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

17 October 2019

Ugandan Eleanor Nabwiso, laureate of the African Focus Award for her film "Bed of Thorns", a film raising consciousness about gender-based violence against women

Ugandan Eleanor Nabwiso, laureate of the African Focus Award at the 2019 London ArtHouse Film Festival for her film "Bed of Thorns", a film raising consciousness about gender-based violence against women.

The film, produced and directed by Eleanor Nabwiso was made with an all-women crew.

"I want to put out more films about gender based violence in detail… The cultural norms in Africa believe that men should beat their wives, to show that they love them, or that a woman is beaten because she is guilty of something… A man beating his wife is wrong, not just in Africa but across the world. The message from this film is: 'don't keep quiet'... We call it 'bedroom matters', if you are fighting with your husband keep it in your bedroom…and when you come out of the bedroom, smile to the world, this is wrong, speak out, tell someone about it. (From BBC interview:


Bed of Thorns follows the story of Stella who is getting married in a few weeks but friends around her know she is being battered by her fiancé and their aim is to stop the wedding from happening. All of her friends are actually undergoing domestic violence from emotional abuse, physical abuse, bullying, and rape.


16 October 2019

Appel à films | Call for entries 2020 : Mis Me Binga Festival International de Films de Femmes | International Women’s Film Festival (Cameroun | Cameroon)

Appel à films | Call for entries 2020
Mis Me Binga Festival International de Films de Femmes | International Women’s Film Festival
(Cameroun | Cameroon)

Mis Me Binga Festival International de Films de Femmes

23-27 Juin | June 2020

Les femmes cinéastes du monde nous devoilent

Women filmmakers of the world unveil the 2020 edition:

Longs-métrages et courts-métrages | Feature and short films

Inscriptions en ligne à | Online applications at :

Envoyez des films avant le | Send films before : 28 février | February 2020

14 October 2019

In Memory of Namibian filmmaker Oshosheni Hiveluah

In Memory of Namibian filmmaker Oshosheni Hiveluah

I have the sad news of the passing of Oshosheni Hiveluah on 09 October 2019. Let us give tribute to her, her work and her contribution to cinema. She will be dearly missed.

I am republishing excerpts of the interview with her on the African Women in Cinema Blog and her report of the 2014 International Images International Film Festival for Women (IIFF), also on the Blog.

Well in terms of growing up, I was born in exile in Angola. Since I was born during the war my perception was for a very long time very militant because of propaganda songs, videos and the lifestyle that I lived. Then I spent part of my childhood in the former GDR and my first cinema experience was so magical and enchanting-I think it was the 1984 film, Neverending Story and I was fascinated with cinemas from that day forth. This was the total opposite of what moving images had been for me before this, so as any child would have, I fell in love and hard. We didn't go to the cinema often but when we did I could not hide my enthusiasm for days ahead. Most of the regular weekly stuff I was exposed to were the TV shows like Batman etc. you know 80's shows-sitcoms, Cosby show, etc., but because we lived in a communist state the shows that were screened had to be in line with communistic ideals and of course all channels were majorly censored. Back in Namibia from 1990 I was exposed to a lot of commercial blockbuster Hollywood films and very few African films which made filmmaking in my eyes appear to be an exclusive and distant thing and for a selective few. Because I always wanted to tell stories however I opted for theatre at the time, because it was open to me to explore. Then I remember seeingSarraounia (Med Hondo, 1986) one evening as a teenager, a film shot in Burkina Faso, and it changed my outlook and perception on African cinema. I then started digging and searching for more foreign films, going to embassies for film screenings and trying to expose myself to films I was not accessing and films that had that heart, that passion that I shared when telling stories. Then I moved to Cape Town to study and I felt like I had arrived, there were alternative theaters (cinema nouveau and Labia) that screened independent films and it was during that time that I was also learning more about filmmaking, work on set, etc.

09 October 2019

Call for Applications Open: Cinematography Workshop for Women from the Horn of Africa (Hargeysa, Somalia) - Deadline 10 November 2019

Call for Applications Open: Cinematography Workshop for Women from the Horn of Africa (Hargeysa, Somalia) - Deadline 10 November 2019  - The Carrot Co.

Send application to:

The major part of storytelling is image composition. The framing, the lights, shades, moods, shapes and camera movement. And that’s why it’s called moving pictures.
As we continuously advocate for the creation of more African stories, we must deliberately include the participation of women in capturing them. In an attempt, we have now open an application call for women/girls who want to learn the art of image composition. To be a camera woman.

By the end of this workshop you will be able to demonstrate technical control over the basic elements of photography, including exposure, lighting and framing. You’ll develop an understanding in capturing moments and the collaboration between the cinematographer and the director. During and after the workshop you will be able to succesfully complete a variety of film projects and managing each project during the pre-production, production and post-production phases.

To apply, please fill in the form here

Application closes on the 10th of November, 2019.

The Art of Visual Storytelling Workshop for Women

Introduction to Camera/Camera Parts
-lightening and exposure
-white balance
-types of shots
-composition techniques
-camera angles
-camera movements

Introduction to Visual Storytelling
-documentary storytelling
-three-act structure
-developing unique stories

-location scouting
-assembling equipment

-previewing rushes

Post production
-assembly for editing
-editing previewing director cut
-working on the final cut

The CARROT Co is an experiential art based organization formed to confront challenges facing the development sector using new media and tools to communicate to a targeted audience. 

The CARROT Co. is a collective of award winning African artists with IT experts, legal practitioners, community mobilisers, high level project managers and pan African activists working in the development sector to transform communication using the ART.

Our aim is to creatively simplify messaging, dignify African lives, and amplify social causes for an impactful and sustainable development. We have all worked, lived and experience several African countries with strength in multiple languages and cultural integration.

Source: Twitter and Facebook

19 September 2019

Amel Guellaty: Black Mamba (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Amel Guellaty 
Black Mamba

Amel Guellaty (Tunisia)
Black Mamba, 2017, 20 min.

African Shorts


For Sarra, a middle-class girl from Tunis, everything seems to be going as her mother planned: she is taking sewing lessons and she is soon to be married to a nice young man. But Sarra is hiding a dangerous plan from which she hopes to escape her current life.

Sarra, jeune fille de la classe moyenne de Tunis, mène, en apparence,  la vie ordinaire que sa mère lui a tracée : elle prend des cours de couture et s’apprête à épouser un gentil garçon. Mais Sarra a d’autres plans inavoués à travers lesquels elle veut échapper à sa vie actuelle.


Amel Guellaty is a Tunisian filmmaker and photographer. Parallel to her work in the cinema, she enrolled in 2014 at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York and began working for several brand names in the fashion industry, her photographs are published in magazines such as Elle France. She made her first personal exhibition "Voyage" in 2013 and participated in several other group exhibitions.

