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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26 August 2021

Pélagie Ng’onana : a critique of the film "Buried" by Françoise Ellong | une critique du film "Enterrés" (

Pélagie Ng’onana : a critique of the film "Buried" | une critique du film "Enterrés" by/de Françoise Ellong

Source: Publ: 06/06/2021
Translated from French by Beti Ellerson, an African Women in Cinema Blog collaboration with

En français :

Dangerous links between religion and believers
The second dramatic feature film by the Cameroonian director marks her presence in festivals and airline entertainment with a courageous and transversal discourse on pedophilia in religious circles.

A high-angle shot following a taxi on an unpaved road. The movements of the drone sweep over the vegetation, village dwellings lined up on both sides of an apparently dead-end road. It is through this journey that Françoise Ellong invites the viewer to be part of this 88-minute adventure, which from the start reveals elements of uncertainty, of doubts and of an impasse. The little yellow car unloads its passengers at the crossroads of a village. A place that reflects as much the complexity of the characters and the situations they will go through as the uncertainty of a flourishing future. Which path to take? The question that seems to arise in the first scenes of the film will remain in the background, only to reappear at the end.

It is the journey of a lifetime, in fact, that Buried tells, at a unique site and with unique characters. It is the tumultuous and painful course of three decades that Ndewa’s group wants to exorcise. After her first feature film Waka, Françoise Ellong is slowly returning to the huit clos. The enclosed-setting genre for which she has a particular fondness. Here, we experience the insight of the director who gains in maturity throughout her film productions.

The exact casting, accompanied by an ideal setting, transports the viewer through the orphanage where the group lived more than two decades before. The lighting quality combined with the right make-up and costumes adheres to the development of this dark day. Also, we get to know Daddy, Sister Catherine, Sister Thérèse, invisible characters who have forever impacted the lives of our five protagonists. A polished language, dialogue and refined lines are a distinctive asset--while providing an understanding of the horror: a childhood and adolescence hindered by sexual abuse, the terror of a religious environment that is supposed to provide love and security. Ellong, who also authored the screenplay, brings up a subject that is as socially weighty as it is emotional--without any scenes with the perpetrators, no flashbacks, with a tone that is meant to be universal, without details of the filming location or of the orphanage.

Everything is in the story, the staging, the setting, and to a lesser extent the music--which punctuates the intense intimate moments. Anurin Nwunembom (discovered in Nyna’s Dowry) whose superb embodiment of Ndewa, leads the event to which he invited his former companions. A few twists in its rendering in French--because of the expression in English--did not spoil the outcome. Ndewa, a complex and mysterious character receives rejoinders from Lucie Memba (Marie)--whose acting becomes increasingly essential in local productions; Emy Dany Bessong (Agnès) accustomed to the series genre, makes a remarkable entrance in cinema with the film Buried.

In her latest fiction (released at the end of 2019 and produced by Nabe-Daone Enterprises), Françoise Ellong contemplates a discourse that tests faith by questioning the Bible and religion. "Being a pastor is a profession" ... "People use and abuse the Bible", behavior that exasperates Hassane (Assala Kofane). Reuniting "friends" on the day of the funeral of the dreaded Daddy, was for Ndewa the last hope of breaking with this bitter and secreted past. Which has nonetheless left deep scars obscuring his own future and that of his friends. And to add to the intensity of the drama: the sudden appearance of Minyem (Denis Etouka) and his even more disturbing revelations about the complicity of certain members. Burying certain objects is the rule of this dangerous game, but instead it has served as an unearthing of a past full of demons.

Un critique par Pélagie Ng’onana du film Enterrés de Françoise Ellong
Liaisons dangereuses entre religion et croyants
Le second long métrage dramatique de la réalisatrice camerounaise marque sa présence dans des festivals et les compagnies aériennes avec un discours courageux et transversal sur la pédophilie en milieu religieux.

Version originale en Français. Lire l’article en intégralité sur

23 August 2021

Wanjiru Kinyanjui: Black in the Western World - Berlinale Forum Special Fiktionsbescheinigung 2021

Wanjiru Kinyanjui
Black in the Western World
Forum Special Fiktionsbescheinigung 2021

The Berlinale Forum Special Fiktionsbescheinigung 2021 features Wanjiru Kinyanjui's seminal work on identity, belonging and the immigrant experience in Germany, produced by the Deutsche Film und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB)

Image: Wanjiru Kinyanjui, Black in the Western World © Wanjiru Kinyanjui

"In the German context, I had a problem of identification: I was asked by a co-student why I made all my films on black people. I asked, why shouldn't I? Of course, it is because I was a foreigner and we shared not only problems of non-acceptance, but a common heritage. And also, if I don't, who is going to do it? The only problem with this is that one ends up in a ghetto—people want to keep you in it. I was getting sucked up in a spiral of having to deal with racism in everything I do—radio programs on black people in Germany, lectures on racism in film, teaching children about Africa, writing poems on my surroundings, etc." (Excerpt of interview from Sisters of the Screen by Beti Ellerson)

Wanjiru Kinyanjui

Black in the Western World

Germany 1992, 23min

with Natalie Asfaha, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Paul Ford

