International Images Film Festival
Marie Madeleine: A Female Chief (2018)
A woman is to be enthroned as chief in Nkol Ngock I, a small village in Cameroon. This is a rare occurrence in most African societies where the position of chief is customarily handed down from father to son. This documentary presents a rare glimpse into a community undergoing change. Social attitudes towards gender equality are changing, as men openly acknowledge and speak about the importance of women in development. One man says "women are doing more to encourage development than men. I believe a female chief will bring new things."
Even though some villagers consider Marie-Madeleine a 'stranger' because she lives in the capital city of Yaoundé, she is determined to learn about her culture and integrate into village life.
As Marie-Madeleine beats the real African drum on her enthronement day, the gentle sounds signal a break with tradition. It is the dawn of a new era in the village of Nkol Ngock I; a Woman will be their traditional leader. Residents are optimistic that she will bring much needed development to the village.
Florence Ayisi is Professor of International Documentary Film. She teaches film history, theory, creative documentary film practice, transnational cinemas, cultural representations. She is also an award winning documentary filmmaker, presenting rare insights and affirmative aspects of African people and their culture from a Woman-centred and Pan-African perspective. She has made films in Cameroon and Tanzania, including films such as Sisters in Law (co-directed with Kim Longinotto, 2005), Zanzibar Soccer Queens (2007), Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (co-directed with Catalin Brylla, 2016). Her films have won numerous prestigious film awards including PRIX ART ET ESSAI at Cannes film festival; Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Issue; Audience Award at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA); and Peabody Award in USA.
Florence Ayisi has taught film and media studies at several Higher Education institutions (HEIs) in the U.K. for over 20 years, including University of Sunderland, Coventry University, University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport.