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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27 April 2016

African Diasporas. Alice Diop: La Permanence (On Call)

La permanence / On Call by Alice Diop

Analysis by Olivier Barlet. Translated from French by Beti Ellerson for the African Women in Cinema Blog. Published on the African Women in Cinema Blog in partnership with Africultures 

In competition at the Cinéma du Réel Film Festival in Paris (March 2016) where it received the Institut français Louis Marcorelles Award, On Call is a film that makes a difference and is necessary as an increasingly fearful Europe faces the influx of refugees and migrants.
In a small doctor's office, a fixed camera is placed on one side or the other of the room, allowing either the practitioner or the patient to be seen. How is it that the viewer remains glued to the screen for more than an hour and a half with such a minimalist approach? Glued, moved, in total empathy with those men and women, their pain, their suffering?
No doubt, it is what Alice Diop felt from the impact of hearing about these dramatic experiences that speak of the terrible evolution of a world where violence has become commonplace.
Initially her feelings, which she aptly conveys to us without pathos but with the meticulousness of her craft, become our own. She is discreetly present, as is her sound engineer, whose hands, at one point, are in view at the edge of the screen in an attempt to put a smile on the face of a baby, whose mother weeps an intimate drama caught in the drama of History. They are not trying to conceal themselves. A patient looks at them, asks them: "Are you still here? Do you go to other hospitals or just this one?" He admires the work of the boom operator: "All day, it's heavy!"
As in a film by Chantal Akerman, time is an asset. A static shot of a wall, a door, a chair and the top of a desk, compels us, in terms of duration, to focus on the details: the dilapidated walls, the oldness of the equipment. We are at the public hospital. This doctor, who has a sense of irony, notes that because of the lack of funds, there is a shortage of prescription pads.
This doctor is one of these modern heroes, anonymous and invisible, who give themselves to their task, with the means available. Assisted by a psychiatrist and a social worker, he maintains the PASS, a basic service with continuous access to health care at Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny. The only one in Seine Saint-Denis that offers consultations without appointment for newly-arrived migrants, often without social security and pending administrative decision on their status in France. When a refugee gets asylum, he or she is happy, though it is rare to hear: "This is a new life, everything will go well now!" And immediately tempered by: "Well, almost."
We spend an hour and a half with the doctor and the stream of patients, some of whom become familiar to us. Concentrated, the doctor listens to their hopes, often concerning a certificate necessary for the next step, or drugs that may distance them a bit from their suffering and their anguish. Entering through this little door, waiting patiently in the austere waiting room, are the effects of the harshness of the world, seen far beyond the door. Marked on their faces and visible in their gazes and silences is the precariousness of their situation in France, often without income or housing, lacking sleep as they are forced to slumber in parks, and the traces of the violence that they have fled. We cannot accommodate all the misery in the world? Perhaps not, but how are we doing our part, we who have historically provoked the largest global division of wealth and power?
In his broken English or Spanish, the doctor communicates somehow with those who have not yet learned French. Neither superiority nor condescension in his relationships. And especially not a belief of what is or should be the Other. In his presence, his comments, his questions, while continuing respectfully without a judgement of otherness, he positions himself as an alter ego, as a fellow human being. When a lady living at Emmaus (1) shows her fingers deformed by osteoarthritis, the doctor responds: "I have the same thing, I'm old also, we're the same age!"

Six months of editing: there is a rhythm, which takes the time to listen, marking the pauses with fades to black, followed suddenly by faces with dark circles under the eyes, an inexhaustible river of pain, other lives, other stories. One senses the dizzying magnitude of the task. The health providers oblige admiration. Two thousand consultations a year. They are not young. They have seen a lot, heard a lot, do not have time to waste on what they know will be fruitless revolts against the administration. No prescription ledger? They manage. No room for a private conversation with the psychiatrist? They make do. In an emergency, though not keen to do so, they prescribe antidepressants, anxiolytics, sedatives. Though an inadequate response, it is the only solution available.

At the end of the film, Alice Diop thanks the patients who accepted her presence. She had explained to them what her approach would be, which was the appropriate thing to do! It was while researching for the magazine Egaux mais pas trop [translation : equal but not too much] (LCP-AN channel) on the process of accessing care for the poor that she discovered Doctor Geeraert’s practice. She returned every Friday for a year.

Highlighted in the film is a quote by Fernando Pessoa: “They spoke to me of people, and of humanity. But I've never seen people, or humanity. I've seen various people, astonishingly dissimilar. Each separated from the next by an unpeopled space.” To see On Call is a therapy against the reflexes of exclusion arising too quickly faced with the constant battering of the audiovisual. It is the opposite experience of the flux of refugees presented on television: every man, every woman is unique, because the physicians respect them and share with them, because a filmmaker poses her camera without preconditions, to listen to them. Simply, as human beings.

(1) Emmaus Communities provide accommodations for homeless people.


Related articles regarding Alice Diop :

Alice Diop : Addressing political issues through sensitivity and empathy | Les questions politiques par le biais de la sensibilité et de l’empathie

Djia Mambu: Alice Diop’s "Towards Tenderness" (Vers la Tendresse) and "La Permanence" 

When Alice Diop takes us "towards masculine tenderness" | Quand Alice Diop nous entraîne "vers la tendresse" au masculin

Alice Diop: La mort de Danton

25 April 2016

African Women of the Screen at the Digital Turn | Écrans d’Afrique au féminin au tournant numérique by/de Beti Ellerson

African Women of the Screen at the Digital Turn |
Écrans d’Afrique au féminin au tournant numérique 

“African Women of the Screen at the Digital Turn.” Special Report. Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media 10 (Winter 2015–16). Web. ISSN: 2009-4078. Link:

The advent of social media and digital technologies marks a new era in African film production, spectatorship, reception, diffusion, critique and pedagogy. Its impact on the visibility of women and their work is remarkable as these devices are increasingly embraced as tools and strategies for visual exchange and communication. The emergence of an online community of African women of the screen since the 2010s proves to be a game-changer as a network of stakeholders interconnected as colleagues, friends, fans, followers, group members, navigates within a collective virtual space. This paper analyses these trends and tendencies, the engagement of African women in cinema with the strategies and devices of new media and their evolution in screen culture practices. 

« Écrans d’Afrique au féminin au tournant numérique » pp 39-49. IN Cinéma AfriKa 2.0 Nouvelles formes et nouvelles façons de faire du cinéma: Adaptées aux contextes du continent Africain et de l’Océan Indien. Ebook édité par l’Institut français de Madagascar, février 2016. Lien:  

L’avènement des médias sociaux et des technologies numériques proclame une nouvelle ère dans la production, la réception, la diffusion, la critique et la pédagogie. Lorsque les femmes africaines adoptent de plus en plus les nouveaux médias comme un outil d’échange et de communication visuelle, on constate un impact très remarquable sur leur visibilité et leur travail. L’émergence d’une communauté virtuelle depuis l’entrée dans le 21ème siècle, surtout en cette seconde décennie, change la donne. En tant qu’un réseau d’acteurs interconnectés-collègues, amies, fans, fidèles, membres du groupe-naviguant dans un espace virtuel collectif, les possibilités sont énormes. Cet essai a pour objectif d’analyser ces mouvements et ces tendances en examinant l’évolution des femmes africaines dans leurs pratiques culturelles de l’écran et leur engagement avec les outils et les stratégies de la technologie des nouveaux médias.

Women and Media in the Twenty-First Century (Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media) Issue 10, 2016

Women and Media in the Twenty-First Century (Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media) Issue 10, 2016

by Abigail Keating and Jill Murphy, University College Cork (Issue Editors)

01 The Gendered Politics of Sex Work in Hong Kong Cinema: Herman Yau and Elsa Chan (Yeeshan)’s Whispers and Moans and True Women for Sale
by Gina Marchetti, University of Hong Kong

02 Girlhood, Postfeminism and Contemporary Female Art-House Authorship: The “Nameless Trilogies” of Sofia Coppola and Mia Hansen-Løve 
by Fiona Handyside, University of Exeter

03 Femininity, Ageing and Performativity in the Work of Amy Heckerling
by Frances Smith, University College London

04 Motherhood in Crisis in Lucrecia Martel’s Salta Trilogy
by Fiona Clancy, University College Cork

05 Female Stardom in Contemporary Romanian New Wave Cinema: Unglamour?
by Andrea Virginás, Sapientia University

06 “Nice White Ladies Don’t Go Around Barefoot”: Racing the White Subjects of The Help (Tate Taylor, 2011)
by Marie-Alix Thouaille, University of East Anglia

07 Pocahontas No More: Indigenous Women Standing Up for Each Other in Twenty-First Century Cinema
by Sophie Mayer, Independent Scholar

08 The Feminist Cinema of Joanna Hogg: Melodrama, Female Space, and the Subversion of Phallogocentric Metanarrative
by Ciara Barrett, National University of Ireland, Galway

09 African Women of the Screen at the Digital Turn
by Beti Ellerson, Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema

The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come, by Francesco Casetti (2015)
Reviewer: Niall Flynn, University of Lincoln

Decades Never Start on Time: A Richard Roud Anthology, edited by Michael Temple and Karen Smolens (2014)
Reviewer: Laura Busetta, Sapienza University of Rome

Film & Making Other History: Counterhegemonic Narratives for a Cinema of the Subaltern, by Alejandro Pedregal (2015)
Reviewer: David Brancaleone, Limerick Institute of Technology

Journeys in Argentine and Brazilian Cinema: Road Films in a Global Era, by Natália Pinazza (2014)
Reviewer: Jamie Steele, University of Exeter

TV Museum: Contemporary Art and the Age of Television, by Maeve Connolly (2014)
Reviewer: Erica Levin, Ohio State University

Book Reviews Editor: Marian Hurley

John Di Stefano: Bandiera Nera
Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney, 23 January–21 February 2015 
Reporter: Aleksandr Andreas Wansbrough, University of Sydney 

20 April 2016

African Diasporas. Tanzanian-American Ekwa Msangi launches the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for her film project “Farewell Meu Amor”

Tanzanian-American filmmaker Ekwa Msangi launches the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the film project “Farewell Meu Amor”


An immigrant's story about the love that is lost when a man's wife and son finally receive visas to join him in the US.

From Ekwa Msangi's Farewell Meu Amor Kickstarter Page:

The story is a personal one, inspired by a close family member, and takes place on the morning when our protagonist’s world is about to change forever. His long estranged wife and son have finally been granted their American Visa and are arriving in New York after two decades of living apart, but in order to create space for his legal family, he must say goodbye to the only family he’s had up until that point – Linda…

I want to explore the theme of BLACK LOVE in this film, and specifically how it pertains to African people. Probably for religious reasons (among many others), the ways in which love, longing and relationship is discussed and portrayed in African film is very limiting. I’m hoping to expand to scope with this film.

Visit the Kickstarter page: Farewell Meu Amor for details about the fundraising efforts and to make a contribution.

Image source: Kickstarter

19 April 2016

Film Africa 2016 Call for Entries continues - Royal African Society Film Festival, London

Film Africa 2016 Call for Entries continues - Royal African Society Film Festival, London

Film Africa is the Royal African Society’s annual festival celebrating the best African cinema from across the continent. Now in its sixth year, the festival has become a key platform for African cinema in London and the UK.

Deadline: 30 June 2016

17 April 2016

Call for entries: Shungu Namutitima International Film Festival of Zambia 2016




Theme: “Inclusive Communities”

SHUNAFFoZ Festival Dates:
Friday 2 December to Saturday 10 December 2016, in Livingstone

Deadline for Submission: Wednesday 10 August 2016

Vilole Images Productions (VIP) is pleased to invite filmmakers to submit documentaries, short films and full-length feature films to the Shungu Namutitima (Smoke that Thunders) International Film Festival of Zambia (SHUNAFFoZ). The festival will run from Friday 2 December to Saturday 10 December 2016 in Livingstone the tourist capital of Zambia. 