I wanted to write a story with a strong female character. I also have a rather dark aesthetic, violent, dirty.... Being a scriptwriter and director, writing and the image go hand in hand, and one influences the other. I write out my ideas without really knowing where I'm going. When I started writing I did not know how my film would end. I have an idea and then I get information, then I go looking for inspiration to build my characters. I do the work a bit in reverse...

Amel Guellaty est réalisatrice et photographe tunisienne. En parallèle à son travail dans le cinéma, elle s'inscrit en 2014 à L'International Center of Photography (ICP) à New York et commence à travailler pour plusieurs marques dans le milieu de la mode, ses clichés sont publiés dans des magazines tel que "Elle France". Elle réalise sa première exposition personnelle "Voyage" en 2013 et participe à plusieurs autres expositions de groupe.

J’avais envie d’écrire une histoire avec un personnage féminin fort. J’ai aussi une esthétique assez sombre, violente, sale.... Étant scénariste et réalisatrice, l’écriture et l’image vont de pair, et l’un influence l’autre. J’écris au fil de mes idées sans vraiment savoir où je vais. Quand j’ai commencé à écrire je ne savais pas comment finirait mon film. J’ai une idée et ensuite je me renseigne, puis je vais chercher l’inspiration pour construire mes personnages. Je fais le travail un peu à l’envers... 

Image source:

Meryam Joobeur: Brotherhood (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Meryam Joobeur 

Meryam Joobeur (Tunisia-USA-Canada)
Brotherhood, 2018, 25 min.

African Shorts


The film tells the story of Mohamed, an unsentimental shepherd living in rural Tunisia with his wife and two sons, deeply troubled by the return of his eldest son Malik from Syria. The latter, who has returned with a mysterious new wife, is confronted with his father’s disapproval. The tension between father and son intensifies over three days until it reaches a breaking point.

The film raconte l’histoire de Mohamed, un berger endurci vivant en Tunisie rurale avec sa femme et ses deux fils, qui est profondément ébranlé lors du retour de Syrie de son fils ainé Malik. Celui-ci, de retour avec une mystérieuse nouvelle épouse fait face au regard désapprobateur de son père. La tension entre le père et le fils s’intensifie sur trois jours jusqu’a attendre un point de rupture. (Source : Kapitalis)


Meryam Joobeur, a Tunisian-American filmmaker based in Montreal, completed her studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Her first film, Gods, Weeds & Revolutions (2012) explores memory from the perspective of Alzheimer's disease and the Tunisian revolution. She is currently working on her first feature film "Roman Ruins."

Meryam Joobeur est une réalisatrice tunisienne et américaine installée à Montréal; elle est diplômée de la Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Son premier film Gods, Weeds & Revolutions (2012) explore la mémoire à travers la maladie d'Alzheimer et la révolution tunisienne. Elle travaille actuellement sur son premier long métrage "Roman Ruins."

Angèle Diabang: Un air de kora (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Angèle Diabang 
Un air de kora

Angèle Diabang (Senegal)
Un air de kora, 2018, 23 min.

African Shorts


Salma, a veiled Muslim woman, dreams of becoming a kora player. But in her tradition, women do not play this instrument. One day, as she goes to the monastery to retrieve her father’s kora, she is given the opportunity to receive secret kora classes with brother Manuel. This encounter turns into an idyll. In a joyous melancholy, the musical notes become an oasis for this forbidden passion.

Salma, une musulmane voilée, rêve d’être joueuse de Kora. Mais dans sa tradition, une femme ne peut pas jouer de cet instrument. Un jour, alors qu’elle va récupérer la Kora de son père au monastère, un moine lui donne l’opportunité de prendre secrètement des cours avec le frère Manuel. Ce qui devait être un apprentissage se transforme en une idylle. Dans une mélancolie joyeuse, les notes de musique deviennent un oasis pour cette passion interdite.


Angèle Diabang was trained at Media Centre of Dakar (2003), at FEMIS, Paris, and Filmakademy in Germany. In 2005, she directed her debut documentary Mon beau sourire, winning several awards, followed by four others including, Congo, un médecin pour sauver les femmes. Angèle is also the director of Ma coépouse bien-aimée et Un air de kora. She is currently working on a feature film adapted from Mariama Bâ’s novel Une si longue lettre.

Angèle Diabang est formée au Média Centre de Dakar (2003), à la FEMIS à Paris et à la Filmakademie en Allemagne. En 2005, elle réalise son premier documentaire "Mon beau sourire", plusieurs fois primés ; suivi de quatre autres dont "Congo, un médecin pour sauver les femmes". Angèle réalise aussi "Ma coépouse bien-aimée" et "Un air de kora". Actuellement, elle travaille sur un long- métrage adaptée du roman de Mariama Bâ, "Une si longue lettre".

Marwa Zein Oufsaiyed Elkhortoum (Khartoum Offside) Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019

Marwa Zein 
Oufsaiyed Elkhortoum (Khartoum Offside)

Marwa Zein (Sudan-Germany)
Oufsaiyed Elkhortoum (Khartoum Offside), 2019, 75 min.


On the outskirts of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, Sara and her sporty friends dream of one day founding a national football team and taking part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. But there is no state support for women’s football in Sudan and football doesn’t fit the Muslim society’s traditional image of a woman. For some it is even considered an “immoral act”, which under Sharia law is punishable by lashes. The women still message each other to meet up for training, and show off their skills – both with and without their headscarves.
In the footballers’ courageous struggle for self-determination one can already see the revolutionary passion that, shortly after shooting had been wrapped up, led to the toppling of Omar al-Bashir’s decades-old dictatorship, with women also playing a very prominent role. 

A la périphérie de Khartoum, la capitale soudanaise, Sara et une partie de ses amies sont passionnées de sport. Elles rêvent de fonder une équipe nationale de football et de participer à la Coupe du Monde féminine de la FIFA. Mais au Soudan, le football féminin ne bénéficie d’aucune aide de l’Etat et dans une société régit par l’islam, le foot ne fait pas bon ménage avec l’image traditionnelle de la femme. Pour certains, il est même associé à un « comportement immoral » qui, selon la charia, doit être puni par des coups de fouet. Qu’à cela ne tienne ! Les jeunes filles se donnent rendez-vous aussi souvent que possible par téléphone et se retrouvent pour s’entraîner et dribbler habilement avec le ballon, avec ou sans voile. Dans le combat courageux que mènent ces joueuses de football pour l’autodétermination, on sent déjà la passion révolutionnaire qui a conduit, peu de temps après la fin du tournage, au renversement d’Omar el-Béchir, après des décennies de dictature. Dans cette révolution aussi, les femmes ont joué un rôle central.


Sudanese filmmaker and scriptwriter Marwa Zein was born in Saudi Arabia and lived in Cairo, Egypt. After studying chemical engineering for three years, she decided to pursue her passion for film at the High Institute of Cinema in Cairo, graduating with an honorable mention in 2009.

