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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31 October 2020

Malagasy Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Malagasy Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Malagasy women are making important contributions to African world cinema in Madagascar and from their diasporic locations. Franco-Malagasy producer/filmmaker Marie-Clémence Paés, perhaps the most widely known, created the French-based independent production and distribution company Laterit Productions with her Brazilian husband Cesar Paes, in 1988, in order to make films to promote deeper understanding between cultures. Her first film as director, Fahavalo, Madagascar 1947, traces the Malagasy resistance against the French, through the voices of participants and survivors.

Voahirana Barnoud-Razakamanantsoa serves as president of the French-based Africultures association, whose objective is to document and critique contemporary African and diasporic cultural expressions. In 2015 she conducted a writing workshop for journalist at the Rencontres du Film Court-RFC (Short Film Festival) in Madagascar, during which she trained a team of editors, the “RFC amazons” who covered the ten-day festival and published their stories in the VAOVAO, the daily festival newsletter.

Journalist and film critic Domoina Ratsara who is based in Antananarivo, aims to cultivate a culture of film criticism in Madagascar thus contributing to the valorization of local knowledge. In 2012 she cofounded Sorakanto, the association of cultural journalists of Madagascar. Moreover, she facilitated the film criticism workshop at the Rencontres de film court (RFC) in 2018, organized by the film revue Awotele, where she is also a journalist. She co-founded the Association des Critiques Cinématographiques de Madagascar (ACCM) and serves as its president. Hence, since 2006 a Malagasy film culture is re-emerging with the creation of Rencontres du film court International Film Festival, setting the basis for the cultivation of a local film culture. Women’s presence is especially visible in various organizational positions.

Canada-based Tiana Rafidy began her career as a model and later developed a passion for dancing. Her career took another turn when she played the heroine in the cult series Revy sa Ditra, the first Malagasy television series which ran for four years. Afterwards, she hosted several television programs and acted in a variety of films. After professional development in France and Canada, Tiana Rafidy accepted the challenge of writing and directing her own film, Lorety sy Mardy released in 2008.  Firoza Zahir Houssen has directed two films, Tetirano (2015) and Maux d’Elles (2017).

Following is a growing list of Malagasy women in cinema, visual media and screen culture who work in the myriad sectors of film culture:

Dianah M. Amitsora, Baholy Andriamoratsiresy, Voahirana Barnoud-Razakamanantsoa, Gabrielle Olivah Francklin, Karine Manoa,Marie-Clémence Paes, Tiana Rafidy, Zo Raharivony, Domoina Ratsara, Georgine Ravao, Ketaka Razafimisa, Simonette Roasoampanina, Môta Soa, Linda Volahasiniaina, Firoza Zahir-Houssen

Malagasy Women in  Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture on the African Women in Cinema Blog

Domoina Ratsara, Malagasy film critic: Putting Madagascar onto the cinema landscape

Fahavalo, Madagascar 1947 by/de Marie-Clémence Andriamonta-Paes

Luxor African Film Festival 2017: Maux d'Elles by/de Firoza Zahir Houssen

Marie-Clémence Paes: “there are treasures that are transmitted from generation to generation by word of mouth”

Tiana Rafidy: Lorety sy Mardy

30 October 2020

Gabonese Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Gabonese Women in  Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Gabonese cinema history dates to the beginnings of filmmaking on the continent, especially sub-Saharan Africa in the 1960s. While the number of Gabonese women in cinema is small, they have had some visibility since the start of the 1980s with the emergence of Rose Elise Mengue-Bekale, though waning in the 1990s. Since the 2000s their presence has been steadily on the increase with official selections and award winning films at international festivals, notably by Samantha Biffot, whose works include, L'oeil de la cité  | The Eye of the Town (2012) one of her popular TV series ; Retour aux sources (2013) and The African Who Wanted to Fly (2018).

Documentary filmmaker Yveline Nathalie Pontalier completed professional training in image techniques with a focus on techniques of cinematography in Brussels. In her artistic statement, she had this to say about her work:
Issues regarding social exclusion are recurring topics in my film projects. These choices are driven by my personal background, my environment, and the desire to listen to people to whom no one else listens; allowing them to express themselves by showing the complexity of their lives beyond stereotypes.

