Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo, Honorary President of the Galian Awards | Presidente d'honneur de de nuit des Galian (Burkina Faso) 23 Oct 2020
LIRE TEXTE SUR LES PRIX GALIAN EN FRANÇAIS CI-APRÈS
The main objective of the Galian Awards is to celebrate journalistic excellence and to promote journalists and professionals in the communication sector. As such, the initiative provides support to them in their daily work and helps them position their journalistic productions as well as the entire Burkinabè media landscape, among the best in Africa.
Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo, retired Journalist-Communicator, as well as filmmaker has to her credit, 33 years of successful service ... Holder of a Masters in International Business Law and a License in Audiovisual Sciences and Techniques, she respectively occupied the positions of Secretary General of the Ministry of 'Information, Inspector General of Services of the Ministry of Information, Technical Advisor to the Minister of Information, Technical Advisor to the Minister of Communication, Technical Advisor to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism.
Honorary president of the Galian 2020, she also has other professional experiences that has enhanced her professional career: Expertise in Participatory Communication for Development - CPD / CS; Expertise in developing a communication strategy and plan; Communication expertise for behavior change; Expertise in monitoring and evaluation, Expertise in communication technique, Expertise in Gender and Development and Marriage Counselor.
As part of her cinematographic experience, Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo has produced four (04) short films, one of which received a special prize at FESPACO 89. She is also the first and only woman Director of National Cinematography of Burkina Faso, the first and only woman president of the Board of Directors of FESPACO.
In addition, Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo is also the very first Director of the International African Cinema Market (MICA). Director representing the State Board of Directors of Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina (R.T.B.).
Besides her professional commitments, Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo is involved in various leisure activities.The rich career of Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo is crowned with several honorary distinctions: Knight of the National Order, Officer of the National Order, Commander of the Order of the Stallion. Through her choice as honorary president of Galian 2020, the Ministry of Communication and Relations with Parliament is paying tribute to this personality who has greatly contributed to the development of the media in Burkina Faso.
On this post I will take the opportunity to present excerpts from our interview in 1997 published in my book Sisters of the Screen: Women of Africa on Film, Video and Television, 2000--Beti Ellerson.
Beti Ellerson: Within the discourse on women and the cinema, there is much discussion about a woman's gaze or a woman's perspective. Do you feel that there is a certain sensibility that women bring to their films?
Aminata Ouedraogo: If you mean sensibility in the popular sense of the word, I would say yes, there is a certain woman's sensibility. Evidently, sensibility depends on the personality of each individual. The fact that we are women means that we have a sensibility that is different from men. And then, it depends on the subject…I think this sensibility spans all spheres…
However, when it comes to cinematic creativity, I do not think there are subjects that have especially a female orientation. I think women may treat any subject. There is no male or female subject matter. The subjects are the same and we treat them according to the message that we want to get across, for the reasons that drive us to do the film. Whether we are women or men, we may deal with any subject, but it is true that the process would be different.
Even if we were to take into account the nature, character, or the treatment of a subject, the process would be different according to the person. Take for instance a written essay. When you give a topic to a class of twenty-five students, you will receive twenty-five different ways of treating the same topic. It is informed by the person's temperament and individuality.
However, I do not feel that there is a subject that is designated only for women. Moreover, I think that it is also up to us women to rectify this impression. To use the term "feminist film" or "woman's cinema" does not mean that there is a cinema exclusively for women. When there is a minority, it is always this minority which has to speak out, to protest or make a call for action. It is simply due to the fact that in the field of cinema there are not many women. People have always thought that cinema was a male profession. Thus, attitudes had to change, there had to be a great deal of evolution, and women had to be encouraged to go into film..."Women's films" or "images of women" as a concept must be interpreted in a positive way, and not in a sense that will ghettoize or pigeonhole women because they have made a certain film.
I do not know if you are familiar with the filmmaker Kitia Touré. He made a film and, though a man made it, it made a significant proclamation to women. It spoke of the role of the woman in the home, the household, as educator of the children, and he also addressed women's negligence in certain areas. Though it is a film open to criticism, it is a positive film. One must look at it and discuss it. Yes, the film was an expression of his sensibilities, and though there are questions that may be posed about it, there is still something valuable that can come from it.
When one speaks of "women's films, it is principally to let people know that in the area of cinematic creativity, there are women, women make films—not women's films, but films made by women and this must be encouraged. It is equally important that women enter in this domain.
In the area of film criticism, there is much discussion about the visual representation of women. What are your impressions of the image of women in African cinema?