Celebrating the 11th Anniversary, under the theme “INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES”, the festival will accept Zambian and African films into competition. However, films from all over the world are for screening ONLY.

Besides the theatrical, institutional and community screenings, lined-up are film forums and conferences. Also planned is a set of film skills and production workshops and forums filled with exciting activities. It will conclude with a gala and award night on 10 December 2016 at Maramba Culture Village.

Deserving filmmakers who have produced quality films with an aspect that touches on or demonstrates alignment with the main theme “INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES!” from Zambia and Africa will be awarded. Submission of products should be in DVD PAL format only with the requested press package. Uncompleted packages and late entries will not be accepted. 


- The film(s) should have good production and entertainment quality

- The film(s) may be entered for competition or out of competition

- The film(s) should have been produced within the last five (05) years

- Films submitted into the competition will be adjudicated by a Jury/juries selected by the Festival and the competition decision(s) by the Jury shall be final

- The audience will also have the privilege of selecting a feature film of their choice to give an award, and movies from all over Africa are eligible to enter for the selection

Please mark your package, “NCV – No Commercial Value – Film Festival Entry”, so we do not incur duties and taxes when the package is brought into Zambia.

For more information contact

The Festival Coordinator
Vilole Images Production
Address: Plot No 2344, Mosi-oa Tunya Road, Livingstone, Zambia OR  P.O. BOX 60987, Livingstone, Zambia
Tel: +260 977 785 180 | +260 964 196 297 | +260 955 883 769

16 April 2016

Call for Entries: Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) 2016 – Nigeria

Africa International Film Festival Logo:
6th Edition of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) Call for Entries. Lagos, Nigeria. April 2016

Nigerian entertainment executive Chioma Ude founded the Nigeria-based Africa International Film Festival in 2010. She envisions it as a platform to train individuals in film then develop and monetize content for the public.

Competition categories: Features, Documentaries, Animations, Shorts and Student Shorts  

The Africa International Film Festival AFRIFF is Africa’s exciting new annual destination for fantastic film experience and celebration in Nigeria every November. AFRIFF aims at establishing itself as a major international film festival, while continuing to act as a platform for showcasing excellence in African cinema and simultaneously contributing to the development and growth of the industry and its talent.

The 6th edition of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) billed to hold from the 13th to 20th of November 2016 has begun with a notice of its Call for Entries.


Website: AFRIFF
Facebook: Africa International Film Festival

Mr. Keith Shiri, Artistic Director for AFRIFF, reiterated that this year's programme would encourage entries particularly from countries in the north and central African regions as well as animation and experimental strands that are always under represented.

Only films produced between January 2015 and when the call for entry closes in July 2016 will be eligible to compete. Complete information on the guidelines and procedures for submission can be found on the festival website  

13 April 2016

New York African Film Festival 2016

New York African Film Festival 2016

Under the banner Modern Days, Ancient Nights: 50 Years of African Filmmaking the 23rd edition of the New York African Film Festival honors the legacy of Sembène. The festival returns to New York to show film-lovers the most fascinating selection of narrative features, documentaries, and shorts from the African continent and the Diaspora. More than 50 works from over 25 countries display the exhilarating labor of a new generation of filmmakers working from the four corners of the world, enriching the growing patrimony of African cinema.

’76: Izu Ojukwu, Nigeria, 2016, 138min.

About a Mother: Dina Velikovskaya, Russia, 2015, 8min.

Afripedia: Ghana, Kenya And Senegal: Senay Berhe, Teddy Goitom and Benjamin Taft, Ghana/Ivory Coast/Kenya/Senegal, 2014, 84min. (28min. x 3 episodes)

Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (Rain The Color Of Blue With A Little Red In It): Christopher Kirkley, Niger, 2015, 75min.

Black Jews: The Roots Of The Olive Tree: Laurence Gavron, Senegal/France, 2016, 56min.

Child of the Revolution: Xoliswa Sithole, Zimbabwe, 2014, 73min.

Cholo: Muzna Almusafer, United Arab Emirates/France, 2014, 21min.

Cuckold: Charlie Vundla, South Africa, 2015, 95min.

The Cursed One: Nana Obiri Yeboah and Maximillian Claussen, UK/Ghana, 2015, 95min.

The Dance of King David: Axel Baumann, USA, 2011, 32min.

Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs: Jihan El-Tahri, Egypt/France/USA/Qatar, 2014, 168min. (56min. x 3 films)

Faaji Agba: Remi Vaughan-Richards, Nigeria, 2015, 91min.

In Search of Finah Misa Kule: Kewulay Kamara, Sierra Leone, 2015, 42min.

Head Gone: Dare Fasasi, Nigeria/Sweden, 2014, 111min.

Hex: Clarence Peters, Nigeria, 2015, 26min.

In The Eye of the Spiral: Raynald Leconte and Eve Blouin, USA/Haiti/UK, 2014, 72min.

Intore (The Chosen): Eric Kabera, Rwanda, 2014, 76min.

Kirikou and the Wild Beasts: Michel Ocelot and Benedicte Galup , France, 2005, 75 min.

La Belle at the Movies: Cecilia Zoppelletto, UK/Belgium/Congo, 2015, 67min.

Lamb: Yared Zeleke, Ethiopia/France/Germany/Norway/Qatar, 2015, 94min.

The Longest Kiss: Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque, 2013, Sudan/Canada, 75min.

Martha & Niki: Tora Mårtens, Sweden, 2015, 93min.

Mixtress X: Daty Kaba, USA, 2005, 74min.

Negritude: A Dialogue Between Wole Soyinka and Senghor: Manthia Diawara, USA/France/Germany/Portugal, 2015, 59min.

The Other Side of the Atlantic (Do outro lado do Atlântico): Márcio Câmara, Brazil, 2016, 90min.

Ọya: Something Happened On The Way To West Africa!: Seyi Adebanjo, Nigeria, 2015, 30min.

