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


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28 February 2021

Fespaco: Formation, Evolution, Challenges - Black Camera. An International Film Journal. Fall 2020

Black Camera
An International Film Journal
Fespaco:  Formation, Evolution, Challenges

Volume 12, Number 1, Fall 2020
African Cinema: Manifesto & Practice for Cultural Decolonization

PART I: Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO): Formation, Evolution, Challenges
Published by
Indiana University Press
Table of Contents

Ardiouma Soma
pp. 1-4

Gaston J.M. Kaboré, Michael T. Martin
pp. 5-9
African Film Festivals in Africa: Curating "African Audiences" for "African Films"
Lindiwe Dovey
pp. 12-47
On Tracking World Cinema: African Cinema at Film Festivals
Manthia Diawara
pp. 48-58
African Women on the Film Festival Landscape
Beti Ellerson
pp. 59-89

African Cinema in the Tempest of Minor Festivals
Sambolgo Bangré
pp. 90-94
Postcolonial Film Collaboration and Festival Politics
Dorothee Wenner
pp. 95-104
African Cinema and Festivals: FESPACO
Manthia Diawara
pp. 106-116
FESPACO—Promoting African Film Development and Scholarship
M. Africanus Aveh
pp. 117-128
FESPACO and Cultural Valorization
Mahir Şaul
pp. 129-132
African Cinema: Between the "Old" and the "New"
Mbye Cham
pp. 133-139
Statement at Ouagadougou (1979)
Ousmane Sembène
pp. 140-156
A Name Is More Than the Tyranny of Taste
Wole Soyinka
pp. 157-170
Cine-Agora Africana: Meditating on The Fiftieth Anniversary Of FESPACO
Aboubakar Sanogo
pp. 171-183
Cultural Politics of Production and Francophone West African Cinema: FESPACO 1999
Teresa Hoefert de Turégano
pp. 184-199
A Mirage in the Desert? African Women Directors at FESPACO
Claire Andrade-Watkins
pp. 200-207
The Long Take: Gaston Kaboré on the Formation, Evolution & Challenges to FEPACI & FESPACO
Michael T. Martin
pp. 208-236
Pressing Revelations: Notes on Time at FESPACO or The Memory of the Future
Rod Stoneman
pp. 237-244
Fifty Years of Women's Engagement at FESPACO
Beti Ellerson
pp. 245-254
Thiaroye or Yeelen? The Two Ways of African Cinemas
Férid Boughedir
pp. 255-259
Long Live Cinema!: Long Live FESPACO. A luta continua
Claire Diao
pp. 260-264

Rethinking FESPACO as an Echo
Michel Amarger
pp. 265-267
Going to the Cinema in Burkina Faso
Mustapha Ouedgraogo
pp. 268-275
FESPACO and Its Many Afterlives
Sheila Petty
pp. 276-281
FESPACO Film Festival
Colin Dupré
pp. 282-286

Towards Reframing FESPACO
Imruh Bakari
pp. 288-300

FESPACO Past and Future: Voices from the Archive
June Givanni
pp. 301-314

The Opening of South Africa and the Future of African Film
Mahir Şaul
pp. 315-319
FESPACO 2019: Moving Toward Resurrection
Olivier Barlet, Chloe Farrell
pp. 320-336

Fifty Years of Memories for Shaping the Future!
Rémi Abéga
pp. 337-339

pp. 341-452
Resolution on the Pan-African Film Festival of Ougadougou (FESPACO)
pp. 454-455

Regulations of the Carthage Film Festival
pp. 456-462

Regulations of the Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO)
pp. 463-466

Regulations for the Official Juries of the 26th Edition of FESPACO
pp. 467-468

FESPACO Award Winners (1972–2019)
pp. 469-472

FESPACO 50th Anniversary Symposium
pp. 473-478

Manifesto of Ouagadougou
pp. 479-483

FESPACO Poster Gallery: 1969–2019
pp. 484-499

Organizing Themes of the FESPACO Festival: 1973–2019
pp. 500-501

Major Events of FESPACO: 1969–2019
pp. 502-504

The African Film Library of Ouagadougou
pp. 505-509

Paul Robeson Award Initiative – Inaugural Program (2005)
pp. 510-536

24 February 2021

New York African Film Festival 2021: Amina Weira discusses "La Colère dans le vent | Anger in the Wind"