For Pauline Mvele, originally from Burkina Faso and who now calls Gabon her home, cinema is a commitment, evident in her choice of themes that focus on the voiceless, the rejected and the weak. To make films is to be socially engaged: "I cannot remain indifferent, silent and blind to certain situations or causes that I see in my country, Gabon, so I decided to make films in order to bring to the surface some of the problems of our society."

Matamba Kombila, of French-Gabonese parentage, explores the evolving complexities of her multiple identities and the cultural, geographical tensions of these positionalities, evident in her recent film, Mundele (2019)

Nadine Osobogo has brought recent prominence to Gabon with the creation of the Masuku Film Festival in 2013, which focuses on nature and the environment. She had this to say about why she launched the festival:

The Masuku Festival has as objective to provide “culture for everyone” … Gabon has a fifty-year history of cinema but only one festival, the Escales Documentaire of Libreville. However, the documentary films are only seen in the capital, in Libreville. Like other countries in Africa, Gabon no longer has cinema houses. It is up to us to create the venues to share our art. To make films is good, but what is the interest of it, if our friends, relatives, neighbors do not see them?

The growing list of Gabonese women in screen culture include:

Manouchka Kelly Labouba, Rose Elise Mengue-Bekale, Matamba Kombila, Pauline Mvele Nambané, Yéno Anongwi, Victorine Bella Meyo, Nadine Otsobogo, Alice Atérianus Owanga.

Gabonese Women in  Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture on the African Women in Cinema Blog

Matamba Kombila: Mundele n blanche, étrangère

The African Who Wanted to Fly by Samantha Biffot, Gabon

Matamba Kombila: “Sens Dessus Dessous” crowdfunding campaign | campagne Indiegogo

Pauline Mvele: "Sans famille" | "Without family"

Yveline Nathalie Pontalier: crowdfunding sur Indiegogo pour “Le club des silencieux” | crowfunding for the “The Silent Club”

Nadine Otsobogo: Interview by/par Stéphanie Dongmo

Dialemi, de/by Nadine Otsobogo - une analyse du film | an analysis of the film par/by Mohamed Dagnoko

Nadine Otsobogo crée le Festival du Film de Masuku | Nadine Otsobogo creates the Film Festival of Masuku

Samantha Biffot (Gabon) : L'oeil de la cité | The Eye of the Town

Yveline Nathalie Pontalier : Le marechalat du roi-Dieu | The Marshal of the God-king

FESPACO 2013 - Nadine Otsobogo : Elle s'amuse | Dialemi | She's having fun

Nadine Otsobogo: The making of The Fish Bucket

A Conversation with Nadine Otsobogo


29 October 2020

Curating African Cinema - Film Africa 2020 Masterclass with Aseye Tamakloe, Katarina Hedrén, Nyambura M. Waruingi

Curating African Cinema - Film Africa 2020 Masterclass with Aseye Tamakloe, Katarina Hedrén, Nyambura M. Waruingi


Masterclass: Curating African Cinema
Sun 8 Nov | 11:00 | Zoom  | Donation £0-10

A masterclass on programming African cinema, delivered by the Co-Curators of Film Africa 2020.

This year’s selection of films at Film Africa mirrors the combined minds and sensibilities of three curators, based in three corners of Africa - Aseye Tamakloe in Accra, Ghana; Nyambura M. Waruingi in Nairobi, Kenya; and Katarina Hedrén in Johannesburg, South Africa. The films – feature-length and shorts, fiction and documentary – reflect a multitude of experiences, subject matters and styles, with stories unfolding on the African continent as well as in its Diaspora.

Join this masterclass about film curation approaches and sharing of experiences by our Film Africa 2020 Co-Curators - Aseye Tamakloe, who is also a filmmaker and lecturer in film, and Katarina Hedrén, who combines curation with film criticism. The exchange between them and the audience Q&A will be facilitated by the third Co-Curator, Nyambura M. Waruingi.


28 October 2020

Sierra Leonean Women of the Diaspora in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

 Sierra Leonean Women of the Diaspora in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Several Sierra Leonean women in film, visual media and screen culture are making important contributions to African world cinema from their diasporic locations in North America and Europe.