Pastor Paul: Jules David Bartkowski, USA/Ghana/Nigeria, 2015, 70min.

Price of Love: Hermon Hailay, Ethiopia, 2015, 99min.

The Prophecy: Marcia Juzga, Senegal, 2015, 20min.

Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess: Roy T. Anderson, Jamaica, 2013, 59min.

Red Leaves: Bazi Gete, Israel, 2014, 80min.

Sembene!: Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo, Senegal/USA, 2015, 82min.

Some Bright Morning: The Art of Melvin Edwards: Lydie Diakhaté, USA/France, 2016, 51min.

Tanna: Bentley Dean and Martin Butler, Australia/Vanuatu, 2015, 104 min.

Tchindas: Marc Serena and Pablo García Pérez de Lara, Spain/Cape Verde, 2015, 95min.

TGV: Moussa Touré, France/Germany/Senegal, 1997, 88min.

Too Black to be French?: Isabelle Boni-Claverie, France, 2015, 52min.

Twaaga (Invincible): Cedric Ido, France/ Burkina Faso, 2013, 30min.

Under the Starry Sky: Dyana Gaye, France/Senegal, 2013, 86min.

While You Weren’t Looking: Catherine Stewart, South Africa, 2015, 104min.

Yemanjá: Wisdom From The African Heart Of Brazil: Donna C. Roberts and Donna Read, USA/Brazil, 2015, 52min.

Shorts Program #1 – Quartiers Lointains 

The Return: Yohann Kouam, France, 2013, 22min.

The Sense of Touch: Jean-Charles Mbotti Mololo, France, 2014, 15min.

Destino: Zangro, France, 2013, 22min.

Towards Tenderness: Alice Diop, France, 2016, 40min.

Shorts Program #2 – Africa in New York 

Afripedia X New York: Teddy Goitom, Benjamin Taft, Senay Berhe, Sweden/USA, 2016, 12min.

Anton: Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, USA/Uganda/Germany, 2016, 5min.

Contained: Mamadou Dia, Senegal/USA, 2016, 5min.

Olive: Alfonso Johnson, USA, 2016, 6.5min.

Reluctantly Queer: Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghana/USA, 2016, 8min.

New York, I Love You: Iquo B. Essien, USA, 2016, 21min.

10 April 2016

Sistas Are Doin’ It for Themselves Film Festival 2016, (California, USA)

Sistas are doin' it for themselves Logo:
Sistas Are Doin’ It for Themselves
Film Festival

16 April 2016, 6:00pm

This screening and dialog is an opportunity for emerging African American female filmmakers to showcase their skills, talent and vision through film screenings, while giving the audience a chance to view and discuss the artistry, passion and sacrifice involved in the independent filmmaking process. 


Dream (2015) Nijla Baseema Mu’min, 17 min.
A 12-year-old girl strives to rekindle her parent’s dwindling romance and learns painful lessons about love in the process.

Forgiving Chris Brown (2015) Marquette Jones, 12 min.
Forgiving Chris Brown is a dark comedy short that follows the follies of Rihanna, Halle and Tina. These stylish girlfriends hope to heal their battered hearts the old-fashioned way – Revenge. The emotional baggage they carry ties them together and makes for some unorthodox fun.

Hi, Miss! (2014) Dionne Edwards, 12 min.
Sparks fly between shutter clicks when quarrelling teenage photography students, Kleo and Femi, are told to take each other’s portrait. Open enmity soon turns to tentative flirting and as the camera snaps they discover there’s a thin line between love and hate.

The Reunion (2015) Carmen Elly Wilkerson, 20 min.
A debate between four teenagers the morning after a party where one of them realized she’s been sexually assaulted.

Roubado (2014) Erica A. Watson, 18 min.  
The story of an introverted Afro-Portuguese teen growing up in the south of France, suffering from his parents’ recent breakup, the only solace he can muster is his penchant for photography.

Soko Sonko (2014) Ekwa Msangi, 23 min.
Soko Sonko is a hilarious, fishout ofwater rollercoaster of a journey, about a wellintended dad who braves the fires of parenting.

Bag Lady: Viagra (2014) Tammi Mac, 8 min. 
An anthology that tackles the insecurities of bruised souls and focuses on empowering women.

Window Dressing Fail (2014) Stacey Larkins, 5 min.
An ambitious woman masks her African name on her resume in order to obtain a job interview.

06 April 2016

Black Star International Film Festival, Ghana : Submissions 2016 are open

Black Star International Film Festival, Ghana : Submissions 2016 are open

Juliet Asante is Executive Director of the Black Star International Film Festival (BSIFF) in Ghana and Jacqueline Nsiah serves as the producer.

My vision for the BSIFF is to drive it to be one of the top 5 festivals in Africa. To make it the destination festival in Africa. As a festival focused on the business of film, the goal of the festival is also to help bridge critical industry gaps on the continent; to help put Africa as a film festival destination on the map.” Juliet Asante

Festival dates: 25-27 August 2016

Juliet Asante holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School.  She holds a BA from the National film and television institute of Ghana (Nafti) and a BA from the Cape Coast University in Ghana and has a diploma from the New York Film Academy. She is a regular writer for the Huffington Post and a Mentor on Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Juliet served on the World Economic forum’s global entertainment council for two years. Juliet's first film, Silver rain was nominated 'best film in Africa #AMVCA. Juliet is the founder of BSIFF and presently serves as the Executive Director of the Black Star International Film Festival in Ghana.

Jacqueline Nsiah is a freelance film festival and arts & culture consultant. She has eight years’ experience in the international film festival circuit, having worked as a co-director for the Cambridge African Film Festival in 2008, produced the Real Life Documentary Film Festival in Accra, assistant produced the Rio International Film Festival and worked as a guest manager in the Panorama Section of the Berlin International Film Festival, among various other roles. She is the co-director and curator of a small African film festival, UHURU in Rio de Janeiro, a programmer for Film Africa London and the producer for the Black Star International Film Festival. She holds a MA in Visual and Media Anthropology from the Free University in Berlin and a BA in African Studies and Politics from SOAS.