New York African Film Festival 2021: Amina Weira discusses "La Colère dans le vent | Anger in the Wind"
From her studio, Amina Weira discusses her trajectory into filmmaking, her experiences with making the film Anger in the Wind (2016), about the impact on the environment and the population of Arlit confronted with the exploitation of the uranium by the mining company Areva.
"When I went to visit the mines with my father…what I saw disturbed me…I discovered…the dangers associated with this activity, environmental and health-wise. In particular the exposure to radioactivity...I realized that the mine emits radioactivity which is harmful to our health…"
"It was to express anger through the wind, the anger of the population…but it is the extent of the danger that awaits the population…and the violence of the wind is the sandstorm which comes to invade the whole city…"
Image: Screen capture

23 February 2021

Amina Magazine at FESPACO 1991 - Women, Cinema, Television and Video in Africa - a retrospective

Amina Magazine at FESPACO 1991

"Women, Cinema, Television and Video in Africa”

a retrospective

Thirty years ago, the May 1991 issue of Amina Magazine devoted a section to the coverage of events of the historic meeting of African women film professionals held at the 12th edition of Fespaco in Ouagadougou. As part of the festival programme, the gathering was organized under the title "Women, Cinema, Television and Video in Africa”. In addition the magazine feature some of the women who participated.

Articles by Assiatou Bah Diallo from the May 1991 issue. Translation from French.

Les femmes à la recherche d’un nouveau souffle | Women in search of a new momentum


During its 12th edition, the Pan-African film festival of Ouagadougou paid homage to African women professionals in cinema, television and video. The workshop entitled, "Women, Cinema, Television and Video in Africa” brought together some 50 women from more than 15 countries. At the start of the event, an announcement: “all non-African women please leave the room”. A crisis of identity provoked confusion, disappointment and incomprehension among the participants. Is the Black diaspora African? “This reception, it seems to me, could be avoided if we get into the habit of identifying ourselves with a Black nation…”

After the bedlam of the first day, the women succeeded in coming together to identify their needs, to put into action a preliminary structure, to launch an appeal to FEPACI and to outline a declaration.

What is necessary in order for women to find their rightful place in creation and production within the audiovisual sectors? What are the best ways to deliver these ideas into actions? What are the priorities and, concretely, what are the desired outcomes?

Le pari audacieux de Chantal Bagilishya | Chantal Bagilishya’s daring challenge 


Chantal Bagilishya is the only African woman in the Francophone world to gravitate to the area of producer: “it’s a nightmare, you have to be a bit crazy to work in this very volatile métier.” After the political events that shook Rwanda in 1959-60, Chantal and the entire Bagilishya family followed the first wave of Tutsi immigration. She lived in Zaire for 5 years, followed by 2 years in Burundi before joining her doctor father, her mother and seven brothers and sisters in Bordeaux in 1968. After secondary education, she studied journalism in Bordeaux with the famous writer and journalist Robert Escarpit. Not by vocation, but as the only means to gain access in the audiovisual field. Which is why all of her university studies focused on African cinema. Why this interest in the 7th art? Was it a way to direct her imagination towards Africa?

Aminata Ouedraogo, coordinatrice de l’atelier des femmes | Aminata Ouedraogo, coordinator of the women’s workshop


Anne Knuth, Bons baisers du Zimbabwe | Anne Knuth, from Zimbabwe with love


Anne Mungai, le fleuron du cinéma kenyan | Anne Mungai, the pride of Kenyan cinema


Susy Landau, son festival à le vent en poupe | Susy Landau, her festival breezing ahead


Le parcours de Seipati Bulang Hopa | Seipati Bulang Hopa’s cinematic journey 


Flora M’Mbugu-Schelling: vive la solidarité féminine | Flora M’Mbugu-Schelling: Long live solidarity among women

Director, producer, distributor, I mainly make films about women, because I am a woman, and I believe I have a story to tell. A different story from the one told so far by men.


Since African films are view more often abroad than in Africa, I thought it was time that our own people see them. So I created a distribution company whose aim is to serve as a library of African films and those of women from around the world. And I hope that in the near future, UNICEF, UNESCO etc. will assist us in raising awareness among young people about film professions by showing our films in schools.