From 2009 to 2014, Marwa Zein has honed her filmmaking skills at diverse talent campuses, master classes and film workshops: Berlin Talent Campus, Durban Talent Campus, film workshops conducted by Haile Gerima at the Luxor African Film Festival and the Silver Docs AFI Documentary workshop, and international master classes with Tom Tykwer, Jihan El Tahri, Threes Ann and Darine Hotait.

Her film Layl, developed at the Cinephilia Screenwriting Lab for Shorts, received an honorable mention in 2014. Her short film A Game was selected at the 2010 Cannes Short film Corner and has won awards at many festivals including: Sao Paolo International Short Film Festival, Michigan Short Film Festival, Avignon International Short Film Festival, Qartaj Short Film Festival, Ismailia International Short Film Festival.

Marwa Zein est née à la Mecque, en Arabie-Saoudite. Elle a vécu et fait ses études au Caire, la capitale égyptienne et réside aujourd’hui en Allemagne. Elle est réalisatrice et fondatrice de la société de production soudanaise ORE Productions à Khartoum. Ses courts-métrages A Game et One Week, Two Days ont été primés dans plus d’une vingtaine de festivals de cinéma. Oufsaiyed Elkhortoum (Khartoum Offside), un documentaire sur des footballeuses au Soudan est son premier long-métrage. Il a été sélectionné dans la catégorie Forum de la Berlinale 2019 et elle vient le présenter personnellement Festival du film africain de Cologne cette année. (Source:


Fatima Matousse: Family in Exile (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Fatima Matousse 
Family in Exile

Fatima Matousse (Morocco | Maroc)
Family in Exile, 2018, 15 min.

African Shorts


Family in Exile is an intimate documentary, set in Morocco, about the conflicts within the filmmaker's family. It is a daughter's quest to understand her father's refusal, over many years, to interact with her and her mother. Through a series of revealing conversations with family members, stories touching on gender tensions, religious beliefs, and parent/child relationships are evoked. It is a personal visual letter of resistance by a daughter to a dictatorial father.

Dans Family in Exile, la réalisatrice essaye de comprendre pourquoi son père, musulman croyant, ne lui parle plus depuis des années, à elle et sa mère, alors qu’il habite juste en-dessous d’elles.


Fatima Matousse is a Moroccan independent filmmaker studying an MFA in Documentary Film at the City College of New York. After spending several years working as a program manager for several Non-Profit Organizations in Morocco, Fatima decided to become a visual storyteller. She obtained the Fulbright Scholarship to travel to New York to pursue her career. Over the past years, Fatima won several grants that allowed her to participate in various training in Turkey, Germany, and the U.S.A. Matousse holds an MA in Cultural and Media Studies from Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah University in Fez which concluded with a thesis titled "Rewriting Her Story Through Documentary films: A Feminist and Postcolonial Approach to Ali Essafi and Dalila Ennadre's Documentaries" where she focused on the history of marginalized women in Morocco. Fatima won the award of Best Cinematography with her film debut "Family in Exile" which chronicles stories within her own family. (Source:

Fatima Matousse est une réalisatrice indépendante marocaine. Elle travaille actuellement à obtenir une maîtrise en cinéma documentaire au City College of New York. 

Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloïsis: Sofia (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloïsis

Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloïsis (Morocco)
Sofia, 2018, 86 min,


Sofia lives with her parents in a modest apartment in Casablanca. While having lunch with her family one day, she is suddenly stricken with violent abdominal pain. Her cousin Kenza, a medical student, is feeling her belly when water starts running down her thighs: Sofia is about to give birth. On the pretext of Sofia having overeaten, the two women head to the hospital. Reluctant at first, the personnel eventually agree to take Sofia in, on the condition that she provide her marriage certificate before the next morning; otherwise they will alert the authorities. After Sofia gives birth, she and Kenza immediately leave the hospital in search of the child's father, launching themselves into a frantic nocturnal quest.

Sofia vit avec ses parents dans un modeste appartement de Casablanca. Alors qu'elle mange avec sa famille, elle est prise d'une violente douleur abdominale. Son cousine Kenza, étudiante en médecine est liquéfiée : Sofia est sur le point d'accoucher. Prétextant que Sofia a trop mangé, les deux femmes foncent à l'hôpital. D'abord dubitatif, le personnel accepte de faire d'hospitaliser Sofia sous réserve qu'elle fournisse son certificat de mariage avant le lendemain matin ; à défaut ils devront alerter les autorités. Après l'accouchement de Sofia, elle et Kenza quittent immédiatement l'hôpital à la recherche du père de l'enfant, se lançant dans une quête nocturne désespérée.


Born in Rabat in Morocco, Meryem Benm'Barek studied Arabic Languages and Civilisations at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris before studying film directing at INSAS in Brussels in 2010; during which she directed five short films, notably Nor in 2013 and Jennah in 2014. Jennah was selected at numerous international film festivals, and was considered for submission for an Academy Award in 2015.
She also created the sound design artwork "How Does it Sound", which has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Sao Paulo Biennale.
Sofia (2018), her first feature film, garnered the Gan Fondation prize and received a grant from the Doha Film Institute.

Née à Rabat au Maroc, Meryem Benm'Barek a étudié l'arabe à l'Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) à Paris avant de rejoindre en 2010 l'INSAS à Bruxelles pour y étudier la réalisation. Elle y a réalisé cinq courts métrages, notamment Nor en 2013 et Jennah en 2014. Ce dernier a été en sélection pour les Oscars 2015 et dans de nombreux festivals internationaux ; c'est son film de fin d'études à l'Institut national supérieur des arts du spectacle (INSAS, Belgique), il a remporté le Grand prix du meilleur court-métrage au festival de Rhode Island (Etats-Unis).
Elle a aussi réalisé une création sonore, "How does it sound", exposée au Victoria & Albert Museum à Londres et à la Biennale de Sao Paulo.
SOFIA (2018) est son premier long métrage, pour lequel elle a notamment été lauréate de la Fondation Gan et du Doha Film Institute. (Source:


Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian: Fig Tree (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian
Fig Tree

Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian (Israel-Ethiopia)
Fig Tree, 2018, 93 min.


Set in 1989 during the Ethiopian civil war, fourteen-year-old Mina, who is Jewish, tries to prevent her Christian boyfriend Eli from being drafted. When she discovers her family’s plans to move to Israel, she devises a plot to save Eli. Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian’s coming–of-age debut film is based on her childhood memories of a civil-war-torn Ethiopia.

Pendant la guerre civile qui déchire l’Ethiopie, la famille de Mina, une adolescente de 14 ans, décide de quitter le pays pour Israël. Mais Mina ne peut se résoudre à quitter son ami Eli dont elle est secrètement amoureuse. Malgré la guerre qui fait rage, Mina fera tout ce qu’elle peut pour sauver l’amour de sa vie avant que ne se termine leur enfance. (Source: Cineuropa)


Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian is an Ethiopian-Israeli film director, born in the village of Awash and raised in Addis Ababa, she immigrated to Israel with her family at the age of 10 years-old. She studied filmmaking at the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School and worked as assistant for the documentarist Ada Ushpiz. Her debut film The Fig Tree, which relates the history of Jewish Ethiopian immigration during the the Ethiopian civil war, is based in part on her own personal experiences.

Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian est une réalisatrice israélo-éthiopienne. Née dans le village éthiopien d’Awash et élevée à Addis Ababa, elle a immigré en Israël avec sa famille à l’âge de 10 ans. Elle suit une formation en cinéma, notamment à l’Ecole Sam Spiegel Film & Television et en tant qu’assistante de la documentariste Ada Ushpiz. Son premier film, Le Figuier raconte l’histoire de l’émigration éthiopienne juive en Israël lors de la guerre civile éthiopienne, reflètant en partie, son expérience personnelle.

IMAGE: Crédit - Menemsha Films

18 September 2019

Lula Ali Ismaïl: Dhalinyaro (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Lula Ali Ismaïl

Lula Ali Ismaïl (Djibouti-Canada)
Dhalinyaro, 2018, 85 min.


Deka, Asma and Hibo, 3 young women (from different socio-economic backgrounds) who take their secondary school graduation exam. And that blazing sun and dust that masks the differences.

Deka, Asma et Hibo, 3 jeunes femmes (issues de milieux socio-économiques différents) qui vont passer le BAC. Et ce soleil de plomb et cette poussière qui masque les différences.


Lula Ali Ismail is a director and screenwriter from Djibouti who lives and works in Canada. Her family emigrated to Montreal in the early 1990s. Interested in the world theatre she enrolled in courses in theatrical art for two years. Though wanting to continue as an actress, she is only offered minor roles in several television series. In 2012, she pursues her interest in cinema from the other side of the camera, as director and screenwriter, creating the 27-minute film Laan.

Lula Ali Ismail est une actrice, scénariste et réalisatrice djiboutienne qui vit et travaille au Canada. Sa famille émigre au début des années 1990 à Montréal. Elle s’intéresse au monde du théâtre, et suit un cours d’art théâtral pendant deux ans. Mais, désirant poursuivre comme comédienne, elle ne se voit proposer ensuite que des rôles mineurs dans plusieurs séries televises. En 2012, elle se lance de l’autre coté de la caméra, comme réalisatrice et scénariste, et crée un court métrage de 27 minutes, intitulé Laan.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Kaouther Ben Hania : Les pastèques du Cheikh (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Kaouther Ben Hania
Les pastèques du Cheikh

Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia-France)
Les pastèques du Cheikh, 2018, 23 min.


In Les pastèques du Cheikh a mocking satirical comedy from Tunisia, an act of piety becomes a respected imam’s downfall thanks to two crafty street kids. A humorous look at this year’s festival theme that explores fundamentalism of all shades in all African countries and the consequences of the conflicts it provokes. (Source:

Dans la comédie Les pastèques du Cheikh un imam respecté en Tunisie se retrouve pris au piège d’un acte de piété à cause de la roublardise de deux garçons de rue. Une approche pleine d’humour sur le thème principal du Festival cette année : les mouvements fondamentalistes, toutes couleurs confondues, dans les pays africains et les conséquences des conflits qu’ils provoquent.


Director, screenwriter, born in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia.

After advanced commercial studies, Kaouther Ben Hania enrolled in the School of Arts and Cinema of Tunis (EDAC) from 2002-2004 during which she made three films including La breche, a short film which garnered several awards.

In 2003, she participated in the feature writing workshop Aristote funded by Euromed. The next year she attended a documentary training at the Fémis (Paris) summer programme before enrolling in the scriptwriting curriculum in 2005.

In 2006, she directed her first professional short film Moi, ma sœur et la chose. She then joined the founding team of the Aljazeera Documentary channel where she worked until 2007. In 2008 she obtained a Master 2 at Paris 3 la Sorbonne nouvelle. The title of her research paper : "Le documenteur : la fiction avec ou contre le documentaire. (tr. The documenteur: fiction with or against the documentary."

In 2010 she made a 75-minute documentary Les imams vont à l'école (The imams go to school) which was a hit on the festival circuit. In 2011 she directed a 120-episode 3D children's television series, broadcast on Aljazeera Children. In 2013, she made a second short film Peau de colle. The Challat of Tunis (2013) was her first feature film. In 2016, Zaineb does not like snow | Zaineb takrahou ethelj won the Golden Tanit (JCC 2016, Tunisia), Best Documentary Award at CINEMED Montpellier (France) and Best Documentary Award at MEDFILM Rome 2016 (Italy). Her second feature film La belle et la meute | Beauty and the Dogs (2017) has won numerous awards. (From the French text: IMAGE:

Réalisatrice, scénariste, née à Sidi Bouzid, en Tunisie.

Après des hautes études commerciales, Kaouther Ben Hania, une fidèle de la Fédération tunisienne des cinéastes amateurs, rejoint entre 2002 et 2004 l'Ecole des Arts et du Cinéma de Tunis (EDAC) où elle réalise trois films d'écoles dont La brèche, un court métrage qui remporte plusieurs prix.
En 2003, elle participe à l'atelier d'écriture de longs métrages Aristote financé par Euromed. Elle suit une formation documentaire à l'université d'été de la Fémis (Paris) en 2004 avant de s'y inscrire en formation continue dans le département scénario en 2005.

En 2006, elle réalise son premier court métrage professionnel "Moi, ma sœur et la chose" puis rejoint l'équipe fondatrice de la chaine Aljazeera Documentaire et y travaille jusqu'à 2007. En 2008 elle obtient un master 2 à Paris 3 la Sorbonne nouvelle. Son mémoire de recherche est sur : "Le documenteur : la fiction avec ou contre le documentaire."

En 2010 elle signe un documentaire de 75 minutes "Les imams vont à l'école" qui rencontre un succès auprès des festivals. En 2011 elle réalise une série télévisuelle en 3D pour enfants de 120 épisodes, diffusée sur Aljazeera Children. En 2013, elle signe un deuxième court métrage "Peau de colle". "Le Challat de Tunis" (2013) est son premier long métrage. En 2016, "Zaineb n'aime pas la neige (Zaineb takrahou ethelj)" remporte le Tanit d'Or (JCC 2016, Tunisie), le Prix du Meilleur documentaire au CINEMED Montpellier (France) et le Prix du Meilleur documentaire au MEDFILM Rome 2016 (Italie).

Son second long métrage "La belle et la meute" (2017) a remporté de nombreux prix.

Yara Costa: Entre eu e Deus | Between God and I (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Yara Costa
Entre eu e Deus | Between God and I

Yara Costa (Mozambique-Portugal)
Entre eu e Deus (Between God and I)
2018, 60 min.


On the island of Mozambique the country’s deep-rooted traditions have long lived in peaceful co-existence with its religions such as Christianity and Islam. But in recent times, evangelical sects and Wahhabi Islamists have started to pose a threat to the island’s multicultural life. Director Yara Costa illustrates this through the film’s main protagonist, a young Muslim woman named Karen. On the one hand, she is an independent feminist who champions equality and fights poverty-related problems in her homeland. On the other hand, she advocates the implementation of Sharia law. Between God and I gives the viewer an intimate look into the life of our protagonist which bristles with doubts and contradictions concerning her identity. Yara Costa aims to explain what happens “when fundamentalist religions – of all kinds – get to places where the state doesn’t reach.” (Source: 

Sur la Ilha de Moçambique, des traditions profondément ancrées dans le pays ont longtemps coexisté avec des religions comme le christianisme et l’islam. Mais aujourd’hui, des sectes évangéliques et des islamistes wahabites menacent la cohabitation multiculturelle. La réalisatrice Yara Costa illustre ceci en prenant l’exemple de la jeune musulmane Karen. Elle apparaît d’un côté comme une féministe indépendante qui s’engage pour l’égalité et tente de trouver des solutions aux problèmes de pauvreté dans son pays. D’un autre côté, elle soutient l’instauration de la charia. Entre dieu et moi offre un aperçu intime de la protagoniste, qui est prise de doutes et de contradictions au sujet de son identité. Yara Costa veut souligner ce qui arrive « lorsque des fondamentalistes de toutes sortes s’imposent dans des domaines négligés par l’État ». (Source:


Yara Costa is a journalist and director from Mozambique. After living in Angola and South Africa and working as a reporter in Brazil, she decided to start making film adaptations of largely unknown African stories as a means of counteracting the negative stereotypes that often dominate western media. In 2009 she received a scholarship on the News & Documentary graduate programme at New York University. In 2011 she shot her first film Why are they here?: Chinese stories in Africa. (Source:

Yara Costa est une journaliste et réalisatrice du Mozambique. Après avoir vécu en Angola et en Afrique du Sud, puis avoir travaillé comme reporter au Brésil, elle a décidé de filmer des histoires inconnues venues d’Afrique pour combattre les stéréotypes négatifs, souvent véhiculés par les médias occidentaux. En 2009, elle décroche une bourse pour faire des études en technique journalistique et documentaire à l’Université de New York. En 2011, elle tourne son premier film Why are they here?: Chinese stories in Africa. (Source:

Naziha Arebi : Freedom Fields (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Naziha Arebi
Freedom Fields

Naziha Arebi (UK-Libya)
Freedom Fields, 2018, 99 min.


Filmed over five years, Freedom Fields follows three women and their football team in post-revolution Libya, as the country descends into civil war and the utopian hopes of the Arab Spring begin to fade. Through the eyes of these accidental activists, we see the reality of a country in transition, where the personal stories of love and aspirations collide with History.
An intimate film about hope, struggle and sacrifice in a land where dreams seem a luxury. A love letter to sisterhood and the power of team. Source:

Tourné sur cinq ans, Freedom Fields suit trois footballeuses et leur équipe dans la Libye post-révolutionnaire, alors que le pays sombre dans la guerre civile et que les espoirs utopiques du Printemps arabe commencent à s’estomper. À travers les yeux de ces militantes inhabituelles, le film nous propose la réalité d’un pays en transition, où les histoires d’amour et d’aspirations personnelles se confrontent à l’Histoire. (Source:


Director Naziha Arebi is a Libyan/British artist and filmmaker who returned to Libya during the revolution to work and explore her father's homeland. Naziha works at the intersection of art and activism and is co-founder of film collective HuNa. Alongside her first feature Freedom Fields she is currently producing the documentary feature "After a Revolution" and has a fiction film in development. Naziha is a Hot Docs Blue Ice fellow and a Sundance Lab fellow, a WEF Global Shaper and part of The Lumiere d'Afrique collective. Her artwork has been published extensively in print and exhibited globally. (Source:

Née en 1984 d’un père libyen et d’une mère anglaise, Naziha Arebi a grandi à Hastings, ville balnéaire du sud de l’Angleterre. Spécialisée dans le théâtre, elle se forme ensuite au cinéma, une passion qui va rapidement devenir son métier.
Après ses études, elle s’en va en Libye afin de mieux connaître la culture de son père. Là-bas, la vie quotidienne va rapidement inspirer son travail de photographe et de réalisatrice. Ses photographies et installations sont alors exposées dans le monde entier, de Tripoli à Paris en passant par Barcelone et Londres.
En 2012, elle cofonde, HuNa Productions, un collectif de cinéastes visant à améliorer et à développer le cinéma libyen en tant qu’outil de changement. Elle a réalisé des courts-métrages sur la réconciliation libyenne et un documentaire sur une militante libyenne assassinée avant d’entamer le tournage de Freedom Fields, son premier long-métrage sorti en 2018. (Source:

17 September 2019

Women at the | Frauen beim | Les Femmes au : Afrika Film Festival Köln - 19. -29 September 2019

Women at the | Frauen beim | Les Femmes au Afrika Film Festival Köln
19. -29 September 2019

Fundamentalismus & Migration
Fundamentalism and Migration
Fundamentalisme et Migration

Hawa Essuman (Kenya), 2019 Festival patron:
There’s a rediscovery of heritage on the continent and with that comes a shift in the relationship with Africa and Europe although not in a way that either side considered. Navigating this new space is delicate. A lot of thought is being given to what this looks like and what the ramifications are when put in the perspective of the shared histories that were never balanced. Is it now, despite the verbal will?

Fatima Sissani (Tunisia) : Cinema that reflects political history
Gastbeitrag | Guest Contribution | Contribution d’invitée 

Fibby Kioria (Uganda/Kenya)
Short film selection and discussion


Dhalinyaro, 2018, 85 min.

Oufsaiyed Elkhortoum (Khartoum Offside), 2019, 75 min.

Sofia, 2018, 86 min,

Fig Tree, 2018, 93 min.

Freedom Fields, 2018, 99 min.

Entre eu e Deus (Between God and I), 2018, 60 min.

Les pastèques du Cheikh, 2018, 23 min.


Brotherhood, 2018, 25 min.

Family in Exile, 2018, 15 min.

Un air de kora, 2018, 23 min.

Black Mamba, 2017, 20 min.

