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

16 October 2020

Reel Sisters 2020 : Love + Activism - Virtual Film Festival and Lecture Series

Reel Sisters 2020 : Love + Activism
Virtual Film Festival and Lecture Series
24-25 October through 17 November 2020

90+ outstanding films by women of color !
Twitter: @reelsisters


Reel Sisters is proud to celebrate our 23rd Anniversary film festival in 2020!

We are planning another season of insightful, compelling and provocative storytelling by women of color from across the globe!

Please take the time to join our filmmaking community by spreading the word about our kick off dates on Oct. 24-25, 2020! Sign up for our newsletter to get updates, news on film and arts and our season schedule of films!

Women in Focus (Online) : Africa in Motion 2020

Women in Focus (Online) : Africa in Motion 2020


Presenting the Africa in Motion 2020 "Women In Focus" strand! We continue to draw attention to the artistic expression of African and diaspora womxn image-makers. Expect a range of sincere portraits of female strength and resilience. 30 Oct-29 Nov ONLINE

07 October 2020

BOOK: Etats et cinema en Afriques francophones: Pourquoi un désert cinématographique ? (The State and cinema in francophone Africa: Why is there a cinema desert?)

Etats et cinema en Afriques francophones: Pourquoi un désert cinématographique ? (The State and cinema in francophone Africa: Why is there a cinema desert?) - French language book

Coordonné par | Coordinated by CLAUDE FOREST
University professor of cinema studies | Professeur des Universités en études cinématographiques
Paris: Editions Harmattan - Images plurielles
Date de publication: 22 septembre 2020

Editions Harmattan

In 2020, out of the twenty or so countries related to this study, more than half have at most one cinema theater in operation, and very few are able to regularly produce and distribute, not even one film per year. The production, distribution, exhibition of films, as well as technical industries, have existed only in a minority of these countries. In an attempt to understand this phenomenon, eighteen authors of fifteen different nationalities retrace its history and progress since 1960, laying out benchmarks on this little-addressed issue as it relates to the role of francophone African states vis-à-vis their national film industry. (Description translated from French)


En 2020, sur la vingtaine de pays concer- nés, plus de la moitié ne possèdent au plus qu’une seule salle de cinéma en activité, et rares sont ceux qui arrivent à produire et distribuer régulièrement ne serait-ce qu’un film par an. Production, distribution, exploitation des films, mais aussi industries techniques n’ont jamais existé que dans une minorité de ces pays. Pour tenter de comprendre le phénomène, dix-huit au- teurs de quinze nationalités différentes en retracent l’histoire et les cheminements depuis 1960, posant des jalons sur cette question peu traitée du rôle des États afri- cains francophones vis-à-vis de leur filière cinématographique nationale. 


Chapitre liminaire :
Quel(s) État(s) en Afriques francophones ?
Claude Forest

Chapitre I : D’Est au Sud, les États font leur cinéma
Gabrielle Chomentowski
Chapitre II : La Guinée
Odile Goerg
Chapitre III : La Tunisie
Noura Nefzi
Chapitre IV : L’Algérie
Nesrine Sadoun
Chapitre V : Le Bénin
Arcade Assogba
Chapitre VI : La République du Congo
Joseph Armando Soba

Chapitre VII : Le rôle de l’État français dans le cinéma en Afriques francophones
Claude Forest
Chapitre VIII : Le Maroc
Boubker Hihi
Chapitre IX : Le Burkina Faso
Evariste Dakouré
Chapitre X : Le Sénégal
Delphe Kifouani
Chapitre XI : La Côte d’Ivoire
Othniel Go
Chapitre XII : Le Cameroun
Calvin Boris Yadia

Chapitre XIII : Le Niger
Youssoufa Halidou Harouna et Candide Achille Ayayi Kouawo
Chapitre XIV : Le Tchad
Patrick Ndiltah
Chapitre XV : La Centrafrique
Raluca Calin
Chapitre XVI : Le Togo
Komi Ati
Chapitre XVII : La République démocratique du Congo
Daddy Dibinga Kalamba

Dates clef des États pour le cinéma
Les auteurs

06 October 2020

URUSARO International Women Film Festival (Rwanda) 5th Edition 2020 - Theme: Cinema, Tool for Development

URUSARO International Women Film Festival
5th Edition 2020
Theme: Cinema, Tool for Development

URUSARO International Women Film Festival is an annual celebration and cultural exhibition that promotes women in cinema for the benefit of the society and gender equality. It was created and is managed by CinéFEMMES RWANDA.

Dates: 4-11 October 2020

8 October - Management and Investment in cinema
09 October -  Local Film Market
10 October - Creativity in the Film Industry
11 October -  Cinema, Copyright and Development

28 September 2020

SHE LEADS AFRICA calling all female filmmakers: Applications close on October 5, 2020

calling all female filmmakers

Calling all female filmmakers! She Leads Africa is looking to showcase short films - of any genre (documentary, fictional, animated, etc.) - from Black female producers and directors as part of their upcoming digital festival set to take place on November 28, 2020. 

Films should be:
- Produced by a black female producer or director
- Below 15 mins
- In English or has English subtitles

Applications close on October 5. Apply here

22 September 2020

African Women Filmmakers Hub invitation to apply for the Trojan Horse Was a Unicorn THU Career Camp



African Women Filmmakers, here's a big opportunity to attend the THU Career Camp digitally, brought to you by the African Women Filmmakers Hub. THU is a Portuguese company looking to diversify all areas of digital entertainment creation.


Invites you to apply for


TROJAN HORSE WAS A UNICORN (THU) empowers creators from every area of the digital entertainment industry. This year the focus is on Africa with an exciting invitation to African women digital entertainment creators through the AFRICAN WOMEN FILMMAKERS HUB (AWFH) to participate at the annual THU Career Camp.

To be eligible, you must be early in your career, or have come to a stagnant point in your career and be in red of a breakthrough opportunity. There is no age limit!

Dates for the THU Career Camp are November 11, 12, 13 2020

Opportunities at the Career Camp include:
- career guidance with professionals from international companies
- mentoring
- membership of the THU Tribe, including international companies, for one with further networking opportunities
- job opportunities

If you are involved in gaming, content (film & TV), animation, technical services, visual effects, or any other area of digital entertainment
Apply with your two page profile including the information:
1. Name
2. Age
3. Years of professional experience
4. Current occupation
5. Training
6. Work experience
7. Portfolio or links of you work (if you have one. You may apply without it if you do not)
8. One paragraph about your motivation to be part of the THU Career Camp.
9. Three areas you would like to be mentored in or receive guidance in.

Send a cover email with your profile as a .docx or .pdf attachment (if you have a portfolio, this should be sent in a separate .pdf file)


by: 1800CAT, Monday 28 October.

with: THU Career Camp and your name in the subject (e.g. THU Career Camp Zama Moyo)

Only successful candidates will be notified.

Report on the Launch of African Women Filmmakers Hub (Harare, Zimbabwe)

16 September 2020

Maïmouna Doucouré talks about her film Mignonnes | Cuties (2020)

Maïmouna Doucouré talks about her film Mignonnes | Cuties

Mignonnes (its English title Cuties) by Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré, premiered at the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section of the Sundance Film Festival in 2020, winning the Directing Award.

Eleven-year-old pre-teen Amy discovers in her new elementary school a group of dancers called: “Les Mignonnes”. Fascinated, she begins a sexy dance, the twerk, hoping to join their band and escape a family upheaval.

The U.S-generated controversy around the film moved the filmmaker to proactively counter the whirl of rightwing untruths and conspiracy-theories by people who have not seen the film, describing it as inciting child pornography and pedophilia. Already on the screens in France since August with no fanfare, it is set to be released in the United States by Netflix in September, against a campaign to remove the film from its streaming service.

The U.S.-made controversy was self-induced by Netflix itself, choosing to promote the U.S. release with a poster, very different from the French one, of the young protagonists scantily-clothed in sexually provocative poses.

One of her discussions of the film and why she made it appears in the Washington Post Opinions section. She introduces it by talking about what triggered her interest in the subject.

I was at a community event in Paris a few years ago when a group of young girls came on the stage dressed and dancing in a very risque way. They were only 11 years old, and their performance was shocking. Curious to understand what was happening on that platform, I spent the next year and a half interviewing more than a hundred 10- and 11-year-old girls across the city.

The result was my movie "Mignonnes," or "Cuties" in English. I wanted to make a film in the hope of starting a conversation about the sexualization of children.

Follow the link to the the entire text: 

ALSO SEE: Why I made cuties. Interview with Maïmouna Doucouré

08 September 2020

16th Mobile Film Festival (2020) : Women's Empowerment

16th Mobile Film Festival (2020) :
Women's Empowerment


We are launching the call for films for the 16th Mobile Film Festival, whose theme this year is Women's Empowerment

Through this feminist theme, it is the point of view of women on women and female directors that we wish to support.

Our format is pretty unique 1 Mobile, 1 Minute, 1 Film and the call for films is open until October 20, 2020.

We are supported this year by UN Women, YouTube, BNP Paribas, the Women's Forum, Simone Media and Sens Critique and many NGOs around the world.

The jury chaired by the famous French director Agnès Jaoui, will award 7 prizes, among them 2 grants to produce film of 23.000 $ each.

Through this edition, we are looking for committed and militant films.

Here are our social accounts in English.

Léa Bouchier Di Benedetto
Communication Assistant
Mobile Film Festival 

07 September 2020

Durban FilmMart Virtual Edition 2020 : "Africa's Future is Female - Women Filmmakers on Centring Women in our Narratives"

Durban FilmMart Virtual Edition 2020

7 September 2020 Durban FilmMart South Africa discussion:

"Africa's Future is Female - Women Filmmakers on Centring Women in our Narratives" 

Busi Ntintili, Lala Tuku, Gugu Zuma-Ncube

The discussion is paired with two "hangout sessions":

 - SWIFT - Sisters Working in Film and Television: addressing structural inequality in Africa's audiovisual sector

 - Ladima Foundation: building a safer industry

04 September 2020

Writer and producer Awa Farah: Somalinimo, Young, British and Somali at Cambridge

Writer and producer Awa Farah: Somalinimo, Young, British and Somali at Cambridge

See the film Somalinimo by Alice Aedy, produced and written by Awa Farah: 

Interview by Lindsay Poulton and Jess Gormley
"Somalinimo: young, gifted and Somali... and at Cambridge"

Writer and producer Awa Farah describes her collaboration with film-maker Alice Aedy to express her experiences as a British-Somali woman at Cambridge University in this new documentary

Image: The cast of Cambridge students on the set of Somalinimo. Photograph: Alice Aedy/Girls on Film

31 August 2020

La Biennale di Venezia 2020. Kaouther Ben Hania: The Man Who Sold His Skin | L'homme qui a vendu sa peau

La Biennale di Venezia 2020

Kaouther Ben Hania

The Man Who Sold His Skin |
 L'homme qui a vendu sa peau

Tunisia, France
104 min

The journey of Sam Ali, a Syrian man who fled to Lebanon to escape the Syrian war, hoping to eventually join his lover in Paris.

Sam Ali est un syrien qui s'est enfui au Liban afin d'échapper à la guerre qui ravage son pays et dans l'espoir de rejoindre son amoureux à Paris. Coincé au Liban sans aucun document officiel, Sam commence à travailler dans des galeries d'art de Beyrouth. Il va rencontrer un célèbre artiste américain qui transforme Sam en une œuvre d'art en tatouant un visa sur son dos.

26 August 2020

RECENT FILMS. Aisha Jama: Neefso | Breathe (Somalia-USA)

Aisha Jama
Neefso | Breathe
4 min

Raha’s special day comes to a halt when her anxiety (un)expectedly takes center stage.
Neefso (Breathe) is a micro-short about the everyday coping mechanisms of managing anxiety through the lens of a young Black Muslim woman. This film not only highlights unpredictable nature of anxiety but also the love and support necessary to survive and thrive.

Bio: Aisha Jama
Aisha Jama is filmmaker who has chosen moving images to communicate her understanding of the world around her while she’s still present in it. She is dedicated to creating images and amplifying stories that examine our interiority and offer reprieve.

17 August 2020

RECENT FILMS. Tamara Mariam Dawit: "Finding Sally" (Ethiopia/Canada)

Tamara Mariam Dawit
Finding Sally
Ethiopia | Canada
Documentary | Documentaire
78 min

Finding Sally tells the incredible story of a 23-year-old woman from an upper class family who became a communist rebel with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party. Idealistic and in love, Sally got caught up in her country’s revolutionary fervour, landing on the military government’s most-wanted list. She went underground, and her family never saw her again. Four decades after Sally’s disappearance, filmmaker Tamara Dawit pieces together the mysterious life of her aunt Sally and revisits the Ethiopian “Red Terror”, a period of violence, upheaval and mass killings that nearly wiped out a generation of educated young people in the country.

Finding Sally raconte l’histoire improbable de Sally, une jeune femme de 23 ans issue d'une famille de la haute société, qui décida de s’enrôler dans la lutte communiste du Parti Révolutionnaire du Peuple Éthiopien. Ses idéaux romantiques la conduisirent au cœur de la ferveur révolutionnaire du pays, la propulsant ainsi au palmarès des ennemis de l’état les plus recherchés. Ses proches ne la revirent plus jamais. Quarante ans après la disparition de sa tante Sally, la cinéaste Tamara Dawit remet en place les pièces du puzzle afin de comprendre le mystérieux parcours de celle qu’elle n’a jamais connue. Elle revisite la "Terreur Rouge" éthiopienne, une période de violence, de bouleversements et de massacres qui fit une demi-million de morts en Éthiopie.

Bio: Tamara Mariam Dawit
Tamara Dawit is a producer/director based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she runs a production company Gobez Media that produces Ethiopian film, TV, digital and music content. Tamara has experience producing music content, tours, creative documentaries, digital content, formatted television and is now branching into dramatic films. She has produced content for CBC, Bravo, MTV, Radio Canada, Discovery, and NHK, among other networks. She directed the short film Grandma Knows Best (Bravo) and the feature documentary Finding Sally (CBC) which will be released in 2020.

Tamara fusionne les arts et la justice sociale à travers ses projets. Pendant dix ans, elle a dirigé le projet 411 Initiative For Change , une organisation artistique pour laquelle elle a réalisé des présentations multi-arts qui ont été présentées à plus de 500 000 jeunes à travers le Canada. Tamara a produit les documentaires Forgotten Children (2007, EOne) et Girls of Latitude (2008, MTV / CTV) et elle a produit et réalisé Grandma Knows Best? (2014, Bravofactual). Elle est d'origine éthiopienne, érythréenne, ukrainienne et britannique. Elle a vécu, voyagé et travaillé beaucoup au Soudan du Sud et en Éthiopie.

10 August 2020

The Gauteng Film Commission on Women’s Month 2020 - South Africa

The Gauteng Film Commission
on Women’s Month 2020

The Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) today launches the month-long Women’s month 2020 programme. The programme will mostly showcase the work and efforts of women in the film and television sector in Gauteng, using virtual platforms across popular social media channels from the 10th till the 31st of August 2020.

The programme is being launched during a very difficult period, when the country is under a restricted lockdown due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. In South Africa, we have witnessed the difficult circumstances and challenges faced particularly by women – the gender-based violence as well as food insecurity among other realities. Under the theme "Generation Equality: Realising women's rights for an equal society now” the South African government has highlighted this year’s focus for Women's Month as gender-based violence and discrimination, the advancement of the rights of women and girls in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres of life.

South Africa commemorates Women's Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956, in protest of the extension of Pass Laws to women. It is following on this premise that the GFC has brought in partners to commemorate Women’s month this year. The programme will explore issues faced by women in the industry, and solutions will be discussed in virtual activities, delivered mostly by women, namely a virtual roundtable series, women empowerment lecture with City Varsity and an Online Women Film Festival.

“Reflecting on how women came together in 1956 to fight an unjust system, we have also brought in a variety of stakeholders to work with in executing this programme. We have partnered with City Varsity who will run the virtual empowerment masterclasses delivered by women lecturers, we also have Netflix onboard, a global media company that has made available relief to the distressed industry – they are providing a once off, short-term emergency relief grant to below-the-line workers who are usually hired on a freelance basis, are paid hourly wages and currently have most of their work put on hold” said GFC’s Desmond Mthembu. 

The programme has pulled more than 30 film and TV industry practitioners and will engage on issues ranging from sexual harassment in the sector, diversity, decolonising spaces to women empowerment. All activities will be virtual and will be delivered through the GFC’s social media platforms.



Virtual Round Table by actors and talent behind the camera including Salamina Mosese, Stephina Zwane, Sello Maake Ka Ncube, Dr. Jerry Mofokeng wa Makgetha, Naledi Bogacwi and Carolie Kganyago: 10-18 August

Women Empowerment Lectures with City Varsity seeks to train limited number of women filmmakers. Register here:

Women's Film Festival a 5 day virtual event noted via GFC YouTube Channel. Watch on YouTube:Gauteng Film Commission TV 25-29 August.

GFC invites entries for the Online Women Film Festival
25 - 29 Aug 2020: Live on YouTube.

Submit a short film (not longer than 25 minutes) and Stand a Chance to Win a Share of R50 000 Filming Equipment.

Festival Open to Gauteng Based Women Producers & Directors Only

Submission Deadline: 20 Aug 2020

Follow us on all social media platforms for updates and the latest information and register for the masterclasses here

Facebook: @GautengFilm

Twitter: @GautengFilmCom

Instagram: @gautengfilmcommission


For more information, contact:
Siyabonga Mngoma
Communication Manager: GFC

African Diasporic Cinema: Aesthetics of Reconstruction by Daniela Ricci

African Diasporic Cinema: Aesthetics of Reconstruction by Daniela Ricci
Translated from French by Melissa Thackway
Michigan State University Press (August 1, 2020)
304 pages

African Diasporic Cinema: Aesthetics of Reconstruction analyzes the aesthetic strategies adopted by contemporary African diasporic filmmakers to express the reconstruction of identity. Having left the continent, these filmmakers see Africa as a site of representation and cultural circulation. The diasporic experience displaces the center and forges new syncretic identities. Through migratory movement, people become foreigners, Others—and in this instance, black. The African diasporic condition in the Western world is characterized by the intersection of various factors: being African and bearing the historical memory of the continent; belonging to a black minority in majority-white societies; and finally, having historically been the object of negative, stereotyped representation. As a result, quests for the self and self-reconstruction are frequent themes in the films of the African diaspora, and yet the filmmakers refuse to remain trapped in the confines of an assigned, rigid identity. Reflecting these complex circumstances, this book analyzes the contemporary diaspora through the prism of cultural hybridization and the processes of recomposing fragmented identities, out of which new identities emerge.

Related links on the African Women in Cinema Blog

Traveling Gazes: Glocal Imaginaries in the Transcontinental, Transnational, Exilic, Migration, and Diasporic Cinematic Experiences of African Women (Spring 2017)

Claire Diao : Double Vague, le nouveau soufflé du cinéma français (Double wave, the new energy of French cinema) 2017

08 August 2020

Mayye Zayed: Ash Ya Captain | Lift Like a Girl (Egypt) - Toronto International Film Festival 2020

Mayye Zayed
Ash Ya Captain | Lift Like a Girl
2020 - 1h35 - Documentary

An observational feature length documentary about the female weightlifting community training in the streets of Alexandria, as it follows the 14-year-old Zebiba as she pursues her dream to become a professional weightlifter. Her coach Captain Ramadan believes so much in her and never takes no for an answer. He has been training world champion weightlifters for more than 20 years, including his daughter Nahla Ramadan; the former world champion, an Olympian and the pioneer of weightlifting in Egypt, as well as Abeer Abdel Rahman; the first Arab female 2-time Olympic medalist. For 4 years, Zebiba goes through victories and defeats, including major losses that shape her, as she finds her way from dust to gold. (Source:

Bio: Mayye Zayed
An Egyptian independent filmmaker who was born in Alexandria in 1985. She studied Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering in Alexandria University. She studied independent filmmaking in many workshops including the Jesuits Cultural Centre's workshop in Alexandria in 2009/2010. Then she was granted a Fulbright scholarship to study cinema and media studies in Wellesley College in USA in 2011/2012 which also enabled her to take the comparative media class "Innovations in Documentary" in MIT. She is a film director, producer, director of photography and editor. In 2013 she co-founded Rufy's; an independent film production house based in Alexandria, Egypt.

« Ash Ya Captain » (« Lift Like a Girl »), un  film réalisé par la cinéaste égyptienne Mayye Zayed, qui raconte le voyage intime dans la vie d'un athlète en devenir.

07 August 2020

RECENT FILMS. Ayten Amin: Souad (Egypt)

Ayten Amin
Egypt | Égypte 
2020 - Fiction - 1h30

Nineteen year-old Souad and her younger sister Rabab, live in the town of Zagazig with their conservative family. A series of small incidents pushes Souad to commit suicide. The family is swallowed in silence. Rabab dismisses all explanations for her Souad's death and is determined to find out the real cause of her sister's despair. She discovers that Ahmed is the central figure in Souad's virtual life. In search of answers, Rabab goes to Alexandria to see Ahmed.

Souad, une fille de 19 ans, vit avec sa famille conservatrice dans la ville de Zagazig, avec sa petite sœur Rabab. Une série de petits incidents ont poussé Souad à se suicider. Le silence avale tout dans la famille. Rabab jette toutes les explications de la mort de sa sœur et est déterminée à comprendre la véritable cause du désespoir de sa sœur. Elle découvre qu'Ahmed est la figure centrale de la vie virtuelle de Souad. Rabab voyage pour voir Ahmed à Alexandrie, à la recherche de réponses.

The film is part of the Cannes 2020 Official Selection which presents it as follows: For this moving portrait of  young Egyptian women, the fluid camera stays close to their faces. Ayten Amin weaves a precious world, which mixes local traditions and universal hopes. Young girls dream, they want to seduce, to be loved, to wear makeup, to be awakened. In the beautiful Alexandra, the sound is that of life, the noise of the city and the silences of the heroine.

Souad is a film produced by the company Vivid Reels, in co-production with Nomadis Images (Dora Bouchoucha, Tunisia). 

A native of Alexandria, Ayten Amin rose to prominence after the Egyptian revolution with the documentary "Tahrir 2011".


Le film fait partie de la Sélection Officielle Cannes 2020 qui le présente ainsi : Caméra fluide et proche des visages pour ce portrait émouvant de jeunes égyptiennes. Ayten Amin tisse un monde précieux, qui mêle traditions locales et espérances universelles. Les jeunes filles rêvent, elles veulent séduire, être aimées, se maquiller, s'éveiller. Dans Alexandrie la belle, le son est celui de la vie, des bruits de la ville et des silences de l'héroïne.

Souad est un film produit par la société Vivid Reels, en coproduction avec Nomadis Images (Dora Bouchoucha, Tunisie). 

Native d’Alexandrie, Ayten Amin s’était fait connaître après la révolution égyptienne avec le documentaire « Tahrir 2011 ».


73ème festival de Cannes 2020
Sélection officielle | Official Selection - LES NOUVELLES ET NOUVEAUX VENU(E)S 

20 July 2020

Kis Keya : Creator of Extranostro, the First Afro-Queer Francophone Web Series | Créatrice d’Extranostro, première websérie afro-queer francophone - Interview by/par Laurent Maurice Lafontant (

Kis Keya : Creator of Extranostro, the First Afro-Queer Francophone Web Series | Créatrice d’Extranostro, première websérie afro-queer francophone - Interview by/par Laurent Maurice Lafontant (

Source: 8 July/juillet 2020

In English:
My primary motivation was to act on the homophobia that is rampant in many African and, more broadly speaking, black families. I wanted young (and not so young) people who faced rejection, who feel all alone in the world, and who wonder whether they’re “normal” or not to realize that there are other people ou there just like them. As a matter of fact, that is the reason I chose to do a web series. I wanted Extranostroto be streamed online and be accessible all over the world which is not always possible on TV networks that may have geographical restrictions.

En français :
Ma toute première motivation était d’agir par rapport à l’homophobie qui sévit dans une grande partie des familles africaines et noires de façon plus générale. Je voulais que des jeunes (et moins jeunes) qui sont rejeté·es ou qui sont quelque part dans le monde, seul·es, à se demander s’ils, elles, illes sont « normaux » réalisent que d’autres personnes leur ressemblent. C’est la raison, d’ailleurs, pour laquelle j’ai opté pour une websérie. Je voulais qu’elle puisse être diffusée sur internet et accessible partout dans le monde. Ce qui n’est pas toujours possible sur les chaînes de télévision qui peuvent avoir des restrictions géographiques.

19 July 2020

Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) - Stakeholders Report 2019: Eradicating Violence against Women and Girls through mainstream women’s audio visual narratives in marginalised urban and rural communities

Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe
Stakeholders Report 2019

Eradicating Violence against Women and Girls through mainstream women’s audio visual narratives in marginalised urban and rural communities

This report summarises the findings of the project by Women Film Makers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) on Eradicating Violence against Women and Girls through mainstreaming women’s audio visual narratives in marginalised urban and rural communities.


The methodologies adopted for this analysis included surveys and interviews. Films that involve violence against women and girls were sought and screened in different communities, followed by discussions. The films were used as tools to gather information in the communities’s understanding of VAWG as well as to raise awareness on issues and impacts of VAWG. A monitoring and evaluation exercise that measures changes before and after the screenings was also
carried out.


The purpose of the report is to share information gathered from communities engaged to prevent and obtain feedback on how WFOZ methodologies can be used in the future.


13 July 2020

Matamba Kombila: Mundele n: blanche, étrangère - white, foreigner

Matamba Kombila, of French-Gabonese parentage, explores the evolving complexities of her multiple identities and the cultural, geographical tensions of these positionalities. Her short experimental film Mundele n: blanche, étrangère, contextualizes the conversation.

An interview with Matamba Kombila by Beti Ellerson, July 2020.

Matamba, talk a bit about yourself, your evolution into filmmaking.

I had reached a glass ceiling in the fashion industry where I was working as events producer for high-end brands. I had understood I’d never get to the positions my degrees could have led me to because I wasn’t Caucasian. I needed to move on to a field where I would have a sense of community and professional fulfillment after years of feeling used, shortchanged and often alienated. I therefore decided to follow my heart and my innate passion for the moving image and storytelling, and to become a filmmaker. I had actually been teaching myself screenwriting and directing while I was in fashion, and had started developing screenplays. My first experience in film was on the set of Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us, in the production design department. I was always drawn to stories revolving around social justice, so working on a film about the story of the wife of a slain Black Panther leader felt like an omen and confirmed I was on the right path. I started shooting a few years later, after I took amazing intensive workshops at Ela Thier’s Independent Film School. I literally used my cellphone for my few first films. I couldn’t wait to own a camera to start creating, or, for someone who had one, to be available to do it with me. It gave me a good sense of composition and movement in the frame. I realize that editing myself or assisting the editor for all the films I have made since then have allowed me to hone my screenwriting skills. Likewise, producing and managing the production of fellow filmmakers’ shorts or features makes me build capacity while being part of the creative process, which is priceless. I am now working at improving my technical knowledge to understand how to best match the story’s intention and mood with the visual. It's a never-ending, fascinating, growing process.

You film is titled, Mundele n: blanche, étrangère, English subtitled as white, foreigner. What does this title mean?

Mundele literally means white, foreigner in the Lingala language, which is spoken in DRC and Congo, where it was shot. I found through my travels that in many African streets, when you stand out from the crowd, people call out to you. In Congo where I shot the film, I was Mundele. And in many African countries, I am called white, foreigner.

For a short film with a duration of just under 10 minutes, there is a great deal that the spectator must extrapolate. Is that your intention?

It is constructed as avenues of reflection on themes that revolve around the make up of my identity. I don’t want to state anything. I simply want to highlight situations or events that may bring answers to the questioning around it.

You ask questions to your entourage, which appear to be in fact existential, and not really in search of a probing response. On the other hand there are a host of questions that the film provokes. Perhaps I will start with my own questions: what was your objective for making the film? 

The intention of the initial project was to unpack some aspects of my complicated relationship with my mother and show her my love. My objective for making the film was to draw a parallel between what’s commonly called France-Afrique and myself, the offspring of a French woman and a Gabonese man. I wanted to explore the juxtaposition of the complicated relationship between the colonizer and its outposts on the continent and my identity, the mix of the cultures and histories of the colonizer and the colonized.

The film starts with you at the hairdresser’s salon surrounded by a circle of young African women as they each take part in coiffing your hair. A metaphor, a signifier, perhaps of your identity, as it is transformed into a Gabonese hairstyle. What role does hair play for you and why this choice in constructing the film? 

The film was made during a Documentary Filmmaking Workshop for Women at the French Institute of Pointe Noire. The idea of the salon came from the instructor, Rufin Mbou Mikima, who came up with it when we started discussing the story. Interestingly, I had thought about using hair as a vector of identity but wasn’t sure how. My hair is my antenna, my connector to the universe and the cosmic forces. It is also a shield that protects me against the cold and the heat, balancing out my body temperature. At last, it is an element of style that allows me to tell stories about myself and my ancestors; an “identifier”. Therefore getting my hair done is something very intimate that often leads to insightful conversations, so the salon was a perfect setting to broach the theme of my identity. After we collected all of the images, we came up with the structure of the mirror for the film. Its first part, shot in the salon, is the front of the mirror, what I see and am perceived by others; its second part, my walk in the streets of Pointe Noire, is what’s behind it, what I perceive as my identity’s founding elements.

There have been a flurry of films by mixed-raced women especially of African-European origin, who probe the question of color, of identity, of belonging. To name a few: Ngozi Onwurah: The Body Beautiful. Sarah Bouyain: Les Enfants du blanc (Children of the White Man) and Notre Etrangère (The Place in Between). Claude Haffner: Blanche ici, noire la-bàs (Footprints of My Other). In the latter two, echoes of your film title is evident. There is also the film, Métis (Mixed-race), co-directed by Maëlle Cherpion, Charlotte Manguette and Mélissa Quinet, the latter who is the grand-daughter of one of the two protagonists of the documentary. In addition, Irish-Kenyan Zélie Asava, who is also mixed-race, published her research in the book titled Mixed Race Cinemas, Multiracial Dynamics in America and France. There have even been several films also about mixed-raced girls/women by African women who are not, I am thinking of Sous la clarité de la lune (Under the Moonlight) by Apolline Traoré and Au phantom du père (The Ghost of the Father) by Laurentine Bayala, for example. There is also Isabelle Boni-Claverie, whose grandmother was a white Frenchwoman, who dealt with the subject in her short film, Pour la nuit. Perhaps I could ask you, do you have some thoughts about why this topic may be a specific quest for women?

I am finding out now that there are so many films on the topic. I saw a few of that your mentioned, but didn’t know of all of them. I’ll research and watch. I am curious to see how my fellow lady filmmakers have treated the topic. I will not use the word race because it doesn’t exist within the human realm.

Now back to your question. For me, even knowing quite a bit about genetics, it still is fascinating to know that I come out of the belly of a woman and look nothing like her. It was complicated to construct my identity growing up when I was on one end not allowed to identify to her, and on the other end told that I was only her. Indeed in the West I was always perceived as African or mixed, when in Africa I was perceived as Caucasian. Ultimately, maybe women ponder over the topic because we give life and we are the origin of all these multicultural babies that often find themselves at odds with their environment. The truth is we are the fruit of the love of two individuals of different cultures, the living proof that the divisive concept of race is a hoax. We make a lot of people feel uncomfortable because of their preconceptions and prejudice built-in by 500 years of history. I feel like its onto women to undo this. I am glad to see that several of us talk about our experience being mixed African-European because our testimonies carry elements of solutions to the problems of “racism” and its children, Caucasian supremacy and ongoing colonialism. We are after all the natural link between the opposite sides.

What has been the feedback to the film in African countries where it has been screened?

At the screenings I attended, there was no feedback so I explained the film to the audience. Then some audience members commented that my point of view made them understand aspects of the mixed African-European identity they had never thought about. It gave them insights not only on the personality of some of their mixed friends or relatives, but also on their own makeup, being the descendants of people who used to call Europeans their ancestors. I was asked a few times why the hairdressers don’t answer my questions. In fact they do. But we had sound issues so it turns out to be some sort of monologue with the effect that you describe earlier.

In your experiences, what are the similarities and differences to mixed race-identity in Africa compared to the West?

In my experience, the only similarity to mixed identity in Africa compared to the West is the ever-present unconscious stigma, consequence of the racialization of humans by the Catholic Church to justify the objectification of Africans in order to serve Western capitalism, with the complicity of African traders.

The differences are undeniable. In the African countries I have visited, I was either perceived as a national (Morocco, Egypt, Ethiopia), or as a white/foreigner but in the end always accepted for who I am and integrated. Interestingly, my mixed culture may be perceived as an asset because it may allow navigating a multifaceted African world with ease, to the benefit of the community. South Africa is a different story, because colorism defines social class and status. In Cape Town, I didn't quite feel like a human. I was colored, confined to some margins of society. I had a similar experience in France and in the few European countries I have visited where ultimately, the majority of people were uncomfortable with who I am because I don’t quite fit in any category they are familiar with. Except for the UK where the notion of mixed culture seems assimilated. In the USA or Brazil, I am Black. I am denied my European heritage and I institutionally have a very limited space in the Caucasian world, which ironically, is nevertheless equally as mine as the African world. So ultimately, the main difference is that Africa seems to still be welcoming the other with open arms, when the West seems scared of ghosts that it has not made peace with. 

Future works?

I am currently developing my first feature film, a story of revenge in political circles in Gabon, with a female lead. The project results from two residencies, in Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

I should start editing soon the footage that I have been shooting over the past few months in Cameroon where I found myself stranded when Covid-19 hit and borders closed, and where I spent the past 5 months.

I am also just starting a documentary project with a collective of African filmmakers where the objective is truth and reconciliation with our past as accomplices in the slave trade.

11 July 2020

Iman Djionne (Coura + Oulèye) : La Fabrique 2020 - Les Cinémas du monde

Iman Djionne (Coura + Oulèye)
La Fabrique 2020 - Les Cinémas du monde
Projet de film en development
Film project in development

Bio: Iman Djionne

Iman Djionne is a Senegalese director who has written and directed short films and audiovisual content. Her last short, Boxing girl (La Boxeuse) was selected at several festivals, such as Louxor, POFF Shorts and Cologne. She is also a casting director for local and international productions such as Amin by Philippe Faucon (La Quinzaine 2018) and the Amazon series ZeroZeroZer’. She was also a member of the casting team for Atlantics (Atlantique) by Mati Diop (Grand Prix du Jury at Cannes 2019). Iman is currently working on her first feature film, Coura + Oulèye. She took part in the Realness Screenwriters’ Residency in 2019 and Berlinale Talents in 2020.

Iman Djionne est une réalisatrice sénégalaise qui a écrit et réalisé des court-métrages, ainsi que du contenu audiovisuel. Son dernier court La Boxeuse a été sélectionné dans plusieurs festivals tel que Louxor, POFF shorts ou Cologne. Elle est aussi directrice de casting pour des productions locales et internationales comme Amin de Philippe Faucon (La Quinzaine ’18), ou la série Amazon Zerozerozero. Elle a également fait partie de l’équipe casting de Atlantique de Mati Diop (Grand Prix du Jury à Cannes ’19). Iman développe actuellement son premier long Coura + Oulèye. Elle a participé à la résidence d’écriture Realness en 2019 et Berlinale Talents en 2020.

Synopsis : Coura + Oulèye

Born into a polygamous family, two young sisters get to know each other after the death of their father, on a journey across Senegal.

Coura and Oulèye, two teenage sisters whose mothers are co-spouses, are forced to travel together across Senegal, as they search for their father’s testament. But their search takes an unexpected turn when they meet Ngoné, a young woman with a shady past.

Issues d’une famille polygame, deux jeunes soeurs se découvrent après la mort de leur père lors d’un périple à travers le Sénégal.

Coura et Oulèye, deux sœurs adolescentes dont les mères sont co-épouses, sont contraintes de voyager ensemble à travers le Sénégal à la recherche du testament de leur père décédé. Mais leur quête prendra une tournure inattendue lorsqu’elles rencontrent Ngoné, une jeune femme au passé trouble.

Note d'intention - Statement of Intent

Coura + Oulèye is a story about women, where three generations clash, help each other and evolve together. I wanted to explore what it means to be a woman in our African societies today. What is the right balance between tradition and modernity? How can we stay true to ourselves in a society where the group is prioritized? The starting point for this film was the desire to explore the relationship between two young sisters born into a polygamous marriage. Polygamy, which is common in Senegal, has often been addressed from the women’s perspective, but rarely from the perspective of children with different mothers and their relationships. Fraternity is a strong yet complicated bond, so I wanted to follow these sisters’ journey in that sense. This journey, which will bring them far from the pressure of their family and the society, enables them to question their identity and their role in their community.


Coura + Oulèye est une histoire de femmes où trois générations s’affrontent, s’entraident et avancent ensemble. Je cherche ainsi à explorer la place de la femme aujourd’hui dans nos sociétés africaines. Quelle position adopter entre tradition et modernité, mais surtout comment être soi-même dans une société où le groupe prime ? Le point de départ de ce film était un désir de sonder la relation entre deux jeunes soeurs issues d’un mariage polygame. La polygamie, assez répandue au Sénégal, a souvent été traitée du point de vue des femmes mais rarement de la perspective des enfants, de mères différentes, et de leurs relations. La fraternité est un lien fort mais complexe, je voulais donc suivre le parcours de ces sœurs dans ce contexte. Ce voyage leur permettra de questionner leur identité et leur place dans leur communauté, loin de la pression de leur famille et de la société. 

02 July 2020

African Women in the time of COVID-19 : 10 selected films announced

African Women in the Time of COVID-19 : 10 selected films announced

The ten selected films, in alphabetical order, are:

Being: Malak El Araby (Egypt)
Blunder: Fezeka Shandu (South Africa)
Face Mask for Sale: Neha Manoj Shah (Kenya)
I’ll Call You Later: Aurelie Stratton (South Africa)
Loop: Every End Has a Beginning: Faith Ilevbare (Nigeria)
Love, Zawadi: Wambui Gathee (Kenya)
Moyo: Hellen Samina Ochieng (Kenya)
My Sunshine: Chioma Divine Favour Mathias (Nigeria) 
The Tempest: Skinnor Davillah Agello (Kenya)
Worlds Apart: Yehoda Hammond (Ghana)

The Ladima Foundation, in partnership with DW Akademie, announces the ten selected films in the African Women in the Time of Covid-19 Short Film Competition.

These films will PREMIERE via a live stream on July 10th 2020 and then be available for viewing on various platforms from July 11th.

The short film competition invited African women to share their stories about the personal, economic, and social impact of Covid-19 in Africa. The brave and powerful films that were submitted sadly have reflected the extremely difficult circumstances that many African women are facing.  The stories have shown how in too many cases that the pandemic has indeed impacted women harder and in different ways than on their male counterparts.

An overwhelming response saw just under 200 women from 18 African countries sharing their moving and honest stories on a diversity of topics with dominant themes of domestic violence, altered access to opportunities, increased burden of care, although also of resilience and hope.

The ten films will be premiered on the Ladima Foundation Facebook page at 15:00 CAT on FRIDAY JULY 10th 2020.

From July 11th films will then also be available to watch and stream on The Ladima Foundation website,, MyMoviesAfrica™️, a proudly Kenyan, mobile-first digital cinema platform, offering movies on smart devices, including phones, tablets, laptops and televisions, via the internet.

MyMoviesAfrica™️ can be accessed via on the web, and the Android App can be found here:

The films will also be broadcast on the True African channel on Premium.Free. True African is a TV channel that embodies being “the contemporary African”. The channel delivers the best series and movies from across the continent. True African introduces rising talent and presents established stars as the channel captures the spirit of Africa today – the prefect channel for these 10 short films, showcasing developing new talent across the continent.

Premium.Free is a free bouquet of channels available across Sub Saharan Africa via satellite in West Africa, East and Southern Africa as well as Francophone Africa. Broadcast schedule and details can be found on


Being: Malak El Araby (Egypt)

Malak El Araby is a 21 year old film major graduating senior at The American University in Cairo. Malak is passionate about filmmaking and photography, winning third place UIFF in South Korea and working on multiple movies in Egyptian cinema. Malak’s short films are always inspired by women empowerment, portraying their struggles and stories.

Synopsis: The film is about how everyone took everything for granted before the pandemic. How the little things in life is what matters most. How we never realize what we have until it is lost. What we miss and what we should appreciate in life after all of this is over.

Blunder: Fezeka Shandu (South Africa)

Fezeka Shandu is a 26 year old  aspiring filmmaker who grew up in the dusty streets of Umlazi, KZN South Africa. Growing up she always had a love for films and theatre. She has  always wanted  to tell stories in a simple way, but meaningfully and realistically.

Synopsis: Blunder is about a couple who planned to get married before lockdown was introduced, with all the rules and regulations everything has paused, however the girlfriend’s (Naledi) uncles decided to show up for lobola negotiations because they believe that culturally such things can’t be postponed as it will upset the ancestors.

Face Mask for Sale: Neha Manoj Shah (Kenya)

Hellen Samina Ochieng is a 22 year old creative based in Nairobi Kenya and an undergraduate student at the Taita University. She has always had a strong passion for the feminist cause as she has seen first -hand how the inherently patriarchal Kenyan society affects women and young girls.

Synopsis: Moyo tells the story of Achieng, a young single mother working as an underpaid nurse in Mbagathi Hospital, Nairobi. She struggles with the grim financial, mental and physical realities of being a single mother, and the pressures of being a front-line, essential worker in a country crippled by a pandemic. When Achieng is called into the hospital at midnight to attend to a Covid-19 emergency, she must turn to Mike, her abusive ex-boyfriend, to take care of her daughter Waridi.