It is crucial that we stop improvising and work towards professional training in all areas from directing to film criticism.


In my films, I give women the chance to speak, to finally write their own story: to tell the world how she lives, what she thinks, and the life she looks forward to.


About the workshop for professional women in film:

The meeting is historic. For the very first time, actresses, directors and producers have come together to identify our needs and to prepare for the future of African women in this profession. Our demands are clear: we want the same treatment as men, especially in terms of financing.


Clarisse Keita se fait l’écho des comédiennes | Clarisse Keita vibrates among actresses


La “Cousine Angèle va à l’essentiel” | “Cousine Angèle goes for the essential


La nudité dans le cinéma africain. Quand le nu chasse le beau | Nudity in African cinema. When nudity drives away the beauty


Also see report on the historic meeting:

30 Years Moving Forward: The Professionalization of African Women of the Moving Image

30 Years Moving Forward: The Professionalization of African Women of the Moving Image

2021 marks the 30-year anniversary of the historic meeting of African women film professionals held at the 12th edition of Fespaco in Ouagadougou. In 1991, as part of the festival programme, the gathering was organized under the title "Women, Cinema, Television and Video in Africa”.

The principle objectives were: to establish an environment to exchange views, to create a framework for free expression, to elaborate an action program, to fast-track women’s integration at all levels of the cinematic process, to present a woman’s perspective of the world, to have power over their own images, to mobilize funds and human resources.

During this historic meeting the participants formulated strategies for the professionalization of African women of the moving image and for effective leadership as directors, producers, organizers, actors, critics and other filmmaking professionals. Hence, setting in motion the groundwork for what would become the visual media network called L'Association des femmes africaines professionnelles du cinéma, de la télévision et de la vidéo/The Association of Professional African Women in Cinema, Television and Video.

The momentum of this moment forged an enduring movement, cultivating an African women’s cinema culture throughout these past three decades; towards the empowerment of women in all realms on the cinematic landscape. The concretization of many of these ideas provided the requisite tools for their implementation on local, regional, continental and international levels. The fruits of these efforts are particularly visible in the institutions that form the future generations of professionals of visual media. Moreover, the recent initiatives from Africa of the past several years demonstrate both the potentially important role of the Internet, social media and new technologies, and the genuine effort to galvanize this energy in order to globalize the experiences of African women of the moving image.

The May 1991 issue of Amina Magazine devoted a section to the coverage of events of the Fespaco meeting featuring some of the women who participated. Follow link:

Image: Poster of the 1991 Women's Meeting, from the African Women in Cinema Collection

19 February 2021

Marycate Masilela: South African Content Creator, YouTuber

Marycate Masilela
South African Content Creator, YouTuber

The African Women in Cinema Blog regularly features African women makers' engagement with ever-evolving New Media technologies and the empowering and expansive influences on their work. Especially influential is the user-generated online video sharing and viewing social media platform YouTube. South African content creator Marycate Masilela incorporates myriad social media platforms to showcase the diversity of South African screen culture. The YouTube Channel includes interviews, film reviews and her own journey via vlogs.

Visit her YouTube Channel at:
Image source: YouTube Marycate Masilela

18 February 2021

African Diasporas. Aïssa Maïga: "Regard Noir" about representation of Black Women on the Screen | La representation des femmes noires à l'écran - March 16 on Canal+

Aïssa Maïga: "Regard Noir" about representation of Black Women on the Screen | La representation des femmes noires à l'écran - March 16 on Canal+

En français : Aïssa Maïga sort un documentaire []

Activist and actress Aïssa Maïga passes behind the camera with her first film "Regard Noir", co-directed with Isabelle Simeoni. The film journeys to Brazil, the USA and France tracing the representation of black women on the screen. Broadcast on Canal+, the film debuts on March 16.