I think that people focus too much on the image of the woman. I do not think that initially filmmakers really made their films thinking, "I must have a 'feminine' presence." Human beings are composed of man and woman. The woman is everywhere, so you cannot make a film without her. There are two images, a positive image and a negative image.
Let us take the film La noire de... as an example, the position of maid in our culture, at least in Burkina Faso, is held by girls. In Europe—though I am not in a position to talk about it in a detailed way—generally women are the maids. It is for that reason that [in French] they are called femmes de ménage, because one thinks that housework is women's work. Nowadays we see men doing housework. One can also do a film where a man does the housework, and then ask men how they view the image of men.
However, in general, I think that we have certain images because men are the ones who have made films. They are behind the camera, and women are in front of the camera. I do not think this was a preconceived idea, it was not consciously done.
We do see African films where the woman's body is objectified. There is no apparent reason for the nudity or the specific attention that her body is given....
It is true there have been male filmmakers who have used the woman as an object of pleasure, and that is due also to the influence of Western films that they see. It is in the West that we see the woman nude, the woman kissing a man, the woman making love with a man on the screen. Individuals can be influenced and filmmakers are also influenced, because we see these films on television, on the screens, and these are films that are commercialized to make money. Films that are now being made have been influenced by these images in order to be sold.
In Africa, sexuality is not banalized as it is in the West. There is modesty and a sense of respect. This distinction must be understood. Westerners think that it is because we are "primitive" and "uncivilized" —and of course I ask, "civilized in relationship to what?"—or not liberated or evolved that we don't view sex in a banal, common way. Nevertheless, it is a question of understanding. In their societies it is acceptable, and they do it. In our societies, we do not. In addition, I totally disagree with the notion that we must imitate them. I do not see how that helps us. When we think it is useful or good for our population, we will do it. We do not take all from the West; we take what is good and leave what is not. I do not see at this stage of our evolution, of our civilization, that these images are actually good for us.
Some will say that it is because it is not allowed or because we do not make these kinds of films that people want to see sex. We can show sexuality, but it is how it is shown. There is a way of portraying it. To go even further, I will note that in Europe today, unwanted pregnancies are not known as they are in Africa. The practice of abandoning infants is not known in Europe as it is in Africa. The young Western woman who becomes pregnant, wants to become pregnant. She has decided what she wants, she knows her body, she knows what sexuality is, and she goes into sexual relationships aware of the consequences. She lives her life freely.
How many parents here in Africa talk about sexuality with their children? We must first start to speak about sexuality correctly with our children, without resorting to vulgarity. We can speak with them about any subject because we are their parents. We are the ones who have a direct interest and are the only ones who can tell the truth and speak objectively to our children. No one else can do it for us. Parents must prepare their children for this and not let them learn about life from the exterior, through films and television shows. Though I am mainly talking about girls, I include boys as well—because respect for the girl cannot happen if the boy does not know that he is supposed to respect her. There is a lot of work that has to be done and ground that must be covered.
What part do women play as filmmakers?
We who create, who are behind the camera, who want to get a message across, whether we are women or men, if we want to use women, it is not sex that should be the dominant feature. Nothing in particular adds to a film or enhances it by using sex; on the contrary, it often does a disservice to the film. If you were to ask people what kinds of films they would like for the youth, they would readily say educational films. The violent or risqué films are not as popular, though people do watch them privately. It has to be discussed because each person has a point of view on the subject.
I am a filmmaker, but I do not know if a film with a black woman or white woman used as an object of pleasure would be a subject that I would want to focus on one day. Perhaps if I were to do so it would be done in a manner much more respectable, more subtle, without—if I can express myself in this way—lowering myself, as I have seen done in other films, and I don't agree with this portrayal in these films.
You have raised some interesting points in the context of images of women. I do not often hear or read film criticism by African women or critiques of images or films by African women. African women as film critics are not very visible, at least not to me in the United States. Does a visible film criticism by African women exist here on the continent? If so, how does it manifest itself? If not, do you see it emerging?
Of course, it will come. Do you know why you do not see African women in the area of film criticism? Because in the film arena in general women are not well represented. And as long as this is the case, there will not be women visible in the various spheres within the field of cinema. When women enter in larger numbers in these different areas, you will then see women film critics doing objective criticism and analysis of films. It is not because you have not seen any that there are none. If you were to attend the debates that take place after the film screenings during FESPACO, you would see that when women take the microphone to talk they do critique the films that they have seen, they give their opinions about the films that they have just seen. Perhaps there are no written essays, but there is a critique.
To return to what I said earlier about African films and even Western films where women are used as objects of pleasure, this is not the image that we want of women. When making a film there is often more emphasis on women than men, and I do feel that it is done unconsciously, because what actually attracts people's attention is the woman. A man may pass by nude and it will not be as shocking as the same scene with a woman. People will turn to look because it is a woman.