14 September 2019

Festival International du Film de Femmes de Salé | International Women’s Film Festival of Salé - Edition 13, 2019 - Maroc | Morocco

Festival International du Film de Femmes de Salé
International Women’s Film Festival of Salé
Edition 13, 2019 - Maroc | Morocco
16-21 Septembre | September 2019


- Une compétition officielle de longs métrages de fiction | Official competition of feature films
- Une compétition officielle documentaire | Official documentary competition
- Regard sur le court métrage marocain | Focus on the Moroccan short film
- Regard sur le long métrage marocain | Focus on the Moroccan feature film
- Classiques du cinéma africain et arabe au féminin | African and Arab cinema classics by women
- Hommage au cinéma Tunisien, invité d'honneur du festival | Tribute to Tunisian cinema, the guest of honour of the festival
- Séminaire sur le thème "la femme dans le cinéma maghrébin et arabe" | Seminar on "Women in Maghreb and Arab Cinema"
- Dialogue de cinéastes (entre le cinéaste Ahmed Boulane et l'actrice espagnole Esther Regina) | Dialogue of Filmmakers (between filmmaker Ahmed Boulane and Spanish actress Esther Regina)
- Présentation d'ouvrages en relation avec la femme | Presentation of literary works related to women
- Master Class de la réalisatrice libanaise Heiny Srour | Master Class by Lebanese director Heiny Srour
- Atelier de formation autour des "enjeux de l'éducation à l'image" | Training workshop on the "challenges of visual image education"
- Atelier d'initiation à l'écriture filmique (un cinéaste / une séquence)| Initiation workshop on scriptwriting (a filmmaker / a sequence)
- Séminaire régional "Pour une égalité des femmes au sein de l'industrie de l'audiovisuelle et du film dans la région Maghreb - Machreq" | Regional seminar: "For women's equality in the audiovisual and film industry in the Maghreb - Machreq region".


Compétition Fiction
Les coups du destin by/de Mohammed Lyounsi, Maroc | Morocco, 2018
A first farewell by/de Lina Wong, Chine, 2018
Crystal swan by/de Darya Zhuk, Biélorussie, Allemagne | Germany, USA, Russie, 2018
Her job by/de Nikos Labôt, Grèce, France, Serbie, 2018
Jessica forever by/de Caroline Poggi & Jonathan Vinel, France, 2018
Une colonie by/de Geneviève Dulude-De Celles, Canada, 2019
Staff only by/de Neus Ballús, Espagne | Spain, France, 2019
Flesh out by/de Michela Occhipinti, Italie, 2019
The ground beneath my feet by/de Marie Kreutzer, Autriche | Austria, 2019
Take me somewhere nice by/de Ena Sendijarevid, Pays-Bas | Netherlands, Bosnie-Herzégovine, 2018
Dieu existe, son nom est Petrunya by/de Teona Strugar Mitevska, République de macédoine du nord, Belgique, Slovénie, France, Croatie, 2018
Ceniza negra by/de Sofía Quirós Ubeda, Costa Rica, Argentine, Chili, France, 2019

Compétition documentaire | documentary
In search by/de Beryl Magoko, Kenya, Allemagne | Germany, 2018
Le loup d'or de balolé by/de Chloé Aïcha Boro, Burkina Faso, France, 2019
Off sides by/de R. Kohoutova & T. Bojar, République Tchèque, 2019
Tiny souls by/de Dina Naser, Jordanie, 2019
Xalko by/de Sami Mermer & Hind Benchekroun, Canada, 2018

Compétition Jeune public (longs métrages) | (feature films)
Kilikis la cite des hiboux by/de Azlarabe Alaoui, Maroc, 2018
Taxi bied by/de Moncef Malzi, Maroc, 2018
Le grand petit miloudi, une échappée d'antan by/de Leila El Amine Demnati, Maroc, 2018
Les voix du désert by/de Daoud Aoulad-Syad, Maroc, 2018
Le silence des papillons by/de Hamid Basket, Maroc, 2018

Compétition Jeune public (courts métrages) | Short films
Ce n'est pas fini by/de Ilhame El Alami, Maroc, 2018
Eclipse by/de Karima Moukharij, Maroc, 2018
Les 400 pages by/de Ghizlane Assif, Maroc, 2018
La fille du vent by/de Latefa Ahrrare, Maroc, 2018
N'avoue jamais by/de Zakia Tahiri, Maroc, 2018
Un mot by/de Mia L, Maroc, 2018


Mouna Fettou, Actrice | Actress, Maroc | Morocco
Oumou Sy, Costumière | Costume designer, Sénégal
Dora Bouchoucha, Productrice | Producer, Tunisie | Tunisia
Majdouline Idrissi, Actrice | Actress, Maroc | Morocco


Jury de la Compétition officielle fiction | Fiction
Présidente : Marion Hänsel, Réalisatrice et productrice | Filmmaker and producer, Belgique | Belgium
Membres :
- Chantal Richard, Réalisatrice, scénariste et actrice | Filmmaker, screenwriter and actress, France
- Fatou Kiné Sène, Journaliste et critique de cinéma | Journalist and film critic, Sénégal
- Dina El Sherbiny, Actrice | Actress, Egypte
- Amal Ayouch, Actrice | Actress, Maroc | Morocco
- Fleur Knopperts, Productrice | Producer, Pays-Bas | Netherlands
- Sonia Chamkhi, Réalisatrice, écrivaine | Filmmaker, writer, Tunisie | Tunisia

Jury de la Compétition documentaires | Documentaries
Présidente : Leïla Kilani, Réalisatrice, scénariste et productrice | Filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, Maroc | Morocco
Membres :
- Monika Grassl, Réalisatrice | Filmmaker, Autriche | Austria
- Bintou Diarra, Réalisatrice et scénariste | Filmmaker and screenwriter, Côte d'Ivoire

Jury jeune public
- Asmae El Moudir, Réalisatrice et productrice | Filmmaker and producer, Maroc | Morocco
- Aïda Senna, Réalisatrice | Filmmaker, Maroc | Morocco
- Yasmine Sayagh, Réalisatrice et productrice | Filmmaker and producer, Maroc | Morocco

13 September 2019

International Women's Film Festival of Cotonou | Festival International des Films de Femmes de Cotonou, Benin 2019 : "When cinema addresses violence against women" - "Quand le cinéma aborde les violences faites aux femmes"

First | Première Edition
Festival International des Films de Femmes de Cotonou
International Women's Film Festival of Cotonou
Benin 2019

The first edition of the International Women's Film Festival dedicated to women takes place in Cotonou from 13 to 17 September | Le premier Festival International de Films de Femmes aura lieu du 13 au 17 septembre à Cotonou, au Bénin

Organized by the Association "ÉcranBénin" and initiated by Beninese director and blogger Cornélia Glèlè, the International Women's Film Festival of Cotonou aims to highlight and promote the works of African women filmmakers | Organisé par l’Association “ÉcranBénin", dont l’initiatrice est Cornélia Glèlè, journaliste audiovisuel et blogueuse, le Festival International des Films de Femmes de Cotonou ( FIFF Cotonou ) vise essentiellement à valoriser et à promouvoir les œuvres des femmes cinéastes d’Afrique. 

