is home? “No Place Like Home” and “Returning from exile” are absolutely linked. To me “No Place Like Home” is the journey and “Returning from exile” is the arrival.

There is an Afro-German movement that has had an important role to play in the search for identity among Germans of African parentage, are you and your participants of the study connected to this movement?

No, I am not and I don't think any of my participants are either. The Afro-German movement is poignant and very active indeed but I must say that I never felt part of that movement; I couldn't relate to the movement, I understand it but it's not my story. Although I was born and raised in Germany and lived there until my 21st year, I always felt Ghanaian as well as German. I never felt like I didn't have an identity or didn't know where to place it. My parents play a big role in this; both my parents are from Ghana and I was raised speaking Twi and eating Ghanaian food. Also, my parents tried to take us to Ghana as many times as possible. Though I never felt 100% Ghanaian, I always felt very connected.

On the “Returning from Exile” website the Sankofa symbol, which means to return, to trace one’s roots,
welcomes its visitors. Sankofa has been a symbol for the African diaspora, especial those whose history is linked to the trans-Atlantic slave trade and thus were severed from their ancestral cultures. How would you compare the difference and similarities of the separation that exiled Africans have experienced with that of Africans of the former group?

As you have quite rightly put it, the Sankofa symbol is the symbol for returning to one's ancestry, to come back home. It has been mainly used for the African diaspora that were forcefully taken to the new world, but due to conflict and economic struggles or to further ones education, Africans on the continent continued/ and continue to leave, some of them even on boats. The difference is that during the transatlantic slave trade my African brothers and sisters were taken by force, not knowing where there were going and of course not going in search of a better life. However, we are all searching for a deeper understanding of Ghana or the continent and to be connected to our ancestry.

You curated the first edition of Uhuru in 2014, an African Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Talk about how the festival was conceived and the reception.

I lived in Brazil from 2010 to 2012 and whilst living in the city of Rio de Janeiro I met a lot of interest in Africa, particularly from the Afro-Brazilian population, who make 60% of Brazil's inhabitants. Unfortunately most Brazilians don't get a lot of mainstream information from Africa. Whilst living in Rio I worked for a number of film festivals, including the Rio International Film Festival. At the time I lived in Rio there was not a single film festival dedicated to only African cinema, so I came up with the idea to have an African film festival. I wrote a proposal of intention with an initial programme outline. Through a friend I approached the cultural production Burburinho, they loved the idea and raised the money to realise the first edition of the festival last year in November. For the first edition, I wanted to give a brief history lesson through cinema. I started with films that depicted the independence movement, through to the post colonial struggles, formation of a new 'African' identity, through to developments of the new generations in music, dance and cinematic expressions. I brought with me five directors and an industry specialist from 3 different countries from Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. I had organised post screening discussions, Q&As and panels. The audience loved it, I got very good feedback, the sessions were almost always full and the media attention was great. I gave a number of TV interviews, radio and magazine interviews. I am hoping that Uhuru will be a biannual event and will travel to other parts of Brazil as well.

I have observed a genuine interest in African culture in Brazil in the past two decades. I have met several people who are very much involved with African cinema studies and film organising. I imagine you have
experienced this enthusiasm as well during your work in Brazil...

Yes absolutely, especially during the promotion of Uhuru I came across many bloggers, film students and other festivals across Brazil. This is great, and I believe the interests will keep on growing. Brazil holds the biggest African diaspora outside of Africa, they ought to have more information flow with the continent and vice versa.

You are on the team of the Royal African Society’s Annual Film Festival which will take place from 30 October to November. Please talk a bit about the role you play in the organisation of the festival.

I am a programmer for Film Africa, and I am very happy to be part of the team. This year is my first year as a programmer for the festival and I am really excited about the programme. We will have several exciting, interesting and thought-provoking strands. Our biggest strand this year is the Lusophone strand, where we will highlight the Lusophone African countries as they celebrate 40 years of independence this year. Furthermore, we will show African love films, which we programmed together with all the African film festivals in the United Kingdom. There will be a double bill on the father of African cinema, Ousmane Sembene from Senegal, who passed away in 2007. His autobiographer and friend, Samba Gadjigo made a documentary on the life and legacy of Sembene, which we will show in conjunction with his classic Xala In addition, we will showcase the latest titles from Ethiopia, a focus on music on film and the latest shorts from the continent.

22 October 2015

Djia Mambu : journalist and film critic, a committed writer at the service of Africulture | journaliste et critique de cinéma, une plume engagée au service d’Africulture

Djia Mambu:  journalist and film critic
A committed writer at the service of Africulture
Djia Mambu : journaliste et critique de cinéma
Une plume engagée au service d’Africulture 

SOURCE: - Gilles Arsene Tchedji - 02 Oct 2015  Photo: Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

[English] Français ci-après

Belgian-Congolese Djia Mambu, a journalist and film critic based in Brussels, writes for Africultures, Africiné, Images francophones and the Revue Cinéma Belge. Also film columnist for Radio Africa No. 1, this year she travelled to discover the African Film Festival of Khouribga. Le Quotidien has the opportunity to present to the public this committed writer at the service of culture.

She has been at many African film festivals on the continent and beyond. But the 18th edition of the African Film Festival of Khouribga will remain for her one of the most memorable encounters with the 7th art. While participating for the first time, the journalist Djia Mambu was also awarded a certificate of recognition. As evidence of her commitment to African cinema, at the film workshop in Khouribga, the organisers wanted to recognise her achievements.

"What I find very interesting at festivals, like this one for example, are the parallel activities. In addition to film screenings, the festival provides an opportunity to engage in workshops and conferences that add genuine value to the festivalgoers’ experience, "she commented after the certificate granting ceremony. Djia Mambou was recognised at the workshop for her work in film analysis. "I am first a journalist and have gradually become a critic. I think it's always important to have the perspectives of people of other countries, other cultures. How they analyse cinema, even if the tenets are basically the same for everyone. We have almost the same references, the same schools of thought, but there are sometimes certain nuances, a specific sensitivity," she said, also stating how interesting it was to share the film criticism class with Professor Majid and other Moroccan students. "It allowed me to see how they perceive films and what the differences are." Noting that she has not always been a film buff, "I do not pretend to have seen all the films ...five years ago African cinema was still completely unknown to me. I think my passion for cinema came at a moment when I wanted to contribute to the sharing of our culture by us, for us but also for others. It could have been a passion for literature, music or the plastic arts, but I chose cinema because it includes all artistic disciplines and is the easiest means of communication" she said, before continuing with satisfaction, "for me, cinema is not just touching a person, but many. And then it affords the possibility to meet many people and make a great deal of connections. "

Her advocacy: Being a recent arrival to this milieu does not limit her ability to critique of the 7th African art. Djia Mambu is a true advocate for African youth who, she thinks, should be cultivated in cinema culture. "We cannot blame the youth and future generations for not being interested of our cinema. We must be the ones to create the processes that will get them interested. Today there is no denying the power of our cinema and the wealth that we have. The present generations are the ones who are losing out, for not having been taught to appreciate films and encouraged to watch them, "notes Djia Mambu in the Africa 1 journal. She also observes that African youth have not had the same opportunity as their elders who experienced the cinema-house and film-club culture. That is why she advocates a return to these foundational values. "When participating in this festival, it is evident that many experts had the opportunity to experience the film-clubs. In the village they went every night to the screenings where they critiqued the films. When you hear them talk about films it is amazing. Today, when I listen to my generation, I do not hear the journalists talk about cinema like the elders do. I think this is a model worthy of emulation. So there is a duty to educate, to get people to appreciate cinema,"she said.

As a favourite pastime Djia Mambu has a great interest in the cinema of the diaspora. "I appreciate the work of Africans on the continent on the one hand, and those living abroad on the other; because they can measure the feelings of those who live abroad and encourage them to create a bridge with our cinemas here”. This sentiment is to be expected as she is a product of several cultures and embraces this identity wholeheartedly. "I'm from a diversity of cultures. I was born in Brussels, but I am Congolese. I lived in the Congo, Montreal, Paris, and Switzerland. I have learned from many cultures. But even having lived in North America and as a child of the diaspora, as they call it, I did not grow up with our films. I grew up with Western films. Hence for me, this was an important step to take, this return, in order to start to deconstruct and appreciate our films. It is a process to follow, and now I think that cinema also must take on that role" she says, convinced that being a cultural journalist and film critic is not an end in itself. "Really, if you find me in five years no longer a film journalist do not be surprised. For me it is not my purpose, but my contribution, to the cultural producers, to this industry—which is a difficult one, to creativity and especially to the instrument of our cultures," she said.