Image: lemediaplus


Read also on the African Women in Cinema Blog

Black is not my profession - 16 Black French actresses collectively publish a book

Influential Women – Aïssa Maïga, Actress: "Read. Think. Create." An interview by Pamela Pianezza

Être actrice noire en France: (dé)jouer les imaginaires par/by LUCIE ANDRÉ [To Be a Black Actress in France: (un)playing imaginaries]

17 February 2021

Dolapo Adeleke's "Just in Time" on Netflix, March 2021

Dolapo Adeleke's Just in Time on Netflix

Just in Time, written, directed and co-produced by Nigerian filmmaker Dolapo "LowlaDee" Adeleke, premieres on Netflix in March 2021. The comedy drama, shot in Nairobi, features Kenyan actress, Sarah Hassan who is the producer.
Dolapo Adeleke directed the popular romantic comedy Plan B, broadcast on YouTube as a Valentine Movie Special in 2019, produced by Sarah Hassan.
In 2016 she directed her first mini-series This Is It, bringing together a Nigerian and Kenyan cast. With YouTube as its broadcast platform, it has garnered millions of views.
Dolapo Adeleke is the CEO/Founder of LowlaDee Originals Inc. and the Cofounder of Giraffe Productions, Nairobi.

Plan B on YouTube []

This Is It on YouTube []

16 February 2021

The CNA, Cinéma Numérique Ambulant Afrique (Mobile Digital Cinema-Africa) : facing the challenges of/face à la COVID-19

The CNA, Cinéma Numérique Ambulant Afrique (Mobile Digital Cinema-Africa) : facing the challenges of/face à la COVID-19

From the CNA Newsletter August 2020 (translation from French): Le  Cinéma Numérique Ambulant Afrique (Mobile Digital Cinema-Africa) : facing the challenges of Covid-19.

Interviews with the CNA Afrique president Kadidia Sidibe, who is also president of CNA Mali and Stéphanie Dongmo, president of CNA Cameroon.

Interview with Kadidia Sidibe

The CNA is an international network of not-for-profit associations. The CNA Afrique, headquartered in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, is present in 10 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali,  Niger,  Senegal,  Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Central Africa and France). Committed to the rights of the artist (copyright laws) CNA Africa is dedicated to the distribution of (subtitled) African and European cinemas as it relates to Culture and Development.

Presentation of the structure and the different activities currently in progress.

Established in Mali in 2004 with a European Union-grant, the CNA Mali is a cultural association that presents films to populations, in both rural and urban areas (cities and villages, in public spaces or university campuses, etc.) regardless of the social status of the beneficiaries. Its motto is “CINEMA FOR ALL, CINEMA EVERYWHERE. "

What has been the impact of Covid-19 on your activities?

Our activities have been on pause since the start of Covid-19 in March. Gatherings of more that 50 people are prohibited, as a result our projects have been postponed or actually cancelled. We are obliged to limit our spending to essential expenditures only.  If these measures continue to be enforced based on the evolution of the situation, a technical layoff will have to be imposed on half of the staff, and they will be given notice in time to adjust to the situation.

What strategies employed currently as a result of the health crisis?

There is not much work at the moment. We made proposals to our various partners but due to the [Covid-related] measures adopted by the authorities, there has been no favorable response at the moment. We have tried to be innovative but the feedback from donors is rather hesitant, not to go as far as saying non-existent.

What are some of the proposals to remedy the situation and to work better in this context?

Among other things, we have submitted scenarios for the production of short films to raise awareness regarding Covid-19. There are ongoing discussions but we are still waiting for something concrete. As for future projections, they are slow to come. Nonetheless, we are continuing to discuss possible research for solutions so that common projects can be implemented but that too seems to have not garnered results.

Interview with Stéphanie Dongmo

Presentation of the structure and the different activities currently in progress.

Created in January 2012, the CNA Cameroon is headquartered in Yaoundé. It organizes an average of 150 screenings per year for audiences who do not generally have access to the arts and culture.
Since September 2019, the CNA has led the “Cine-debate for peace” project with the support of "Culture at Work" and the co-financing of the European Union in the regions most affected by the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, in particular the North-West, South-West, West, Littoral and Central. The first phase of this project consisted of the creation of "micro-sidewalks" in which the populations of the five regions of the project give their opinion on this crisis which has lasted for three years, and talk about how their lives continue to be affected. These "micro-sidewalks" were then broadcast in forty localities of the target regions, which triggered debates on cultural diversity, living together and peace.

The second phase entails the organization of three conferences on peace. The first in Yaoundé, the second in Douala and the third in Dschang. Professionals in the culture sector, community leaders, heads of organizations working in the field, religious leaders… will reflect on solutions to end the crisis and the construction of peace, beyond lines of division.

The second project we are working on is an awareness campaign on sexual and reproductive health in the Noun department, in western Cameroon, in partnership with the NGO Médecins du monde Suisse. This project was interrupted due to Covid-19, but we are working to relaunch it.

How has Covid-19 affected your activities?

Because of Covid 19 we were forced to stop all our activities. We can no longer meet deadlines, we are obliged to resort to amendments. For three long months, we could not work and our projection team came to a standstill. 
What are strategies employed currently as a result of the health crisis?

We plan to organize screenings in movie theaters starting in August, with a maximum of 50 participants in order to adhere to the measures enforced by the Cameroonian government. We will respect social distancing by placing the spectators at least 1 meter apart, by requiring that masks be worn in order to participate in the activity and ensuring that everyone washes their hands when entering the space. We will also integrate Covid-19 awareness into our activities.

What are some of the proposals to remedy the situation and to work better in this context?

Digital technology and social networks have proven to be a powerful tool for communication and for maintaining social ties during this period. This should be taken into account in our future projects.

09 February 2021

New York African Film Festival 2021: "Min Alesh?" by Amleset Muchie

Amleset Muchie
Min Alesh?
2019 - Fiction - 84mins

Set in Merkato, a sprawling, open-air market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Min Alesh? tells the inspiring story of 21-year-old Selam, whose perseverance transforms her life for the better. Having grown up amid poverty and hardships, Selam is determined to change her and her family’s circumstances through her passion for running. An international race offers her a chance to achieve her dream.

More information:

Ethiopian filmmaker and actress Amleset Muchie joins film producer Selma Idris in a discussion about Amleset's film, "Min Alesh?"

08 February 2021

The passing of Moufida Tlatli - Décès de Moufida Tlatli (1947 - 2021)


The passing of Moufida Tlatli - Décès de Moufida Tlatli  (1947 - 2021)

La réalisatrice scénariste et monteuse Moufida Tlatli est décédée, le 7 février, à l’âge de 74 ans, a annoncé la presse tunisienne. Née en 1947, Moufida Tlatli a étudié le cinéma à Paris, avant de travailler à la télévision française comme scénariste et directrice de production.

De retour en Tunisien en 1972, elle reçoit d’abord une distinction de mérite pour l’ensemble des années passées comme monteuse, avant de connaître le succès avec le film « Commentira awwalane », et de s’intéresser ensuite à la réalisation et signer son premier long métrage « Les silences du palais » en 1994.

Filmmaker, scriptwriter, film editor Moufida Tlatli died the 7th of February at the age of 74, the Tunisian press announced. Born in 1947, Moufida Tlatli studied cinema in Paris before working at the French television as screenwriter and director of production. 

Upon on her return to Tunisia in 1972, she received a distinction of merit for the ensemble of her time as film editor, before attaining success with the film "Commentira awwalane" and later, she pursued her interest in directing, with her first feature film "Silences of the palace" in 1994.

Source: Image & Texte: El Watan

"Black Women Disrupt the Web", a multi-country web series competition and call for entries