Theme: "When cinema addresses violence against women" | “Quand le cinéma aborde les violences faites aux femmes”

Patron of the first edition | la marraine de la 1ère édition :  Producer and director Akissi Delta of Côte d'Ivoire | Ivoirienne Akissi Delta, actrice, réalisatrice et productrice.


13 September | Septembre
10h-12h: Screening of films in competition | Projection de films en compétition  (Center artisttik Africa)
19h30 -21h30: Opening ceremony | Cérémonie d’ouverture (Canal Olympia)

14 September | Septembre
10h-12h: Master class by/par Akissi Delta on the profession of producer | sur le métier de productrice (Vivendi Village)
1 8h20h: Evening of the festival patron | Soirée de la marraine  (Canal Olympia)

15 September | Septembre
10h-12h: Master Class  by/par Carole Lokossou on violence against women in cinema | sur les violences faites aux femmes dans le cinéma (Vivendi Village)
18h-20h: Screening of films in competition | Projection de films en compétition

16 September | Septembre
Festival tourist visit of Ouidah | Visite touristique des festivaliers à Ouidah

17 September | Septembre
19h30-21h30: Closing Ceremony |  Cérémonie de clôture (Canal Olympia)


12 September 2019

Afrika Film Festival Köln - 19 - 29 September 2019 - Fokus: Fundamentalismus & Migration

Afrika Film Festival Köln - 19 - 29 September 2019



Theme: Fundamentalism and Migration
Hawa Essuman, 2019 Festival patron:
 "There’s a rediscovery of heritage on the continent and with that comes a shift in the relationship with Africa and Europe although not in a way that either side considered. Navigating this new space is delicate. A lot of thought is being given to what this looks like and what the ramifications are when put in the perspective of the shared histories that were never balanced. Is it now, despite the verbal will?"

The 17th Afrika Film Festival Köln: 75 films and 30 guests from 23 African countries and the diaspora. Ouagadougou, Tunis, Durban, Zanzibar, Tarifa, Rotterdam and Berlin – those are the international festivals that FilmInitiativ employees attended to compile the selection of films for Cologne. Along the way they discovered new masterpieces by old friends, and invited a number of young up-and-coming filmmakers to Cologne. Then there was all the online research done all over the world and the countless films that were personally submitted to FilmInitiativ by African directors. From this huge pool of material they watched hundreds of films, and 75 features, documentaries and shorts from 23 African countries, Brazil, the US and Europe made the final selection. The programme not only gives a geographical overview of where films are currently being made across Africa, but also the kind of subject matter being tackled in Africa and the diaspora. Engaged independent filmmakers and writers continue to shape the African cinematic landscape with ambitious films that uncover hidden (hi)stories, rail against social grievances, reflect urban life and document exciting artistic activity. What’s striking is how imaginative, brave and radical filmmakers in Africa are when it comes to addressing fundamentalist movements of all shades.

24 August 2019

Joyce Jenje-Makwenda - Women in Film and Television in Zimbabwe: Modern Storytellers

Joyce Jenje-Makwenda - Women in Film and Television in Zimbabwe: Modern Storytellers

Joyce Jenje-Makwenda talks about her evolution as an oral-visual storyteller and how it has prepared her for the research on her forthcoming book, Women in Film and Television in Zimbabwe: Modern Storytellers.

Interview with Joyce Jenje-Makwenda by Beti Ellerson (June 2019)

Joyce, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Actually, flashback 50 years ago I would have said, “I want to be an actor and singer when I grow up.” That is what I wanted to be despite growing up in the township, where black people lived because of race relations in Zimbabwe, which divided people according to race/colour. I really don’t know how I imagined I could be an actor and a singer growing up in a place where there were no opportunities, since basic things, like education, were a struggle. But I wanted to be an actor, I guess as they say, artists are chosen, so I was chosen to do what I am doing when I came into this world! However I had to travel a certain path, which sort of took me away from what I can call active cinema for a while. Maybe to explain this let me chronicle the road I have travelled to where I am regarding cinema.

In the late 70’s I was a member of a theatre group in Mbare and we made the production, “Poor Chaminuka”, about the Prophet Chaminuka who had prophesied that the country Zimbabwe would be invaded by the white people. Since it was produced at the height of the war in 1979, we considered adapting it as a film but did not have the resources. Independence came the next year and while I was celebrating independence I became a fulltime mother, but the germ kept biting. In 1984 when I was expecting my fourth child I decided to do research on our early popular music, at first it was seen as ‘what pregnant women do, they do crazy things.’ When I gave birth I continued and then people saw that I was serious. What I wanted to do, quite simply, was to document the history of our popular music, which originated in the townships.

My paternal grandparents, who were among the early urban settlers, came into the city in 1931 and witnessed how the music unfolded. My father used to tell me about his music, comparing it to the music of my generation: rock, pop and soul. He was really worried when he heard me listening to rock, which was seen as radical music; rock culture was viewed as changing the status quo: everything from education, fashion, religion. I think he tried to neutralise my music with his own, which was also influenced by jazz music. I remember him talking about how they would sit and listen to “good music” and how they would dress properly for the occasion; here he was comparing my rock style dressing with his. Jazz was/is seen as music for the sophisticates and to him my rock culture dressing was to be corrected. Township jazz was associated mostly with the middle class and, by township standards my parents and grandparents were in that category. To them, rock culture was misplaced. One day as I was going to a bioscope (movie theatre), dressed in hippy fashion—in a top which left my stomach bare, in a mini-skirt in which I could hardly bend, platform shoes, an afro—my father asked me whether I had finished dressing, and it was then that he would compare their time and ours: the teenagers of the 70’s rock era. 

However my parents did encouraged me to sing, especially when they heard my renditions of Diana Ross, who became my idol; and was also one of the few African American women actors in the 70’s. I also liked her as an actor and imagined that I could act just like her—and be both a singer and actor.

Anyway, returning to my conversations with my father in the 70’s, every time that I was going somewhere and I wanted to ask for money, I would say to him, ‘tell me about your music’ and he would say, ‘you want some money, here is the money,’ Sometimes he would tell me about his music, sometimes he would do so with his brother, and other times with my mother. I didn’t realise that all these stories were being stored in my mind, and that I would later offload the file. It is the conversations that I had with my father that made me want to understand the history of our popular music. I did not know that the research that I had started was going to be a lifetime project and it was through music that I came to understand the world. It was through music that I became the first female independent film/television documentary producer.

In fact, your experiences are indicative of many African women cultural producers, who wear many hats, who are themselves artists, who draw from their own artistic experiences to disseminate this cultural knowledge and validate it through archiving and documenting, notably using the medium of film. What drove you to continue what has become a lifetime project?