I’ll Call You Later: Aurelie Stratton (South Africa)

Aurelie Stratton is an actress, writer, director and producer who graduated from WITS Drama School and moved to the United Kingdom shortly after graduation to further her study, career and experiences. After her return, she then co-founded production company, You Kicked My Dog Productions with Emmanuel Castis and they produced the acclaimed Short Film Sides of a Horn which qualified for the 2020 Oscars.

Synopsis:  Jo and Bec are sisters and can only communicate through video calls during lockdown. Jo has not been taking Bec’s calls because she is hiding something. Lockdown has been more dangerous for Jo than Bec realises

Loop: Every End Has a Beginning: Faith Ilevbare (Nigeria)

Faith Ilevbara is a visual artist, using film as her medium of expression, and is passionate about creating films for social justice, especially telling stories of social issues affecting women globally. She wants to use film to start a narrative that will bring about change and conversations surrounding those issues. Born in and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Faith’s first degree is in a medical related field, but her passion for storytelling couldn’t be held back: she graduated top in her class in Digital Film Production SAE Institute, Cape Town and currently works in Lagos, Nigeria, as a video journalist with the BBC.

Synopsis: Loop is a short film highlighting the negative effect of domestic violence on children exposed to such violence during the lock down.

Love, Zawadi: Wambui Gathee (Kenya)

Wambui Gathee is an emerging Director/ Producer rising steadily in the African film scene. She is a firm believer of artistic visual storytelling and her work voices and represents the true African narrator.

Synopsis: With the lockdown measures being enforced, vulnerable women and young girls are put in a position where the life-threatening outside is safer than their own homes and at times forced to make difficult choices.

Moyo: Hellen Samina Ochieng (Kenya)

Hellen Samina Ochieng is a 22 year old creative based in Nairobi Kenya and an undergraduate student at the Taita University. She has always had a strong passion for the feminist cause as she has seen first -hand how the inherently patriarchal Kenyan society affects women and young girls.

Synopsis: Moyo tells the story of Achieng, a young single mother working as an underpaid nurse in Mbagathi Hospital, Nairobi. She struggles with the grim financial, mental and physical realities of being a single mother, and the pressures of being a front-line, essential worker in a country crippled by a pandemic. When Achieng is called into the hospital at midnight to attend to a Covid-19 emergency, she must turn to Mike, her abusive ex-boyfriend, to take care of her daughter Waridi.

My Sunshine: Chioma Divine Favour Mathias (Nigeria)
Chioma Divine Favour Mathias is a writer, cinematographer/filmmaker, and actor. She is  graduate of statistics and the last of four kids.

Synopsis: This short story is about the struggle of a single mother with a disabled child, trying to fend for herself and her baby at the same time surviving the effect of the pandemic. She did all she can to stay strong and sharp even in the face of tribulations. This story depict the true strength of an African woman.

The Tempest: Skinnor Davillah Agello (Kenya)

Skinnor Davillah Agello is a professional dancer and choreographer and a film maker based in Nairobi Kenya. Born in K’ogello Siaya country an area rich in culture and dance which played a major part in her love for dance and storytelling. She has taken part in numerous dance performances i.e. One Africa Music Fest in Dubai, Dance for Sale in Germany, “I Can Dance” finalist aired on KTN. She was nominated at the Sondeka Awards 2018 in story through dance category. Safaricom Twaweza, Chapa Dimba.

Synopsis: The Tempest is a short film about a dancer Davillah_S expressing how Covid -19 has changed her family and personal life, as well as millions of other lives across the globe. The dance performance is devised to reflect Davillah’s own personal challenges and solutions for coping with the pandemic, while encouraging those who view the piece to stay positive and safe.

Worlds Apart: Yehoda Hammond (Ghana)

Yehoda Adukwei Hammond is a 19 years and third year film directing student at the National Film and Television Institute in Ghana. She is currently interning as a Second Assistant director with Esse Productions. Growing up in Ghana and Accra, she gained a keen interest in social issues occurring in her country, with a soft spot for girl child  education.

Synopsis: Rhema and Erica are Junior high school students whose education has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The differences in their economic situations have directly altered the course of their education and how they cope with the current times.


The ten selected films were chosen by a panel of expert judges including Cornélia Glele, a journalist, blogger and filmmaker from Benin, Lizelle Bisschoff, a researcher and curator of African film, and founder of the Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival in Scotland, Nse Ikpe-Etim, a multiple-award winning Nigerian actor with over a decade of active years on stage and screen, Professor Martin Mhando, a Research Fellow with Murdoch University, Western Australia and an award winning filmmaker and experienced festival director, as well as Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann  who makes both short and long films, both fiction and documentary and whose prior work includes a mélange of essayist documentary, photography and poetry, the majority of which she shot, directed, produced, and recorded sound for herself.

25 June 2020

An animation story of Ugandan scholar Sr. Dr. Dominica Dipio's work in orality, literature and film

An animation story of Ugandan scholar
Sr. Dr. Dominica Dipio's work
in orality, literature and film

“For us, Africans who are predominantly described as very oral people, the film medium is a very powerful continuation, in a way, of our orality. I am no longer that scholar who writes a fine paper and has it published in a journal.” (Video by Osmosis Films)

Moreover, Sr. Dipio, who did her doctoral studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, was appointed as one of four consultors of the Vatican-based Pontifical Council for Culture in 2019.

24 June 2020

Black Camera: African Women, Cinema, and Leadership: Empowerment, Mentorship, and Role-Modeling by Beti Ellerson (Spring 2020)

African Women, Cinema, and Leadership: Empowerment, Mentorship,
and Role-Modeling
Beti Ellerson
Black Camera: An International Film Journal
African Women in Cinema Dossier
Vol. 11, No. 2 (Spring 2020), pp. 222-238


Leadership entails listening, sharing, mentoring, and understanding that we may learn from each other through diverse exchanges: intergenerational, intercultural, and inter-regional. These features are incorporated in many of the workshops and forums organized by African women, designed for leadership awareness and development. Moreover, African women film professionals have initiated mechanisms to foster effective leadership in the diverse areas of the profession. These initiatives aim to create an African women's cinema culture that encourages and empowers women film professionals as well as those who seek to work in cinema. Leadership encompasses consensus building, collaboration, being a team player, and being prepared to change one's attitude when confronted with other perspectives. These are foundational strategies that African women employ in their leadership practices. And perhaps above all, it is important to remember that leaders were also at one time students, mentees, apprentices, and assistants. Drawing from general women and leadership discourse, this article examines the leadership strategies of African women of the moving image.

- When African women in cinema take action, African cinema moves forward
- Strategies of African women, cinema and leadership
- Leadership recognition, support and development
- Visualizing leadership: strong, empowering, and influential women on screen
- Current strategies of mentorship
- Taking care of our leaders: watching over those who watch over us
- What is sisterhood to you?