Mahen Bonetti, perhaps the most widely known, is founder and director of the African Film Festival in New York (AFF). In 2011 the AFF launched the Sierra Leone Cultural Conservation Project (CCP), which has as main objective, to establish an on-going sustainable media arts program in the country.

UK-based Victoria Marcellina Thomas has a keen in interest in the comedy genre, and while she is interested in Africa, her work centres on people and experiences in the UK.

Sierra Leonean-Canadian Ngardy Conteh focuses her lens on stories of the African Diaspora as well as her ancestral home.

Professor/filmmaker Nikyatu Jusu, born and raised in the United States, draws from both U.S. and Sierra Leonean experiences in her films. Her eclectic body of work spans diverse genres with black women and girls as the point of departure.

Born in the United States to parents who emigrated from Sierra Leone, scholar/cultural producer Nadia Sasso directed the film Am I: Too African to be American or Too American to be African?

In Sierra Leone, one of the most prominent initiatives introduced to train young people to tell their own stories through the moving image, is the WeOwnTV Media Centre. It launched its first program in the country in 2009 by facilitating a month-long filmmaking workshop for eighteen young men and women on the outskirts of the capital, Freetown. Since the initial workshop, a cadre of young people continues to produce stories of their experiences and communities with the technical support, encouragement and continued training of the organizers. Moreover, a visible number of women are among the emerging filmmakers.

Articles featuring Sierra Leonean women in cinema, visual media and screen culture on the African Women in Cinema Blog

“Am I: Too African to be American or Too American to be African?” a film by Sierra Leonean American Nadia Sasso
World Premiere: “The Flying Stars” by Ngardy Conteh George (Sierra Leone-Canada) and Allan Tong – 14 November 2014
A Conversation with Nikyatu Jusu
Mahen Bonetti: The New York African Film Festival
Victoria Marcellina Thomas: A Portrait

26 October 2020

Women of Niger in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Women of Niger
in Cinema, Visual Media
and Screen Culture

Niger counts as one of the early centers of cinema production on the continent, with pioneer Moustapha Alassane directing some of the first films.

Ethnologist and filmmaker Mariama Hima who was the first woman to direct a film in her country in the early 1980s, later held positions as museum director, politician and diplomat. She set the stage, especially as documentarian, for the women who followed and continue to produce films from the 1980s to the present.1

In the documentary Al’leessi…an African actress (2004), Rahmatou Keïta rekindles the flame of a once fledgling film industry. The vibrant works of the prolific filmmakers of Niger beginning in the mid-1960s are a mere footnote in African cinema history. Weaving the story of pioneer actress Zalika Souley, Keïta relates a parallel story, the history of the early cinema of Niger. Her purpose for making the film was to celebrate the elders of Niger cinema and elevate them to their rightful place as cinematic pioneers.

Zalika Souley, the “bad girl” of early cinema of Niger starred in numerous films. A significant highlight which is not a focus on her cinematic timeline, is her role on the founding committee of FEPACI in 1969. In 1989, she was elected as the president of the newly created L’Association des Actrices Africaines/The Association of African Actresses, in recognition of the role she played in asserting the value of women in the world of African cinema. Thirty years later, in 2019, at the Festival International du Film des Lacs et Lagune (Festilag) a tribute was made in her honor, at the first general assembly of African Actresses held at the festival.

Rakia Mango Idi who worked at the Office de la Radiodiffusion Télévision du Niger (ORTN) in the 1990s, directed three films: Femmes et exude, Le Langui, and Les Chasses touristes. Similarly, Zoulaha Abdou, who was also director at the ORTN, made the films, Le bilan des foyers améliorés, La mendicité and Journées portes ouvertes dans les établissements scolaires.2

Aïssatou Adamou had this to say about her evolution into visual media:
The National Television of Niger was established in 1978, as an educational television.  At the time, only experimental programs were shown. I was the first woman to work as television announcer.  I had many problems at the beginning, because a woman presented on television speaking to the public was not highly regarded. Initially, the public was critical of my public image on television.  However, this did not discourage me, because I had the encouragement of my parents and friends to persevere.  Gradually, people realized that women could work in the television industry just as well as men. They realized that there is no difference. Because of this gradual change in attitude, as the years passed, more women became interested in television.3