See the Semi-Finalist announced April 9, 2021 (afterward original post)
For Immediate Release:
Five Black Women Writer-Directors To Be Featured in Original Web Series Showcase:
Imagining Black Futures
January 29, 2021 (Atlanta, USA and Cape Town, South Africa) - ​Black Women Disrupt, along with Antoinette Engel and Dylan Valley, an international collaborative dedicated to uplifting Black women creatives and entrepreneurs, is announcing a new project: ​Black Women Disrupt the Web (BWDW)​. This is a global competition to produce an original web series showcase. The call for entries aims to attract proposals from Black women writer-directors from Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, and South Africa for three (3) three-minute episodes providing new perspectives on the theme, ​“Imagining Black Futures”.
Black women from Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, and South Africa are invited to submit original proposals for a fictional web series between February 1st and March 1st. A selection committee will choose five (5) semi-finalists to receive dedicated mentorship, production funding, professional development and inclusion in a global, online, web series showcase that will be evaluated by an esteemed panel of judges in July. The winner will receive a cash prize alongside support in navigating distribution, networking events, markets and festivals.
“The goal is to​ ​celebrate the richness of a broader and multilingual African diaspora and to raise its visibility worldwide through outstanding works of fiction film content made available on the web.” ​Zakiya Carr Johnson, Founder, Black Women Disrupt
Black Women Disrupt the Web​ seeks to elevate interest and investment in content created by Black women from the African continent as well as the African diaspora in the Americas, Europe and around the world. Through an accessible online showcase in several languages, the collective will connect communities using new platforms to share stories, engage in dialogue and explore economic empowerment.
"Web series as its own particular form of internet-based television has broadened and transformed the film and TV landscape. Web series have lower barriers to entry, and as such Black women creators (shout out Issa Rae!) who would have normally been marginalised in the mainstream, have gone on to transform what the mainstream looks like." ​Dylan Valley, Filmmaker
Black Women Disrupt the Web​ will partner with a VOD platform for a global showcase of the final content. The competition will offer an online Master Class series for applicants, as well as access to the Black Women Disrupt network, resources and special online events. Each of the five semi-finalists will be matched with mentors to guide them in script development, production and post-production, as well as the basics of industry business and marketing. ​Black Women Disrupt the Web​ will document the process of each submission, from editing through to the final cut and into festival participation and promotion. Virtual panels, workshops, events and communication opportunities will raise the visibility of the finalist, who will be awarded a package that includes distribution support and a cash prize.
COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the world and disproportionately affected Black communities, laying bare the existing inequities and divides in our societies. ​Black Women Disrupt​ (U.S.) alongside filmmaker ​Dylan Valley​ and producer ​Antoinette Engel ​(South Africa), recognize that artists in particular have been dealt a severe blow, specifically those in the film industry which requires extensive on-site collaboration. Yet many artists continue to produce work and create solutions to our ‘new normal’ under the strict but necessary social distancing guidelines.
Go to the announcement at BLACK WOMEN DISRUPT for schedule of events and additional information:
Semi-Finalist announced April 9, 2021
Black Women Disrupt the Web: Imagining Black Futures

Brazil - JOYCE CURSINO presents Resiliência
Colombia - ZULAY KARINA RIASCOS ZAPATA presents Permiso de Ausencia
Kenya - KAROLINA WAMBUI presents Diary Of A Girl Who Use Matatu (Bus) On A Daily
South Africa - THINA ZIBI presents Is Three A Crowd?
South Africa - NOMAWONGA KHUMALO presents Intsangu: The Weed

07 February 2021

New York African Film Festival 2021 - Visions of Africa: discussion with Gaston Kaboré, Ngozi Onwurah, Amjad Abu Alala and Hlumela Matika moderated by June Givanni

New York African Film Festival 2021 - Visions of Africa: discussion with Gaston Kaboré, Ngozi Onwurah, Amjad Abu Alala and Hlumela Matika moderated by June Givanni

NYAFF Free Zoom Talk: Visions of Africa

To celebrate the 28th NYAFF and Black History Month, join the special panel discussion on the past, present, and future of African cinema with the filmmakers Gaston Kaboré (Wend Kuuni; Buud Yam), Ngozi Onwurah (The Body Beautiful, Shoot the Messenger), Amjad Abu Alala (You Will Die at Twenty) and Hlumela Matika (Tab). Moderated by curator and scholar June Givanni.


06 February 2021

31st Annual Cascade Festival of African Films 2021 (USA) - Featuring Women Filmmakers Week

 31st Annual Cascade Festival of African Films 2021

A Virtual Online Festival in Celebration of
Black History Month
5  February - 10 March
Women Filmmakers Week
4 - 10 March

This year, the festival will be held virtually. Read the FAQs about watching films in the virtual format.

Download Calendar

The Cascade Festival of African Films is the longest running  annual, non-profit, non-commercial, largely volunteer-run African Film Festival in the United States.

The Cascade Festival of African Films shows us Africa through the eyes of Africans, rather than a vision of Africa packaged for Western viewers. The films celebrate Africa’s achievements, expose its failures, and reveal possibilities for a hopeful future. Although the films cannot represent an entire continent, we hope to encourage American viewers to become interested in and study African cultures.