23 June 2020

Conférence du Pavillon des Cinémas d'Afrique : Programme Tables Rondes : "Porter haut et fort la voix des femmes dans les cinémas d'Afrique" (Women's voices heard loud and clear in the cinemas of Africa)

Porter haut et fort la voix des femmes dans les cinémas d'Afrique
(Women's voices heard loud and clear in the cinemas of Africa)

The first Zoom e-conference of the Pavillon des Cinémas d'Afrique in a Programme of Roundtables organized by the ACA-Agence Culturelle Africaine, was held on 22 June 2020. Producer, director, actress, film critic, came together to discuss their experiences and concerns in the world of cinema.

The 1 hour 34 minute e-conference moderated by journalist Hortense Assaga, included Marie-Clémence Andriamonta-Paes, director and producer, Mouna Ndiaye, actress and festival organizer, Nadia Rais, animation film director, Naky Sy Savané, actress and festival organizer, Fatou Kiné Séne, journalist and president of the Fédération africaine des critiques de cinéma (African federation film critics), Olga Tiyon, production and communication coordinator, 7 jours pour 7 films. The diverse women represented the myriad roles that African women hold within the world of cinema, often multiple. Appearances from audience participants, such as Stéphanie Dongmo, film and cultural critic, writer and blogger as well as other notable francophone film critics on the African continent and in Europe, is indicative of the span of African cinema criticism. Moreover, introducing the ACA e-conference series with a focus on the experiences and concerns of women highlights the growing importance of women's visibility and presence.

Hortense Assaga, introduced the round table by highlighting the eternal question of gender parity. She posed several questions as a point of departure: Here we have women who work to have their voices heard and be recognized as full-fledged members within the profession of cinema. How does this manifest itself in Africa? On other continents? How do these women manage? What are their strategies? How do they ensure that their work is recognized, that their presence matters? How do they experience these practices of gendering? How do they negotiate the myriad discourses and politics of gender?

The exchange unfolded less as a "roundtable" dialogue where the participants interacted with each other, but rather as a moderated discussion fed by questions from Hortense Assaga to individual women. Hence, the more existential aspect of the introductory questions--especially as it relates to practices of gendering--were less developed. At the same time, an array of important issues relevant to film professionals in general were explored, highlighting what many women have often asserted, that while women have concerns that are gender-specific, others are shared by both African women and men. For instance, some of Marie-Clémence Andriamonta-Paes's responses from Hortense Assaga's questions around gender were framed in the context of Euro-centric dominance of ideas and values. Having always partnered with her husband, who is also a film professional, there are daily struggles in general. In addition, film critic Fatou Kiné Sène cautions against always looking through a gendered lens, which may distort the actual merit of a film: "It is merit and not our status as a woman that allows us to "box" in the same category as men." Similarly, animation filmmaker Nadia Rais notes that while women in animation are rare, there is already the question of being an artist, hence, the art form of animation cinema adds to the complexity of the question. Since there are not many animation film festivals, these films are included in the midst of fiction films, though the genre is very different: "We're part of another group, and sometimes we feel like we don't really exist. So our problem is not the issue of being a woman." 

Nonetheless, the gendered question of women's experiences in cinema was firmly rooted throughout the discussion.

Hortense Assaga asks, "as a filmmaker and producer, how does she position herself in the context of gender?" Marie-Clémence Andriamonta-Paes has developed an attitude of perseverance: "Coming from a society where women forge ahead as a matter of course, looking out for the most vulnerable in society is active work... everyday it is necessary to say that being a filmmaker from the South, that these stories are equally important." Nonetheless, she admits that the environment within cinema "is very patriarchal, very concentrated, that there is a dominance of men in positions of power...And hence, many women in the profession are often in a position to have to manage this status of inequality...It is in this context that more most be done to build awareness that this is not normal, to have to obey and serve."

For Naky Sy Savane, being an actress is also being a feminist activist in the context of cinema as a form of engagement, which Hortense Assaga, interprets as a commitment, a way of being part of the struggle. "As a feminist, we can't let things go on like this because there are generations following us. If I have a choice, I take the scenarios that advance the cause of women." Similarly, for actress/filmmaker Maïmouna N’Diaye, "to make films is to speak up and say out loud what many people think but do not dare say, in particular women, children and vulnerable people. I think it is our duty, in fact, to use this tool as a voice and shake up things, as a means to make things change so that we can move forward together." Hortense Assaga highlighted Maïmouna N’Diaye's role as the only African on the main jury at Cannes in 2019. She responded: "I felt a bit alone, but this loneliness allowed me to think of all my sisters, from all over Africa, and it gave me strength. I said to myself I am representing all of these women. I was proud of it and it gave me the strength to do it."

Fatou Kiné Sène, who was elected president of the Dakar-based African Federation of Cinematographic Critics (FACC) in 2019, notes the importance of the association website in order to give more visibility to all African films. In Senegal, the Films Femmes Afrique festival highlights the works of African women on the continent. In 2013, FACC created the Women's Cinema Month. Similarly, Naky Sy Savané, who is also founder and organizer of the Ivoirian-based FESTILAG, the International Film Festival of Lakes and Lagoons, highlighted the creation of ACAI, l’Association des Comédiennes Africaines de l’Image (Association of African Actresses of the Image).

Olga Tiyon, production and communication coordinator of "7 jours pour 7 films", emphasized the importance of framing gender broadly in all aspects of the filmmaking process: "As a result, by putting more emphasis on gender, it is easier for these women to enter areas in which they did not have easy access."

Video-recorded and uploaded on YouTube on 23 June 2020 (, excerpts translated into English from the French-language event.

Links to African Women in Cinema Blog articles:
Olga Tiyon

Programme Tables Rondes ACA-Agence Culturelle Africaine
Jun. 22 juin 2020, 09:00 – ven. 26 juin 2020, 18:00

#22_Juin : Porter haut et fort la voix des femmes dans les cinémas d'Afrique
11h30 – Heure de Paris
Productrice, réalisatrice, actrice, critique de cinéma… La parole est à ces femmes de l’industrie du cinéma pour faire entendre leur combat.
#Participantes :
- Mouna Ndiaye, actrice et réalisatrice
- Naky Sy Savané, actrice et promotrice de festival
- Fatou Kiné Séne, présidente de la Fédération africaine des critiques de cinéma
- Marie-Clémence Andriamonta-Paes, réalisatrice et productrice
#Modératrice : Hortense Assaga, journaliste
Pour participer à la conférence, inscrivez-vous gratuitement en cliquant sur ce lien :

#23_juin : Nouvelles opportunités de financement pour les réalisateurs et producteurs des pays ACP
Avec le soutien du Centre national de l’image animée (CNC)
11H30 - Heure de Paris
Modérateur: Olivier Barlet, critique de cinéma

#24_juin : Face à la crise du cinéma liée à la Covid-19, la réponse des Etats.
11h30 - Heure de Paris
Modératrice : Cathérine Ruelle, spécialiste du cinéma africain

#25_juin : un an du projet SENTOO : quel bilan ?
Modérateur : Faissol Gnonlonfin, producteur
11h30 - Heure de Paris

#26_juin : Echanges avec les fondateurs de LAFAAAC, la plateforme digitale qui forme aux métiers des industries créatives
Avec Olivier Pascal, co-fondateur, directeur général de LAFAAAC
12h - Heure de Paris

Pour plus d’infos :

#Agence_Culturelle_Africaine #Festival_de_Cannes