When I started the research on township music I was a homemaker who was into fashion designing, doing very well with my dress designing business. When the calling to conduct research into township music grew strong I had to stop dress design. Embarking on the research on township music needed some money, so I resorted to making some samosas in order to fund my research. Then institutions and individuals got interested in what I was doing and invited me to talk about my research, though I regarded it at the time as a hobby. I would tell them that collection of my township music was just a hobby, but they would say that I was the only person doing this research and it would be good to talk about it.

I was invited to universities, conferences, embassies, cultural spaces, but my big first break came when I was invited in Sweden at the Audio Visual Archives. By then I had collected music from the 1930's and films from the 1940's, my presentation garnered a great deal of attention and the conference organisers asked me who was funding my research. When I replied that I made samosas to fund it, they looked at each other in disbelief, replying ‘you don’t fund such a project with samosas!’ They then advised me to go to the Nordic embassies of Sweden, Finland and Norway; the latter in fact, provided me the funding to complete my research.

After completing the research they asked me what I wanted to do with the findings. I said that I wanted to write a book and then make a documentary; they suggested that I start with a documentary because of the films, music and interviews that had already been collected. I told them that because I had never made a film, I would first need to know the process. They had already read my newspaper articles, and suggested that these documents could actually serve as the script. The women at the Norwegian Embassy were especially supportive, accompanying me to outlets where I could hire equipment. With the support of the Norwegian embassy, the film, journalism community in Zimbabwe and my family I became the producer/director of the documentary, Zimbabwe Township Music, which launched me into my role as filmmaker. The documentary got very good reviews and yet it was my very first time to produce and direct a documentary.

Well this is common among many women who use filmmaking as a means to document their stories, many having never made a film before, nor had training in filmmaking. How did your foray into film production evolve? 

In fact, I was not familiar with the lexicon of film terms; I have always said that I simply used my kitchen language. I would say to the cameraperson I want that person to be big, or small, or make them move whichever way I wanted. I did not know the terms: wide shot, medium shot, high angle, all this jargon, I did not have it, I was lucky that the cameraperson I worked with was very accommodating. However some camerapersons that I worked with later, would ask, ‘what is this women saying?’ and I would tell them that if you do not understand what this woman is saying then please leave. This made me realise why women have not always felt comfortable in the role of film producer and director, it is because of this jargon, and yet women are the greatest storytellers. I said to myself, ‘this jargon will not stop me from telling my story.’ I came to understand why many women were apprehensive regarding modern ways of storytelling because of this kind of intimidation, which I could not tolerate, because I wanted to tell my story just like how my grandmother told stories; technology and rude technical people were not going to deter me.

My documentaries have won awards, starting with the Zimbabwe Township Music Award. The day it was aired on Zimbabwe Television, on 26 December 1992, people called asking to speak to me, people left letters and some left money in my letterbox to congratulate me. I got very good reviews from the media. I became a producer, director, among other positions, over night, and because of its success, I was invited to talk at a variety of institutions. Today I have produced a number of documentaries and I am in the process of editing about 30 documentaries that I have been filming for some time. 

The “Joyce Jenje Archives” is an important contribution to the cultural production of Zimbabwe, especially as it demonstrates the ability to create structures to access information and knowledge. How did this initiative come about? What are its goals and objectives?

The project was concretised when I had amassed and collected a lot of interviews and artefacts over the past 35 years. As I stated before, when I was going about carrying out interviews I did not know that I was creating an archive. The work needed to be housed in its own space and not in my house as it had grown to be an institution and it needed its own place; that is when the idea of an archive came into place. I decided to have this in my two-bedroom cottage, which is now a three-room space as I have added another room. The archive consists of interviews in audio and video, there are photos of some of the interviewees, and their stories go as far back as the 1930’s. The research is on music, politics, women’s histories, sex and sexuality and more. Some of the artefacts that I have collected are typewriters from the 1930’s to 2000, LP’s--about 7,000, radios and gramophone, black and white televisions, I have also donated my very first car to the archives/museum. There is also a room dedicated to the Mattaka Family and Township Jazz, the Mattaka Family deposited instruments dating as far back as the 1930’s – guitars, typewriters, and more. The archives/museum has given an opportunity for people from all walks of life to understand where they have come from.

You have stated: “Film is one of the arts disciplines that women use as a way of communicating their artistic expressions and also as a tool for change.” What are your observations, especially as it relates to Zimbabwe.

Women were the custodians of our culture in Pasichigare/Endulo, the precolonial era; they educated, informed and entertained children, the family and the community through storytelling. Presently, one of the modern ways of storytelling is through film, and women are using it as a tool for change and also to chart their own path. I alluded to this above when describing my own journey. Film just like any of the arts disciplines it is a tool used by women to express themselves; film is the mother of arts disciplines because everything is found in film: music, acting, fashion, you name it, film becomes the best vehicle for women to express themselves. In Pasichigare/Endulo women would also mix the story with a song, as a way to celebrate, to express their pain and concerns, and as a means to find a solution.

Traditionally, women were in a powerful position in society, they had their space, which allowed them to do this and issues affecting them would be discussed. Today women have managed to express this through film, as they deal with contemporary cultural, social and political issues. In addition to working in acting roles, women are now producers and directors; they own the means of production and call the shots rather than being told what to do. Holding positions of influence in film has made it possible for women to do what women in Pasichigare/Endulo used to do, women today have created their own spaces and this has given them a stronger voice.

You are currently completing a book on the subject of Zimbabwean women in cinema, Women in Film and Television in Zimbabwe: Modern Storytellers. Could you talk a bit about the contents?

My book shares women’s stories, women talking about their experience in film. I have interviewed about 60 women dating from the 1950’s to the present. 

The book is organised into eight chapters. In Chapter 1, the introduction, I explain film and the context that Zimbabwean women practice it, and looking at different eras since the 1950s, how they have evolved in film. Chapter 2 explores pre-colonial and modern day storytelling. Chapter 3 examines the transition from film to television. Chapter 4 focuses on independent producers. Chapter 5 presents biographies of women in film and television, outlined chronologically, 60 women are featured. The focus on Chapter 6 is film education. Chapter 7 is devoted to fundraising and Chapter 8 on women’s film organisations.

I have observed a very active and powerful oral-visual grassroots movement among women in Zimbabwe. Would you agree with my assessment? I say this in the sense that while there is not an international media focus on the oral-visual culture of Zimbabwe, it is active, present and very much alive.

In Zimbabwe almost every person is an artist and as I have already mentioned, women are custodians of our society and hence as cultural producers they are problem solvers. They work on solutions for themselves and for their communities. 

Some reflections on the role you play as cultural producer…

Because I am interested in culture, my role as cultural producer is to record, preserve and disseminate our culture in a dynamic way using all forms of documentation and storytelling. Having worn many hats in the media and in the arts definitely makes my role as cultural producer especially meaningful.