05 April 2016

OUAGA FILM LAB 2016 : Call for projects | Appel à projets

OUAGA FILM LAB 2016 : Call for projects | Appel à projets

Deadline for applications: Friday 1 July 2016

Date limite d’envoi des dossiers : vendredi 1 juillet 2016


Email :
Tel : 00226 25 40 91 61 - 00226 76 61 01 51  

Ouaga Film Lab is a meeting platform between experts and young African talents. Its goal is to establish a bridge between African professional networks and the rest of the world, by creating a bilateral dialog: on one hand between African talents themselves and on the other between African talents and the rest of the world, on various issues regarding film production on local and international scale.

Ouaga Film Lab est une plateforme de rencontres entre experts et jeunes talents du continent. Elle favorise la mise en réseau de talents d´Afrique avec des réseaux professionnels du reste du monde pour instaurer un dialogue direct dans un double sens : d´une part entre les talents africains eux-mêmes et d´autre part entre eux et les réseaux professionnels du reste du monde sur les difficultés inhérentes à la production cinématographique tant au niveau local qu’au niveau international.


Deadline for applications: Friday 1 July 2016

This call for projects is open to everyone with a project based in Africa (of which the director is a national of a country in West Africa) working in the field of cinema.

Date limite d’envoi des dossiers : vendredi 1 juillet 2016

Ce présent appel à projets est destiné aux professionnels du cinéma et de l’audiovisuel de l’Afrique de l’ouest et qui répondent aux critères énoncés dans le règlement de Ouaga Film Lab 2016.

04 April 2016

African Diasporas. Claire & Angèle, Nadia, Pocas, Rama, in/en conversation: To be a woman filmmaker in Africa | Être réalisatrice en Afrique

©FIFF/Yoann Corthésy
Claire & Angèle, Nadia, Pocas, Rama, in/en conversation: To be a woman filmmaker in Africa | Être réalisatrice en Afrique

Source: FIFF2016 YouTube. En Français | In French []/watch?v=K0j1AAtfJqE - 1h24mn
Photos ©FIFF/Yoann Corthésy

Excerpted from/extrait du FIFF Festival International du Film de Fribourg 2016 – Roundtable/Table ronde: Etre réalisatrice en Afrique | To be a woman filmmaker in Africa - 13 03 2016. Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

Photo: []
Conversation in French |en Français:

Franco-Burkinabe Claire Diao, moderator of the roundtable (10:30)

My objective as a journalist who focuses on African cinema is to de-compartmentalise all of the linguistic spaces, to talk about Africa from Morocco to Comoros, eliminating the frontiers between Arabophone, Francophone, Anglophone and Lusophone… 

Claire Diao: Introduction of the four filmmakers (11:30)

Claire Diao ©FIFF/Yoann Corthésy
Nadia El Fani, Angèle Diabang, Pocas Pascoal, Rama Thiaw, have directed documentary, fiction, long and short films. Nadia was born in Paris and raised in Tunisia, Angèle was born and raised in Dakar in Senegal, Rama Thiaw was born in Nouakchott in Mauritania and raised in Senegal, Pocas Pascoal was born and raised in Luanda in Angola.

Claire Diao (12:32)
The question may appear a bit silly, but I like to pose it nonetheless - At what point in your life did you realise that you were a woman? 

Pocas Pascoal (12:47)
When we begin to experience how other people see us, when you do not have the same rights as a girl as a boy does, that there were games that boys played and that girls played. There are societal rules that indicate that you are a woman… that experience lasted a long time. Very young, one realises that girls have certain roles that are assigned to them, I realised this rather young.

Rama Thiaw (14:30)
It came to me rather late. Coming from Mauritania I was called dirty Arab when I arrived in Senegal at five years old. Arriving in France two years later I was called a dirty black. I only realised when in France that I was black…

I was always dressed as a boy, in clothes that were handed down from my brother with only a year difference in age. Hence we were treated mainly the same, I did not have this difference in terms of gender in our family.

I realised really as an adult this notion of woman, an example, when I presented the film Boul Fallé (2009) at Créteil, people responded that I am a woman but there are only men in my film. But I film what I am interested in. I thought, “we are still at this point?” It was there that I realised things from another angle…

Angèle Diabang (16:48)
That is not an easy question, I would say, as Rama while growing up I did not have this notion of gender. I grew up among a lot of women; I was a person. What I realised very young was that I was an orphan, that was really my feeling of difference between others and myself, that is what I lacked, and not between boy and girl. And when playing in the neighbourhood where boys and girls intermingled, there was not a distinction made. I went to a boarding school and there were girls of all ages and I never posed the question of gender.

Angèle Diabang ©FIFF/Yoann Corthésy
This notion developed in my mind when I entered in the realm of art, when I began to do films, since I did films that focused on women, and was asked, “oh it was because you are a woman, because you are a feminist. But that was not my motivation for doing films about women, for a feminist cause, but rather because they are topics that interest me. But that question was always repeated to me “but you are a feminist.” I am feminist, but why must I wear this hat when I do this film. I can do films about women without it being for a cause.

Nadia El Fani (18:34)
As a little girl I was called a tomboy…it was then that I realised that I was a girl. My French grandfather worked as a mechanic for the railroad and would say to me “you will be an engineer”. But more particularly my difference was being a mixed-race child of a French mother and Tunisian father. But above all to have a communist father. The party was banned, hence operated clandestinely. My family being a bit on the fringes of society, even very engaged within it. I always claimed my feminism.

But not to be against something, but for women’s rights, as long as they have not been won it is to continue to fight. I always felt myself a woman, I have always wanted to be a woman, even if others felt there was a masculine aspect. It is more enjoyable, less difficult to be a woman because, oddly there are less things to prove within society, to be a man one must become virile, whereas, for us, femininity is a state of being, so it is easier. That comes from my provocative side.