Her journey. With a passion for journalism, Djia Mambu has worked three years with Africulture. It has also been three years that she began to specialise and become interested in themes around cinema, especially African cinema. Her work is not unknown to the Africiné readership. In addition to her articles on African films, she is also interested in Belgian cinema. Though, she notes, "Our press is very closed. Because when one talks about film critics one thinks of Africiné, Africultures. It is always more or less the same network, the same thing. And I find that unfortunate." Her wish in this regard is to see European journalists writing about African films and African journalists writing about Western films.

Djia Mumba’s studies did not predestine her towards an interest in culture, or a passion for cinema. She studied humanities at the Free University of Brussels where there were a lot of African students, but it was politics that was in fashion. "When you became a journalist, it was to be a political journalist. Oddly, because that is what the African press focus on the most: Politics. When you analyse all of our media today, on the front page, you will always see either the King or the Prime Minister or the President. Issues on culture are on the last pages," she notes with regret—either in the West or in Africa.

Her convictions. What really pushed Djia Mambu to take the path of cultural journalism? "Gradually, as I learned more about African politics I realised that it is not the policies that will get us out of our condition of underdevelopment... It is not possible to develop a country if culture is not taken into consideration. It is of crucial importance. And it concerns culture and all its disciplines. Moreover, cinema is a good example because it includes many things at once and can reach a wider audience". Positive, very genial, Djia is also generous. Networking is one of her passions. For her, the appeal of the work of a journalist lies in the wonderful encounters she has made throughout the world. "Going to festivals and viewing films, is like reading a book. This allows one to travel... All these history lessons that you did not learn because of the imposition of colonial history—the history in the eyes of the coloniser. You end up learning it through encounters and above all, through the films. That is what the films of today give you. They inform you, educate you and fill you with passion."

For Djia Mambu, "it is immeasurable because it is treated by Africans themselves. A continuous wealth on a daily basis. I find that African films are the best ambassadors of our country.”

Peau noire, médias blancs, Stigmatisation des Noirs et de l'Afrique dans la presse belge et française (Black skin, white medias, the Stigmatization of Black people and Africa in the Belgian and French Press), Iggibook, 2018 by Djia Mambu

“I want [the book], Peau noire, médias blancs, which is based on concrete and real examples, to open the door for dialogue. I am not accusing any journalist or any specific media, because I have confidence in journalists and Belgian society. However, sometimes journalists are not aware! I, myself, have found myself in a situation where I relayed a bad image or a cliché. Hence, pointing out this problem makes it possible to become aware that it exists.” (Translation from interview)

“Je veux que Peau noire, médias blancs, qui se base sur des exemples concrets et réels, soit une porte ouverte au dialogue. Je ne souhaite accuser aucun·e journaliste ni aucun média spécifique, car je fais confiance aux journalistes et à la société belge. Parfois, les journalistes ne se rendent tout simplement pas compte ! Moi-même, je me suis déjà trouvée dans une situation où je véhiculais une mauvaise image ou un cliché. Pointer ce problème du doigt, cela permet déjà d’en prendre conscience.” Source:

After work and sleep, the media constitutes the third activity of a person in contemporary society. This observation led to the question regarding the role that the media plays in the West and elsewhere: how are“visible minorities” in Europe perceived? What is the gaze regarding Black people living in the West? How are immigrants perceived? What prejudices are the prejudices towards Black Africa and about Africans in general? When a community is stigmatized in the classic mediums - TV, radio, press - as well as - internet advertising, social media, school books, movie posters, flyers, etc. , what image does this convey on a daily basis and to what audience? And more importantly why? Through some hundred examples drawn mainly from the Belgian and French press, this anthology endeavors to show and demonstrate the mechanism that operates within the Western media as it relates to representation regarding Black people and / or Africa, and, possibilities for improvement.