Source-Text and Image: Cascade Festival of African Films

New York African Film Festival 2021: Spotlight on Fanta Régina Nacro

New York African Film Festival 2021: Spotlight on Fanta Régina Nacro

A spotlight on trailblazer Fanta Régina Nacro from Burkina Faso features several of her short films:
A Certain Morning/Un certain matin (1991)
Bintou (2001)
Konaté's Gift (1997)
Puk Nini (1995)
Follow link to:
New York African Film Festival

Film at Lincoln Center's Virtual Cinema

Fanta Régina Nacro in Conversation with Yvonne Pambo

04 February 2021

New York African Film Festival 2021: Invisible Husband / Un invisible mari by Hawa Aliou N'Diaye

Hawa Aliou N'Diaye
Invisible Husband / Un invisible mari
2020 - Documentary - 68mins

Malian filmmaker Hawa Aliou N’Diaye believes that she is possessed by a jinn. In this documentary, she interviews other women in her community who also believe that they are controlled by jinn, which in some cases claim to be their husbands. Delving into Malian traditions and myths, N’Diaye explores the ethereal dimensions of the world around her.

Source (Text and Image):

New York African Film Festival:
Film at Lincoln Center :
Q&A with Hawa Aliou N'Diaye

The 28th New York African Film Festival - Virtual Edition 2021 - Notes from Home: Recurring Dreams and Women's Voices

The 28th New York African Film Festival

Virtual Edition 2021
Notes from Home: Recurring Dreams and Women's Voices
February 4 to March 4

Featuring Fanta Régina Nacro Retrospective

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center (FLC), Maysles Cinema and AFF, the 28th New York African Film Festival explores the theme, Notes from Home: Recurring Dreams and Women's Voices, with a virtual program celebrating the shared aspirations that drive humanity through time and the voices of the women who push the culture forward while preserving treasured traditions.

The festival will be presented in FLC’s Virtual Cinema from February 4 to 14 and in the Maysles Virtual Cinema from February 18 to March 4.

To purchase tickets to view the films follow the link: 

Source: Press Release
Festival Schedule:

Watch the festival introduction by Executive Director and NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti


01 February 2021

African Women in Cinema : Coming of Age Stories

African Women in Cinema :
Coming of Age Stories

Stories of the coming of age experiences of girls throughout their adolescence are among a range of compelling films by African women in cinema, visual media and screen culture. Discovering their bodies, sexuality, love; growing into their own identity; in search of independence from the impositions of family and society, these films span a range of intimate and dramatic storytelling.

Coming-of-age moments explore a diversity of themes: from traditional initiations to rituals passed on from generation to generation; from a traumatic life-altering event to soul-searching and self-discovery. This transition phase may be influenced by a life-changing circumstance that would change the trajectory of a girl's life such as the death of a parent, or other dramatic changes in the family, an encounter with a person who serves as a mentor, or an experience that transforms her outlook on the world. While these situations may take place at any point on the timeline of one's life, its influence during adolescence has a profound impact on an already-developing personality.

Safi Faye's Mossane (1996) was inspired by her daughter who at the time of the film's conception was 14 years old--moment that she describes as a magical age: "When you have a fourteen-year-old daughter her changes are visible to you; each photo is different from the others, yet the girl is always the same. There are transformations that a mother perceives in her daughter at that age. This is what I wanted to sculpt. I wanted to recreate a beauty that exists only at this age. Afterwards, she would be too old; before, she was too young. Before, she did not respond, and after that age of fourteen she complains: Mama I don't want this, I don't want that."

Safi Faye's Mossane offers a complexity of coming-of-age moments experienced by the eponymous character. Love, sexuality, rebellion, resistance, morality--all of which Mossane must confront to find her place, to discover who she is--torn between tradition and modernity, "rebellion and effacement".

Moreover, African women's films include emerging adolescent girls on the precipice of discovery and maturing adolescents at the eve of womanhood. Others explore rituals and ceremonies that mark the rites of passage inherent in the coming-age-experience. Ngozi Onwurah's Monday's Girls (1993) comes to mind, which portrays the parallel experiences of two young Waikiriki women of Nigeria as the community prepares for the iria women's initiation ceremony. Florence, embraces the ritual while Azikiwe resists.