Twenty years later, the evolution of attitudes is especially evident. Aïcha Macky notes that mentalities are changing: My film talks about fertility, a taboo subject, like Amina Weira's film, which is about the consequences of uranium mining. These are situations that people experience. The State has understood the importance of the arts in changing mentalities. The Ministry of Culture has become a "cultural renaissance". She had this to say about her evolution into cinema and the state of cultural production in Niger: I come from a sociology background and so I fell into cinema somewhat like a fly in ointment. As a woman, I was perhaps lucky because I grew up in a mainly male environment: my games were those of boys, and I was never responsive to dolls, for example. I was also from an early age involved in cultural clubs where women knew how to assert their position. In Niger, the gender parity law of 2000 applies equally to appointed and elective positions. This, however, reinforces prejudices about the merits of women for promotions and I prefer to do cinema just as men do. The main difficulty is the lack of self-confidence. The Tuareg society is patriarchal and women can only be homemakers and care for the children, but things are changing. Most of the films [in Niger] are made by women. Zalika Souley was called every name in the book during her time: we are now evolving into a more open period. Cinema was viewed as a diversion made by immoral people, and yet the films presented in the local languages speak of social problems. The population quickly identified with them, to the point that there was an evolution in attitudes. Women in particular, make films about subjects that men have difficulty dealing with properly.4

In Anger in the Wind, Amina Weira travels to her hometown of Arlit in northern Niger, where she interviews the town’s residents about the negative environmental and health consequences of plutonium mining. French mining companies have mined uranium there since 1976. Today the region is contaminated, and large numbers of people have died young and suffer from chronic illnesses. Amina Wiera’s father, a retired uranium mineworker, is at the heart of this film. He shares his memories of 35 years spent in the mines.

Nana Hadiza Akawala obtained her Master 2 in documentary filmmaking at Gaston Berger University (UGB) in Saint Louis, Senegal. She also holds a Master 2 in Marketing and International Business Management. She was Director of Television Bonferey and Secretary General of the National Centre of Cinematography of Niger (CNCN). She is currently working at the Ministry of Cultural Renaissance of the Arts and Social Modernisation. In her film Bibata est partie, Nana Hadiza Akawala journeys to find the woman who worked for her family when she was an adolescent and whose departure, left a void in her life.

The TV series Une saison au Niger, released in 2019, is the first production under the designation "Nigerwood". Director Samira Seyni Djingo describes her work as "the cry of a people concerned about safeguarding their values"

Articles featuring Women of Niger in cinema, visual media and screen culture on the African Women in Cinema Blog 

Mariama Hima : Trailblazer and pioneer of cinema of Niger
Profile: Aïssatou Adamou
Rahmatou Keïta: Jìn'naariyâ! | L'alliance | The Golden Ring
Rahmatou Keïta : ‘The future of cinema is in Africa” | « L’avenir du cinéma est en Afrique »
The Fruitless Tree by Aïcha Macky
Les femmes font bouger les lignes - table-ronde, Festival des films d'Afrique en pays d'Apt 2016-with Aïcha Macky and Amina Weira
Anger in the Wind | La Colère dans le vent (2016) by/de Amina Weira (Niger)
Samira Djingo: on her series "A Season in Niger" | sur sa série « Une saison au Niger »
Nana Hadiza Akawala : Bibata est partie… (Bibata is gone)
New York African Film Festival 2021 Conversation with Amina Weira
New York African Film Festival 2021 Conversation with Amina Abdoulaye Mamani
Aicha Macky: Zinder
Aïcha Macky: using the power of the camera to give voice to her community and her country, Niger | se servir du pouvoir de la caméra pour faire entendre des voix de sa communauté et de son pays
The making of: Aïcha Macky, empowering girls through participatory video training | l’autonomisation des filles à travers la formation en vidéo participative

1. African Women of the Screen as Cultural Producers: An Overview by Country. Black Camera, An International Film Journal.
2. Najwa Tlili, Femmes d'Images de l'Afrique Francophone, (Vues d'Afrique, 1994).
3.Sisters of the Screen: Women of Africa on Film, Video and Television, Africa World Press, 2000.
4. Les femmes font bouger les lignes - table-ronde, Festival des films d'Afrique en pays d'Apt 2016.

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

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