Audience (21:31)
What touches or hurts you the most, negative attitudes/comments about race or gender?

Rama Thiaw (22:25)
I am a human being first and foremost. Before gender, sexuality or origin, I am a human being. I fight for my specificity. The day when we see ourselves as specific human beings we will have won. That is when humanity will have won. Capitalism divides us in different struggles—gender, sexual orientation, race—rather than to reason on the human level, globally…There is no hierarchy in racial and gender insults, they both hurt. Universal feminism can also hurt me. The notion of femininity is cultural. You will note that Angèle and I come from Senegal, we have a very different notion of feminism in Senegal... A forceful woman must fight, which in the west this violence is attributed to men. In Senegal women are the strong sex. They do the hard work; they are the ones who manage things. Men are afraid of women within the household. However, we must conquer the public space. Women handle the money; there is no problem of equality in parliament. On the other hand, we must fight to have access to abortion, because of cultural attitudes based on religion.

Claire Diao (25:10)
How did you come to cinema?
Nadia el Fani ©FIFF/Yoann Corthésy

Nadia El Fani (25:25)
You may find this funny but westerns influenced me to make films…There was nothing interesting in the Tunisian programming on television. So we watched these westerns and others. I was passionate about them, about Charlie Chapin and black and white films, even Buster Keaton…My parents were film enthusiasts, they were intellectuals and we lived above a movie house. And as children we were somewhat rascals and slipped inside to watch the films. I always wanted to make films. My parents did not have the means to send me to film school in Paris and there were none in Tunisia. They wanted me to study law, I did that, as well as history and even nursing, never really completing them, and then I had the opportunity to work with an American film production and started that way…I decided to realise my dream, I created a production company and made films.

Angèle Diabang (27:44)
Growing up with a lot of restrictions, in a closed environment, in terms of television watching, we were obliged to choose, rather than to watch what we wanted, it was very difficult for me…Since this was something to which I did not have access, I developed a vivid imagination and quickly guessed the plot and I understood rapidly the process of story development…

Claire Diao (31:31)
To note Pocas was the first camerawoman in Angola!

Pocas Pascoal (31:35)
Pocas Pascoal ©FIFF/Yoann Corthésy
That is true, which is how I started. Television began late in Angola, there was cinema but it was not accessible to all, but rather to the Portuguese colonialists, and to a certain elite, my family did not have access to it, we listened to the radio. I grew up with the telenovellas of the radio. It was in 1977-78 that television emerged in Angola. There was televised news, and gradually films were broadcast. The first cinema was Russian and Cuban propaganda films; as Angola was Marxist for a long time. And the cinema of Sarah Maldoror, who was the first woman to do a film. The first film about Angola was made by a woman, there was no cinema before this. It was against colonialism, it was a very political cinema. It was a cinema that was found in the working-class districts.

Claire Diao (34:05)
So in retrospect, to see a pioneering woman who was also a role model.

Pocas Pascoal (34:08) 
Definitely! She was a role model and continues to be. Her name is mentioned on every street corner. And in addition she was the spouse of the revolutionary leader who created the MPLA party. She was the reference, it was a revolution! To respond to the question, how I came to cinema. I liked photography, I then worked at the television station, as a very young woman, I became the first woman camera operator. I had a desire to work with the image, which was impossible as there was a very long war. And hence there was no cinema until 2002. After Sarah Maldoror it was a long interim.

Rama Thiaw (35:26)

Rama Thiaw ©FIFF/Yoann Corthésy
I watched films from with my grandmother. And in Senegal it is quite amusing, in the movie theatres it is a spectacle in itself, as it is very animated with people responding to what they are viewing. We went to see the Kung Fu films with friends and siblings, we looked at horror films... On the other hand with my mother who was very interested in culture, we did not have the right to watch television, we watched films in black and white such as Charlie Chaplin, which I hated. My mother wanted to explain to us about World War II...She had us read Mein Kamp because she wanted us to understand the mind of the people, how they could be swept into Nazism… Also we learned about the Korean War and the Vietnam War. And we watched Apocalyse Now. I was shocked by it. But I did not know what it was called; I knew I wanted to do something like that. I did not know that was cinema. I wanted to be a poet…I was able to draw. Later I studied economics, since at the time I had utopian ideas wanting to change the world. I then realised that it would not be by economics but perhaps by the image…

Claire Diao (39:55)
Do you see solidarity among women filmmakers—internationally, regionally, locally?

Nadia, you endured a great deal of attacks because of the film that you made, did you feel support, solidarity as a filmmaker?

Nadia El Fani (40:24)
It’s a bit difficult to talk about the attacks that we endure. I had chosen to return to work in Tunisia…I wanted to work in the heart of my society, for a long time I felt that I was Tunisian and nothing else and I want to do my films there. Right away I was involved in Tunisian associations, that is part of how I was raised, and for things to advance they must be supported. The Tunisian filmmakers association was very strong at the time, there was a boycott again Carthage in 1980 initiated by the association; hence there was a political engagement. We created the African filmmakers guild in Paris though I did not agree as I thought initiatives should come from the continent—however my attitudes have evolved since then… Solidarity, I don’t know….

Angele Diabang (42:50)
I think it is difficult to say there is not solidarity when we are in a field where it is difficult to work alone. Trying to find funding, to find a group of men who are willing to work with us and to respect our artistic vision is already difficult to deal with, to find one’s place as a woman, who is not married, who must travel, be away for several weeks of filming, who cannot participate in the social events of the family because she must focus on her work, that is all difficult to deal with. How then are we able to support other African women filmmakers, and the issues that this status engenders? There are associations that exist in order to encourage and support these kinds of initiatives. Yes I attempt to do this on an individual level. Am I bad for not taking the time and effort to support others with their individual problems? I no longer have the strength and I have no one to lift me up when I fall. Do I have the strength to deal with all the problems of African cinema?