Après le travail et le sommeil, les médias constitueraient la troisième occupation des hommes modernes. Ce constat nous a amené à nous poser la question du rôle que jouent ces médias en Occident et ailleurs : quelle perception sur les minorités visibles établies en Europe ? Quels regards sur les Noirs vivant en société occidentale ? Quels jugements portent-ils sur les immigrés ? Quels préjugés ont-ils sur l'Afrique noire et sur les Africains en général ? Lorsqu'une communauté est stigmatisée dans les canaux classiques - TV, radio, presse - et plus encore - internet publicité, réseaux sociaux, livres scolaires, affiches de films, flyers, etc. , quelle est l'image véhiculée au quotidien et à quel public ? Et surtout pourquoi ? A travers une centaine d'exemples puisés essentiellement dans la presse belge et française, ce florilège tente de montrer et démontrer le mécanisme qui s'opère autour des médias occidentaux quand ceux-ci sont amenés à traiter de sujets concernant les Noirs et/ou l'Afrique, au risque d'insuffler quelques pistes d'amélioration.


Genre Medias (Sexisme dans les médias parlons-en en ligne

Djia Mambu from NIGHTHAWKS on Vimeo.

Djia Mambu est une Belgo-congolaise. Journaliste et critique de cinéma, elle est basée à Bruxelles et écrit pour Africulture, Africiné, Images francophones et la Revue Cinéma Belge. Egalement chroniqueuse de cinéma à la radio Africa N°1, elle est allée découvrir cette année le Festival de film africain de Khouribga. Le Quotidien en a profité pour faire découvrir au public cette plume engagée au service de la culture.
Lire la suite à : Le NO LONGER ACCESSIBLE


21 October 2015

IIFF presents a short film of moments at the International Images Film Festival for Women 2015 (Zimbabwe)

IIFF presents a short film of moments at the International Images Film Festival for Women IIFF held from 14-22 August 2015 in Harare. Follow link on YouTube @ :

Siam Marley (Côte d’Ivoire) : 2 courts métrages/2 shorts, on/sur TV5MONDE until/jusqu'au 29-10-2015

Siam Marley (Côte d’Ivoire) : 2 courts métrages/2 shorts, on/sur TV5MONDE until/jusqu'au 29-10-2015

Babi and Cinq boites de lait (5 cartons of milk), two shorts by Siam Marley (Côte d’Ivoire) are accessible on the TV5MONDE website until 29 October. In French only.

Babi et Cinq boites de lait, deux courts métrages de Siam Marley (Cote d’Ivoire) sont accessibles jusqu’au 29 octobre sur le site de TV5MONDE. 


Links | Liens:

20 October 2015

Djia Mambu : A best actress award for Much Loved | Un prix d'interprétation féminine pour Much Loved – Analysis | Analyse

A best actress award for Much Loved | Un prix d'interprétation féminine pour Much Loved – Analysis | Analyse by | par Djia Mambu.

Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

[English] Français ci-après

Loubna Abidar obtained the Bayard d'Or for Best Actress at the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur for her role in Much Loved by Nabil Ayouch. An unhoped-for reward in her country Morocco, where the film still cannot be seen because of censorship.

Released in theatres in France and soon in Belgium, the controversial Much Loved by Nabil Ayouch has given rise to a number of polemics since it was first presented at Cannes in May; especially by those who have yet to see it. And for good reason, as it portrays the daily life of prostitutes in Marrakech, displaying the Red City as a place of international prostitution. Ever since excerpts have circulated on the Internet (which have even been edited), which angered the country's authorities, the film has been censored. "This is the first time that a film has been banned without ever being seen, on the basis of a telephone call," said Nour-Eddine Saïl, who was the head of the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre for ten years. "Normally, the ban should be signed by the director of the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre or his representative. This is an illegal censorship," he stated during a forum at the Khouribga Festival. Did not an American film with much more explicit content and prohibited for viewers under the age of 16 reach 140,000 admissions in Morocco? "A country known for censorship always loses." he concludes.

How can a country like Morocco, at the forefront of the film industry in Africa, run the risk of being accused of censorship when it puts so much energy in having a reputation as a country of rights and progress?

When considering the African films that have circulated in festivals this year, where the main character is a black woman, one observes that she is often a prostitute. In Morbayassa, le serment de Koumba by Cheick Fantamady Camara (Guinea), Bella (Fatoumata Diawara) while in France tries to find the daughter she abandoned. The Price of Love by Hermon Hailay (Ethiopia) follows a young woman who tries to escape the clutches of her pimp in order to live her blooming romance. W.A.K.A. by Françoise Ellong (Cameroon) shows a mother’s struggle to feed her child, and then, Salla (Maïdou Prudence) is the head of a gang of street girls in Dakar Trottoirs by Hubert Laba Ndao (Senegal).