Women are symbols and represent something for a society, no matter what society. Women inspire respect and consideration. If a woman lowers herself to a certain level, it is shocking to a society. It is also a rejection of that society. I think it is in this way that the image of women should be interpreted. Fundamentally, the image of woman is positive. We must not render it negative, whether we are women or men; I am speaking of the society in general. We must insist on this.
What do you see as the future of the organization of African women in cinema?
The project that we are working on at the moment, and that was one of the objectives at the time, is to compile an index of women in the cinema. This document will include a list of women filmmakers and their needs, a list of the names of partners, a list of organizations who are interested in promoting women and their works, a filmography of works by women, a list of organizations that are interested in the promotion of women, and a list of the various festivals.
Since the first meeting, at each subsequent FESPACO we have met to talk about the association, and to support the women. It is a slow process, it is true, and there is even the impression that we are not doing much; but in reality the association does work, and we see an increasing number of women just about in every sphere of the cinema.
We are working towards the promotion of women in cinema. If you read the revue Ecrans d'Afrique/African Screen, you will notice that each time that a woman has done something, we talk about her, we promote her work. However, the work that we do is not yet visible today. The Italian organization, Centro Orientamento Educativo (COE), based in Milan, also plans to do something regarding African women. In 1996, in Harare, we had a women's workshop and the women of Zimbabwe have formed an association. Every time the opportunity comes, we must seize it. Though it is not only up to women to do this work, men too must do it because the work that we do benefits everybody, men as well as women.
And you, in terms of the work that you are doing, you are in some way a mouthpiece. Others will know that this association exists and that there are women filmmakers, editors, scriptwriters, and other women in the cinema. Consequently, more people will know about African women in the cinema and about the films made by women.
Presidente d'honneur de de nuit des Galian (Burkina Faso) 23 Oct 2020
Les Prix Galian ont pour objectif principal de célébrer l’excellence journalistique et de donner du souffle aux journalistes et aux professionnels du secteur de la communication. A ce titre, ils les accompagnent dans leur travail quotidien et les aide à positionner leurs productions journalistiques mais aussi l’ensemble du paysage médiatique burkinabè parmi les meilleurs d’Afrique.
Aminata Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo, Journaliste-Communicatrice à la retraite, mais aussi cinéaste, a à son actif, 33 années de bons et loyaux services… Titulaire d’une maîtrise en droit des Affaires Internationales et d’une Licence en Sciences et Techniques de l’Audiovisuel, elle occupera respectivement les postes de Secrétaire Générale du Ministère de l’Information, d’Inspectrice Générale des Services du Ministère de l’Information, de Conseiller Technique du Ministre de l’Information, de Conseiller Technique du Ministre de la Communication, de Conseiller Technique du Ministre de la Culture des Arts et du Tourisme.
Celle qui est présidente d’honneur des Galian 2020 a aussi connu bien d’autres expériences professionnelles qui lui ont permis d’alimenter son background : Expertise en Communication Participative pour le Développement – CPD/CS ; Expertise en élaboration de stratégie et plan de communication ; Expertise en communication pour le changement de comportement ; Expertise en suivi et évaluation, Expertise en technique de communication, Expertise en Genre et Développement et Conseillère Conjugale.
Au titre de son expérience cinématographique, Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo a, à son actif, quatre (04) courts métrages dont un a reçu un prix spécial au FESPACO 89. Elle est aussi la 1ère et unique femme Directrice de la Cinématographie Nationale du Burkina Faso, 1ère et unique Femme Présidente du Conseil d’Administration du FESPACO.
Et ce n’est pas tout. Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo est également la toute 1ère Directrice du Marché International du Cinéma Africain (MICA). Administrateur représentant l’Etat Conseil d’Administration de la Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina (R.T.B.).
A côté de ses engagements professionnels, Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo meuble son quotidien de loisirs divers. Membres de plusieurs associations de la Société civile, elle a un penchant pour le Scoutisme, le Guidisme le Secourisme, mais aussi pour les sports tels que le Volley Ball, le tennis et le football.
La belle et riche carrière de Aminata Ouedraogo/Bakayogo est couronnée de plusieurs distinctions honorifiques : Chevalier de l’Ordre national, Officier de l’ordre national, Commandeur de l’Ordre de l’Etalon. A travers son choix comme présidente d’honneur des Galian 2020, le ministère de la Communication et des relations avec le Parlement rend ainsi hommage à cette personnalité qui a fortement contribué au développement des médias au Burkina Faso.
Source: Galian Prix Facebook Page