Rama Thiaw (46:00)
I am somewhere between both of you. No I do not think there is solidarity, between women, between African women, and between Africans, in general. It is a complicated question… There is a competition, that does not allow it, since there is a place for only one. I don’t believe in this, I position myself on the left of left. I try to be one who brings things together. I initiated a letter to the president of the Francophonie, Michaëlle Jean, because she was a woman, in the name of African women, but very few women signed on. I contacted Fepaci, no response. Though it is an association that is suppose to represent the filmmakers from the continent. A combat is like a marathon, one must reserve some energy or there will be none left. We have difficulty as women that is not talked about, that women must put their careers on hold to support their husband’s ,but they do not do the same for women. We struggle alone. What also exists is the mentality, each woman for herself, that each must succeed instead of the other. The struggles accumulate. The hope is to have the strength to do one’s own work and have some left to contribute to the development of our society. I don’t know if we succeed but we will try. We will create a production association in Senegal, right Angèle!

Angèle Diabang (48:10)
…I imagine that rather than think I want to make it instead of the other, there is the attitude that I just want to make it. In countries like here, where there is more means, one feels less of a competition, because the cake is bigger and there is a piece for everybody where with us, there is perhaps not even a cake but a piece. And we say I want that piece. That is why I say it is not the individualism, but that one wants to just do one’s film. Wanting to do my film does not mean that it is in place of Nadia doing hers, or Rama doing hers, or Pocas doing hers. No, I just want to be able to make my film. And that is the difference in being in an environment where there is almost nothing, and to do something with this almost nothing, and being in an environment where one may choose. Hence, it is not one against another, but that each wants to do something. And as Rama said, since there is the system that pits one against the other, I just want to do my film to have a piece.

Pocas Pascoal (49:48)
I have been in a lot of situations where women support other women, on all levels and internationally. In 2013 I met Nadia, three women were in competition at Fespaco, my film was not on 35 mm but digital and was withdrawn from competition… I was rather timid but Nadia, who I did not know at the time, supported me and said “we will go to the press with your story”. And in fact it became the film to see and won an important prize: the European Union special prize. I think there are those who are very much in solidarity. It is true that we are forced to think about ourselves, rather than for the cause, or to challenge things—since our cinema is very political, or give support to others. There is solidarity, and a great deal among women.

Nadia El Fani (53:05)
I am glad that you brought this up. Not to pat myself on the back but to talk about the men’s reaction. Those that were in competition, those with whom I fought in solidarity for many years, friends, colleagues. I was also insulted by some of them, it was violent. And on top of it, I also had a film in competition, so it is not about having the time. But when I am in solidarity with Pocas, it benefits me as well. When one struggles in the combat of others, it is for one’s own benefit as well. We cannot advance with the attitude that I have to be the one, it is a struggle for all. When we lead the struggle for all, we carry our own as well. Individuality is not the same as individualism. We are all irreplaceable; it is not about megalomania. It is true that in the struggle there is egoism… In filmmaking there is a team effort, and of course when one directs a team, there is a leader, but the leader should be fair. And to defend the cause of others is fundamental. There was a real injustice. The president of the jury was a woman cineaste. I went to talk to everybody, they all knew me. The reaction of the men was shocking, to imagine that for them to think that if their film in competition could have a better chance if the film was removed, the violence; that was frightening!

Pocas Pascoal (55:45)
The number of men who signed the petition was minimal. They refused. But it was for everyone, not just for me, but for everyone, for the cause. Thanks to this struggle, they announced that this would be the last year that this rule would apply. The called to make sure I was present because they would make the announcement. When in Cannes it has been done for some time.

Nadia El Fani (56:33)
I want to note as well that when my film was refused by Carthage [Film Festival], I wrote an open letter to them. Well I recall that there was a time when filmmakers were capable of boycotting festivals, stating that they will not attend because of a refusal to show a film. This solidarity does not cost much, though it has a great impact, but I did not get that support. 

Angele Diabang (57:18)
I want to clarify that I did not say that I am against being supportive. However, one cannot reproach someone because they do not become involved in a cause. It is not because we are African filmmakers we must support others. I am not talking about myself, because whoever is familiar with my work knows that I am very active in Senegal, even putting my career on the line. I am president of the Société sénégalaise du droit d'auteur (Senegalese copyright association), which I do without remuneration…I am saying that one should not be criticised for not automatically being engaged in the cause of others, since she may be dealing with the myriad situations regarding her own life and work…

Audience (59:35)
Professional recognition, what has been an important moment for you? 

Nadia El Fani (59:58)
Interesting, as we are moving away from the discussion about being a woman filmmaker, that’s okay! I have always done what one would call polemical films, or in fact, films that did not initially find an audience in Tunisia or in the Arab world. My films were directed at my society, and by extension the Arab and African world. I would say I have a home at Fespaco, where my films have always been selected, but to the contrary, not in Tunisia.

When Neither Allah, nor Master! was finally recognised! What is recognition? To be recognised by the press, the media? Yes, it was interesting to finally receive an award, I don’t have many, perhaps special mentions, but never as far as obtaining an award. It’s amusing because, I am usually criticised because of my commitment, and here I am awarded for it!...

Claire Diao (1:01:37)
And Rama whose film was awarded the Critics Prize, category forum the Berlinale 2016.

Rama Thiaw (1:01:50)
No, not really!!!...

Claire Diao (1:02:06)
It could be recognition from a family member on social media!

Rama Thiaw (1:01:37)
…I would say that among us I am the one who has made the fewest films. Even though I began around the time as Angèle some 10 years ago. I have only made two films; I can’t really talk about recognition. I can only say that I am happy to have completed this film, which took six years. So when my father posted his congratulations on Facebook, after pouting for ten years that I did not pursue economics and become a banker, I felt I did accomplish something. One cannot say that because I made two films…no…I have a lot of work to do.

Nadia el Fani (1:03:04)
Do not be too modest, be happy about these accomplishments!

Claire Diao (1:03:10)
But one must know how to savour these moments of recognition!