All received awards in African film festivals, including North African. One recalls the award for best actress to Prudence Maïdou in Khouribga in 2014. Could one imagine such a reward to Loubna Abidar of Much Loved in Morocco?

Although all are very good, dealing with a subject of contemporary reality, all of these films depict the heroine as a woman of the street. Hence this is the impression that is presented of the African women, in addition to the roles where she exists only because she is the wife, daughter, mother or sister. Or else as the opposite character of the subservient: a bourgeois woman, often cold and reserved, living in the most exclusive areas of the city, as the lawyer played by Maïmouna Ndiaye in L'œil du cyclone by Sekou Traoré (Burkina Faso).

Between the impactful stories and those on the extreme opposite, one question remains: where are the millions of stories of these billions of women that exist between these two caricatures?


Lubna Abidar décroche le Bayard d'Or de la Meilleure comédienne au Festival international du film francophone de Namur pour son rôle dans Much Loved de Nabil Ayouch. Une récompense inespérée dans son pays le Maroc où le film n'est toujours pas près de voir le jour pour cause de censure.

En salles en France et bientôt en Belgique, le controversé Much Loved de Nabil Ayouch a suscité une polémique depuis sa première présentation au Festival de Cannes en mai dernier, surtout chez ceux qui ne l'ont pas encore vu. Et pour cause, il dépeint le quotidien des prostituées de Marrakech en exposant la ville rouge comme un lieu de prostitution internationale. Depuis que des extraits ont circulé sur le net (qui ont même fait l'objet d'un montage), cela a fâché les autorités du pays qui ont décidé de le censurer. "C'est bien la première fois qu'un film est interdit sans avoir été vu, sur la base d'un simple coup de téléphone", a commenté Nour-Eddine Saïl, qui fut à la tête du Centre cinématographique marocain pendant une dizaine d'années. "Normalement, l'interdiction doit être signée par le directeur du Centre de la Cinématographie du Maroc ou par son délégué. C'est une censure illégale", a-t-il déclaré lors d'un forum au festival de Khouribga. Un film américain au contenu bien plus explicite et interdit au moins de 16 ans n'avait-il pas fait 140.000 entrées au Maroc ? "Un pays perd toujours à être réputé comme un pays de censure", conclut-il.  Lire la suite à Africultures:


19 October 2015

British-Nigerian Remi Vaughan-Richards talks about “Faaji Agba”, her passion for cinema, and the two cultures she embraces

Remi at work
Conversation with Remi Vaughan-Richards and Beti Ellerson, October 2015.

British-Nigerian Remi Vaughan-Richards, talks about her recently completely work Faaji Agba, her passion for cinema and her production company, Singing Tree Films.

Remi, congratulations on completing Faaji Agba! Before we discuss your experiences making the film, talk about yourself, how you came to filmmaking, film production.

Talk about myself...ok, I have worked in the film industry all my life since I left the Royal College of Art in London many, many years ago (guess that was in the late 80's, early 90's - hard to remember it was such a long time ago). I started out in the Costume Department making fantasy costumes and props (sci-fi and King Arthur type period stuff), then got involved in the Art Department. Worked on films such as the first Judge Dredd with Sylvester Stallone and other big budget movies; the last one was Eyes Wide Shut directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was then that I realised I didn't like working on large productions because you are just a small cog in a huge wheel, I wanted to be part of a team, all working towards the same goal...went on to smaller budgets in the Art Department; also at that time I was a storyboard artist and worked for clients like the BBC and feature films—anyway to cut a long story short—I had always wanted to direct but thought since I had never gone to a proper film school (I did a post grad diploma in film and TV) that I would not be able to direct. Then it dawned on me that I had been working in the industry for so long on set, behind the scenes that what better education could a person have. AND THAT WAS IT!  I love my work, love what I do, wouldn't trade it in for anything else.

You navigate between Nigeria and the UK, talk about your work, your connections between the two cultures.