In New Eyes by Hiwot Admasu Getaneh, 12-year-old Salem, while at the riverside, stumbles upon a couple making love. Upheaveled by the emotions that this encounter engenders she struggles to understand the sensual feelings and desires that emerge within her.

Other adolescent girls endure the harsh realities of life as they are thrust on their own to find their way alone. Alda and Maria (2012) by Pocas Pascoal, traces the journey of two sisters, 16 and 17 years old as they fend for themselves in Lisbon awaiting their mother who ultimately does not make the voyage from worn-torn Angola.

Machérie Ekwa Bahango's Makila (2018), follows the eponymous 19-year-old, who has lived in the streets of Kinshasa since she was 13 years old. Coming of age in a traumatic and violent existence driven by survival instinct, she decides to follow another path.

As I Open My Eyes (2015) by Layla Bouzid traces the evolving consciousness of 18-year-old character Farah throughout the film, as she opens her eyes to life.

Leïla Kilani's On the Edge (2011) captures the urgency of 20-year-old Badia's desperate search for a life that she can live on her own terms; her need to feel a void in pursuit of an elusive existence, always in a frenzy, ever close to the edge.

In Josza Anjembe's Le Bleu Blanc Rouge de mes cheveux (English title: French), 18 year-old Seyna, born and raised in France in a Cameroonian immigrant family, has a close bond with the country she loves. In acquiring French citizenship she is asserting her own identity, finding herself outside the boundaries of her family, which causes tension with her father.

Woman to Woman, by the mother-daughter filmmakers Véronique Doumbé and Malika Franklin focuses on issues relating to being or becoming a woman. While Véronique directs the camera towards mothers of teenagers girls, Malika draws from the rich and sometimes daunting experiences of daughters living and growing up in New York City.

Nana Hadiza Akawala's coming of age experience at the age of fourteen was inspired by Bibata, the family maid who was ten years older. And yet, she was Nana Hadiza Akawala's friend and confident, and her sudden departure left a tremendous void, shattering something deep inside her. Beyond class, power and age differences--was a friendship, and Nana frames her film (Bibata est partie, 2018) around her journey to find Bibata more than ten years later.

Iman Djionne's film project in development, "Coura + Ouleye" centers on the relationship between 16 and 19 year-old Coura and Oulèye, paternal sisters born into the complex polygamous family in which their respective mothers are co-wives. After the unexpected death of their father they set off to find his will and in the process get to know each other.

These stories are among the many films that explore the diverse experiences of emerging adolescents and soon-to-be adult women. Whether set in Africa or in diverse diasporic locations, the makers endeavor to portray realistic experiences of girls throughout adolescence on the path to womanhood.

Report by Beti Ellerson

Following are related articles from the African Women in Cinema Blog:

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

Maïmouna Doucouré talks about her film Mignonnes | Cuties

Mayye Zayed: Ash Ya Captain | Lift Like a Girl

28 jours: Jahëna Louisin (Togo)

Maïmouna: Mariam Donda (RDC)

Black Camera: Safi Faye's Mossane, a Song to Women 

Bibata est partie | Bibata is gone 

Fool God : a film by Hiwot Getaneh 

Subira by Sippy Chadha

Aalam Warque Davidian: Fig Tree 

Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloïsis (Morocco) : Sofia 

Papicha by Mounia Meddour : In resistance mode 

Dhalinyaro by Lula Ali Ismail 

Josza Anjembe: Le bleu blanc rouge de mes cheveux | French 

Les silences de Lydie by /de Aissata Ouarma (Burkina Faso)

Malika by Machérie Ekwa Bahango 

Tibeb Girls - Animation project by Bruktawit Tigabu (Ethiopia) 

La Boxeuse | The Boxing Girl (2016) by/de Iman Djionne (Senegal)

Zinnaariya | The Wedding Ring by Rahmatou Keita

Leyla Bouzid, “A peine j'ouvre les yeux” | “As I Open My Eyes 

Woman to Woman by Véronique Doumbé and Malika Franklin 

Hiwot Admasu Getaneh: New Eyes 

Pocas Pascoal (Angola) Alda & Maria

Aya de Yopougon, an animation film by Marguerite Abouet


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