Pocas Poscoal (1:03:21)
Yes, a lot. I have made other documentary films, but not with awards, but with this one [Alda & Maria]. There is a pride, it talks about Angola, and with it there is an Angolan woman in the world that is now talked about. At a festival in Los Angeles it received an award and the response to the film was very powerful. And of course in Angola. I also began directing later. As I stated I was editor. It has only been 10 years, so I do not have a lot of work behind me, but it will come.

Claire Diao (1:08:26)
We have talked about being a woman filmmaker, about solidarity, and now I would like to discuss the part about being a woman filmmaker in Africa. Some of you may have watched in the category New Territories, the film Mère-bi (The Mother of all) by Ousmane William Mbaye about his mother Annette Mbaye d’Erneville, the first professional journalist in Senegal, who was married to a professional man and raised four children. One moment she recounts that she travelled a great deal, produced many stories and her husband demanded that she return to work as a teacher, in other words that she “return to her place.” There was a blow up, and then a divorce. There is a particularity about your work in Africa, even though you may work between France and your respective country, in that there is the expectation that the woman takes care of the household and raise the children. You are also mothers, so the question that I would like to pose: Is family life compatible with a filmmaking career?

Nadia El Fani (1:09:49)
It is totally incompatible, that is clear. We have much more difficulty finding the time than men to do our work. It is much more difficult to leave one’s children to go to work, especially when they are small. I have only one child, a daughter who is now 25 years old. I saw the men who travelled to festivals, conferences, to whatever event. I was able to only do so only once a month. It was very difficult for me and for the men they had no problem to go here and there. My male counterparts had their wives to take care of the children. I definitely know what it is like as I have lived it. My particularity, especially as it relates to Tunisia, is that I am homosexual and the father of my child as well. We have never lived together. And I raised her basically alone. And it is not because he is homosexual that he acts better than other men regarding his child. He was macho, misogynous, he did not cared for her when I was not there. My mother, who is French, came to Tunisia when she retired and helped me a great deal, as well as my entourage of friends— women’s solidarity worked well in that regard, my friends took care of my daughter when needed. I think it is also difficult for the children, but at the same time there is a certain pride to have a mother who works in this field which is rather unique. For a long time my daughter refused to come to watch my films, now it is better. For her these films were the reason that separated her from her mother… And even at home I was cloistered in my office for long periods working on a project. It is a reason for living, not a profession. We are ready to make sacrifices, as are men, and we do it.

Pocas Poscoal (1:13:08)
It is very difficult. I was an editor for a long time, and there are also long working hours. Several times I brought my children to the editing room. There are a lot of guilty feelings also. Even when there was a chance to take a vacation, there is the question of taking the children and finishing the film, when working independently. My husband had a salaried position, hence working everyday. It is very difficult. There are no set hours. When I started working as a filmmaker, my children were a bit older, sixteen, fifteen years old. I could leave them alone and they could take care of themselves, and I could also travel for a few days. When my children were younger it was very difficult to travel. My children are very proud of me. There is no reproach about why I was absent. There is more for me a sense of guilt of not being able to give the maximum time to your children.

Rama Thiaw (1:14:48)
It is a sacrifice. It is not a profession, between quotes, “for a woman”. I think this is a reason why there is less coalescing among women because there is not the time to go to smoke a cigar in the club and talk about the next film. [Laughter in the audience]. Perhaps I was lucky. When I separated from my son’s father when he was two years old, I was still a student. I was used to keeping a charged scheduled, working on the weekend, attending classes, and caring for my son. I was a brave mother! I became disenchanted navigating between Senegal and France, on location and elsewhere, it became difficult to hold it all together. What is not discussed is the precariousness of this work as a woman, with parents from a modest background, without a man, without support. It is more difficult than poverty; between instability and poverty, a choice must be made. An anecdote: a young French woman asked me, “what do you do to live?” and my response, “I don’t really.” She replied, “well my dear you should do as I do, find a man to take care of you!” And I said, “no thank you.”

I was between Paris and Dakar and I made the decision to settle in Dakar to create my production company. I said to my son who was eleven years old—I am very close to my son since I was the one who raised him. I told him that I must leave to work as a filmmaker and that he would go to live with his father, it would be a more stable environment for him. He said it was okay but on the condition that for my next film I would dedicate to him in big letters “to my son Kaiya”. 

Angèle Diabang (1:17:23)
I agree with everyone. It is a thankless job. Rama talked about precariousness, people think that because we travel around the world that we have money. And the men with whom we are in relationships do not necessarily help as they think that because you are in the media, in the press, you have everything you need, that we do not need assistance from them. But no, we had the child together and should give them an education. What is also difficult, I don’t know if you have also had this experience, but the further that we advance in our art, the more we succeed in our work, the more we lose in our relationships with our men. It is as if, I take up too much space in the house. I am not just the woman, I am the one who is seen on television, who is invited to Cannes. And I pay for that. With my ex-husband I was able, nonetheless, to have space in the house, where I could say, “here, this is my environment”…. When entering, knock first, when I want to have dinner with the others I will, if not I will do so alone. If I want to work until six in the morning I will. I need this environment, I need it in order to be me, it is important…I need a space to work, to go to for inspiration. Where I am me, as my person and not that of another.

It is difficult to find the balance of artist/creator, a family life, social life, to go to a wedding and other events during which women socialise together. I am not saying it is not enjoyable but I don’t have the time. I do not have the four hours to attend these events. I am then called a person who is not rooted in her culture. No that is not true. I am very much rooted in my culture it is just that I need solitude, quietness to work, to create, to be with myself, to be inspired, and often our society criticises us for expressing this need for solitude to create. But my 4-year-old son gives me the strength to work. I explain it to him and he understands. He says that when he is older he will go on the plane with me. And so all of the airplanes in the sky are those of his mom. Speaking of solidarity between women, as Nadia says, when I travel he has an entourage of women who takes care of him. And in fact he is able to do more than when I am there closed up in my office or in front of the computer. The house has more women when I am not there, when it is just the two of us. When I am gone, there is the grandmother, the friends, the cousins.

Claire Diao: Thank you to all and to the organisers.

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