L'Institut africain d'éducation cinématographique de Ouagadougou - INAFEC: The Professionalization of Burkinabé Women in Cinema
The training and formation experiences of African women have been fundamental to their cinematic identities, shaped by the pedagogical, methodological and theoretical practices of the myriad spaces that have contributed to their growth and development.
One notable institution was the Institut Africain d'Education Cinématographique (INAFEC), the historic film school at the Université de Ouagadougou located in Burkina Faso where some two hundred students throughout the continent were trained between 1976 and 1987. In our 1997 interview, veteran audiovisual practitioner and professional Aminata Ouedraogo, an alumna of INAFEC, described the versatility of the program and the broad scope of training that prepared the students for a range of careers in the audiovisual world: The core curriculum at INAFEC was multifaceted with a focus on areas such as radio, television, print journalism, scriptwriting, editing, and film production. The curriculum required that the students first learn scriptwriting and editing, and then work with an assistant director before learning to direct. After completing the core curriculum, there was the choice between two divisions, one for those who specialized in cinema; and the other for those specializing in communication. Along with Aminata Ouedraogo, many of these INAFEC cohorts makeup the first generation of Burkinabé women in cinema: Aminata Arby Boly, Valérie Kaboré, Marie Jeanne Kanyala, Suzanne Kourouma-Sanou, Adjaratou Lompo-Dadjoari, Fanta Régina Nacro, Téné Traoré.
Among these alumnae of INAFEC, a blurring of boundaries is observed: hence, a television journalist later produces a documentary or fiction film; a filmmaker subsequently follows a path in radio production or film criticism and print journalism. For instance, Aminata Ouedraogo produced several films and later settled in the area of film organization and administration, notably at the helm of the historic pan-African women’s organization, the Pan-African Union of Women in the Image Industry. Valérie Kaboré has made an important contribution in the area of audiovisual communication and building awareness regarding the significance of girls' education. In 2008, she received the Millennium Development Goal MDG3 Champion Torch for her successful television series “Ina” and her commitment to girls’ education. In addition to her work as director, she founded the media communications company, Média 2000 in 1991. Marie Jeanne Kanyala also a filmmaker, worked on the award-winning films of her compatriot Gaston Kaboré: Zan Boko and Buud Yam, as head film editor. Similarly, Téné Traoré holds a position as editor for the Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina. Suzanne Kourouma-Sanou has also worn multiple hats: script continuity on various film sets, as editor for the National television of Burkina, general treasurer of FEPACI, president of the JCFA (Journées Cinématographiques de la Femme Africaine d’image) and head of the film market, MICA. Fanta Regina Nacro, has been a role model both in her own country and beyond, taking on the myriad tasks of consultant and visual media advisor, and serving as chairwoman of the African Guild of Directors and Producers. She has gained international recognition with her acclaimed film Night of Truth (2004). Adjaratou Lompo-Dadjoari both a director and scriptwriter, has held senior positions at the National Television of Burkina. Her documentary film, “The Amazons of African Cinema” is a tribute to the valiant women who have contributed, over time and through their multifaceted activities, the advancement of African cinema, a fitting visualization of the important contributions that African women have made to the advancement and development of cinema, in Africa and the world as a whole.
Report by Beti Ellerson