Remi at work
I am mixed race, my mother was Nigerian and my father was British. He came to Nigeria in the late 50's. He was an architect and one of the most creative modernist architects in Nigeria. Anyway, I am a child of two cultures and I embrace both cultures equally. I think for me the work I do in Nigeria has more meaning. I tend to make documentaries and films that try to impact change or highlight an issue...if it is drama I have a message underlying the story. I am lucky that most of the time I get commissioned to do the work I love. My training in the UK helps me work in the Nigerian environment, which can be very challenging. The understanding of the role of each department and the real role of a director is not really there yet—getting there but not quite. Here the director is a 'boss' not a sharer of a vision. The attention to detail is slim but some productions have understood it. I could go on but suffice to say it is challenging but rewarding.

You run Singing Tree Films as a Creative Director. What are some of its projects?

I have just finished a feature film for Ford Foundation called Unspoken it is a drama about 2 young girls - an 11-year-old child bride from the north of Nigeria where traditionally child brides are a norm, and a precocious, attention seeking 13-year-old girl from the South who ends up pregnant—the film is a cautionary tale. It is entertainment but also educational. The film is going on traveling cinema around Nigeria. And so far the response has been amazing! Especially in the north of Nigeria where the practice of marrying off girls at the age of 11 years old is seen as acceptable - but there are people there now trying to effect change. Other projects are an arts series on the originators of modern art in Nigeria. We don't have much records of our past and it is only now people are becoming aware that we must document, film, write about people who have made an impact on the society before it is too late.

Other projects.... Ummm many more  - oh yes, one job I loved was in a hospital for pregnant women, and kids up to age of 4. Established by Governor Mimiko of Ondo State in Nigeria. It was free for all pregnant women. I would say it was like the American TV series ER but a real life version. I saw too many incidents of women dying even though the healthcare was free because at the last minute some of them would go to "mission houses" run by "prophets" and their spiritual "nurses" instead of hospitals and obviously often times things would go wrong. I was so touched by the vision and dedication of the doctors and nurses there—incredible experience.

Remi at work
Faaji Agba has been in the making for six years, talk about your journey in making the film, the experiences with the musicians involved and the passion that saw you through the process.

Faaji 'baby'. It started in 2009, and wow I have finally given birth to her or rather him cause it is pretty much a male-dominated film, although I put the wives perspective into it where I could. How it started... Kunle Tejuoso, who created the Faaji Agba Collective is a friend and I would come to his shop Jazzhole and watch him working with the old-boys. Then I started filming and kept filming and kept filming...until I realised I had a story. It is a story about Kunle's passion reinventing and find these old master Yoruba musicians and also about the fact that once again in Nigeria we are losing our culture and heritage pretty damn quickly in our race to be like the generic "everyone" else. It was challenging because it was done with no money—I was pretty much doing everything myself, from camera to sound. A few times I could beg favours and pay for someone to help with the formal interviews but I was pretty much on stand-by 24-7 for when I had to film. 

The most difficult was when they were invited to perform at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York—then it was just me, except for the live performance. I finally got some sponsorship from the Goethe Institut, Lagos and from FHN Nigeria (a local oil company who loved the project), Tayo Amusan (The Plams) and my flights from Arik airlines. Oh and I must say a thank you to Andrew Dosunmu who also helped raise funds and got us the gig in NY. 

More challenges were when my guys started dying on me—hard ‘cause they had become like family, like my uncles. It was amazing to discover the history of Lagos and in fact Nigeria and our music from their personal lives and I feel very privileged that I was able to be part of their lives. Half the time, they forgot that I was holding a camera and were very, very natural with me. 

Some people like to say it is like Buena Vista but I don't feel it is, there are other films like Searching for Sugarman where someone goes hunting down a forgotten musician—but to me Faaji Agba is more, it is also about Lagos and the legends that once existed. If you are from Lagos or understand highlife, juju and afrobeat music or the development of the music scene here then you will find it more fascinating than just a film about Kunle doing a Buena Vista and finding some old musicians. If you don't have an interest in the Lagos music scene or history then you will find Kunle doing a "Sugarman/Buena Vista" interesting.... nuff said.  :)

I am now looking at how to take the film further—enter festivals, Kunle and I want to create a CD/DVD and a book; back to funds, funds funds!! Usual story. 

Well that's me folks!!

Conversation with Remi Vaughan-Richards and Beti Ellerson, October 2015.


18 October 2015

Follow the events on social media of the UDADA (Women’s) Film Festival 2015 held in Nairobi

Follow the events of the Udada Film Festival (15-20 October 2015) on Twitter and Facebook:


The women's film festival Udada (which means sisterhood in Kiswahili) is the first in the region to feature women's fiction and documentary film productions. The film festival screens short, student, long feature and documentary films made by, or about women from all over the world.

The mandate of the UDADA Film Festival is to:

- Facilitate interaction between women filmmakers; and women filmmakers and their audiences;

- Support and encourage women involved in film production;

- Increase the exposure of new works written and/or directed by women;

- Showcase women work to the Kenyan and International film industry for future ventures;

- Provide opportunities for professional development;

- Provide a marketplace for industry. In essence, a reverse trade mission providing local filmmakers and producers access to the national and international film industry;

- Develop and offer youth programs to develop the next generation of filmmakers;

The Festival week also features workshops, forums and face-to-face meetings for filmmakers and producers. The Forum focusses on the business of filmmaking while the Festival celebrates international works by women.

Wanjiru Kinyanjui, Matrid Nyagah and Naomi Mwaura

15 October 2015

Experiments with love: young South African women filmmakers - Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF) UK, 16- 24 October 2015

Experiments with love: young South African women filmmakers - Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF) UK, 16-24 October 2015


Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF) has always been committed to highlighting the work and talent of African women directors. This year we are excited to be offering a screening programme called ‘Experiments with love: young South African women filmmakers’ with films by Nobunye Levin, Nikki Comninos, and Jyoti Mistry, and with introductions by Lindiwe Dovey. These films complement others in the CAFF 2015 programme, such as Love the One You Love (Jenna Cato Bass) and Ayanda (Sara Blecher). In the past few years, South Africa has witnessed a dynamic new film movement, led by young women of all races, who are experimenting with the film medium to seek new ways of figuring South Africa’s past and present. What further binds these films is their attachment to questions of intimacy, interiors, and love: familial love, fraternal love, romantic love. CAFF 2015 is thus screening a total of seven films directed by African women filmmakers, with Sara Blecher as our guest.

"Experiment with Love" is a workshop followed by screenings taking place on Saturday, 17 October.

Sebastiana Etzo
Head of Media Office
CAFF 2015

13 October 2015

Marguerite Abouet crée la série télévisée " C'est la vie" - "That's life"

Marguerite Abouet crée la série télévisée
C'est la vie

C’est la vie…

C’est la vie ! est une série télévisée sénégalaise créée en 2015 par Marguerite Abouet. Elle est diffusée sur les chaînes A+, TV5 Monde, ainsi que sur YouTube, Instagram et Facebook.


D’un centre de santé quelque part en Afrique, qui essaie tant bien que mal de gérer les difficultés du quotidien pour soigner les habitants du quartier de Ratanga, où l’existence oscille entre joies, malheurs, travail et vie familiale.

Série populaire d’éducation par le divertissement, C’est la vie ! propose un regard franc et humain sur une Afrique complexe, sans fard, surprenante et attachante, où des individus différents se croisent, s’aiment, se détestent, se trahissent et essaient de se comprendre. Les vies se vivent au gré des amours et des haines, des intrigues et des manipulations.

Ces personnages hauts en couleurs nous font partager leurs craintes et leurs espoirs qui sont traités sans manichéisme ni condescendance.

C’est la vie ! est une coproduction Keewu Productions / ONG RAES


That's life!, a Senegalese television series created in 2015 by Marguerite Abouet, is broadcast on the A+ and TV5 Monde channels, as well as on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.


A health center somewhere in Africa. The personnel tries as best as they can to manage the day-to-day problems incurred when treating the inhabitants of the Ratanga district. Where life oscillates between joys, misfortunes, work and family life.

The popular education-through-entertainment series, C’est la vie! gives a frank and human view of a complex, unvarnished, surprising and endearing Africa, where different individuals meet, love, hate, betray and try to understand each other.

Lives are lived through the ups and downs of love and hate, of intrigues and manipulations. These colorful characters share with us their fears and their hopes which are treated without Manichaeism or condescension.

That's life ! is a Keewu Productions / NGO RAES co-production

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