At the start of the 1990s, Kenyan DFFB student Kinyanjui grappled with how it felt to be Black in Germany. Racist material from German everyday culture rubs up against conversations with other Black people in Europe. Germany in the early 1990s: Racist caricatures, picture books and advertisements circulate within popular culture and are consumed by white audiences without second thought. In school playgrounds and classrooms, racist games and songs are part of everyday life. Filmmaker Wanjiru Kinyanjui and her interviewee Tsitsi Dangarembga analyse these supposed gags in a cool, detached fashion despite the traumatising violence of the images they contain. These scenes are cross-cut with others showing two men from Malawi and Namibia discussing right-wing extremism in Germany and encouraging Black people in Europe to fight against racism and neocolonialism. The film also examines Eurocentric ignorance about African art or the dark chapter of Germany’s colonial period. Back in the spotlight after an extended slumber in the archives, Black in the Western World uses interviews to deliver a sharp critique of racist as well as capitalist structures. Made while Kinyanjui was studying at the German Film and Television Academy (DFFB), the film raises awareness, strengthens and emboldens. (Can Sungu). Source:

Wanjiru had this to say about her film: "Nathalie, another friend of mine from the group, has been collecting images of black people on advertisements and she talked about it in my film, Black in the Western World.  She noted that they are negatively portrayed, too, although this is not obvious at first glance.  Others in the film are Mahoma from Malawi, who was hurt during a racist attack; Felix from Namibia, who was also bashed up on some occasion; and Tsitsi Dangarembga from Zimbabwe, who was at that time busy trying to understand life as a black woman in Germany. This film has been shown at community centers in Germany where Germans would get very upset about Africans summarizing their points of view.  They would be angry with me! Well, that is their own point of view." (Excerpt of interview from Sisters of the Screen by Beti Ellerson)

21 August 2021

Aicha Macky On a toujours tendance à reléguer les femmes au second rang | There is a tendency to relegate women to second place - BBC Afrique

Aicha Macky
On a toujours tendance à reléguer les femmes au second rang
There is a tendency to relegate women to second place
BBC Afrique

Published on YouTube  5 August 2021

Image: Aicha Macky - bbc screen shot

“There is a tendency to relegate women to second place by presenting them as the weaker sex.”

The BBC French-language program presents Aicha Macky, awarding winning documentary filmmaker. She is among the wave of women working in film production in order to tackle social issues in Niger. A report by Hamet Fall Diagne and Alassane Dia

“ On a toujours tendance à reléguer les femmes au second rang en la présentant comme le sexe faible… “. Aicha Macky, productrice de documentaires primée, fait partie de celles qui ont lancé la vague de femmes qui travaillent dans la réalisation de films pour aborder des questions sociales au Niger. Un reportage d'Hamet Fall Diagne et Alassane Dia 

19 August 2021

Algerian Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Algerian Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Algerian women’s cinematic trajectory navigates the country, the African continent, the Arab world, and its eclectic diaspora. It focuses its lenses on women's stories, on social political issues, on liberation struggles, on Islamist fundamentalism, on censorship, and on the everyday lives of its people, among other themes.
Baya El Hachemi, journalist and artist, directed the television series Visages de femmes (Faces of women) from 1975 to 1977 and Le Citoyen face à la justice (The citizen confronts justice) from 1983 to 1989; also in the 1980s, Farida Belghoul directed two films. The 1990s witnessed an abundance of film productions by Yamina Bachir Chouikh, Fejria Deliba, Rachida Krim, Zaïda Ghorab-Volta, Fatma Zohra Zamoun, Nadia Cherabi, Hafsa Zinaï Koudil, Sarah Taouss-Matton, Djamila Sahraoui--whose film, Yema, received the Silver Yennenga at Fespaco in 2013. French-born filmmaker and cultural activist Yamina Benguigui is internationally known for her social-political engagement on Algerian immigration issues in France. In addition, she served as Minister of the Francophonie in the French government. The 2000s were equally prolific with films by established filmmakers as well as debut works by Laurette Mokrani, Yasmina Adi and Nassima Guessoum.
The feminist activist Assia Djebar (1936–2015), internationally acclaimed writer and immortelle of the French Academy, was also a filmmaker, directing La Nouba des Femmes du Mont Chenoua in 1978 and La Zerda ou les chants de l'oubli in 1982. In an interview she stated this as the reason for taking up the camera: “I realized that the woman was forbidden any relationship to the image. While her image cannot be taken, she does not own it either. Since she is shut away, she looks on the inside. She can only look at the outside if she is veiled, and then, only with one eye. I decided then, that I would make of my camera this eye of the veiled woman.” (My translation from French). Hence Assia Djebar felt a duty to give visual representation to those who were prohibited from doing so. In addition, she was professor of history and French literature and cinema at the University of Alger, and in the United States, served as director of the Centre for French and Francophone literatures at the University of Baton Rouge in Louisiana and was professor of Francophone literature at New York University. During that time she played an important role in developing Francophone curricula in the United States. She had this to say about Algerian women and écriture in French: “In response to the fundamentalist violence of the 1990s there is a growing body of feminist Francophone writing that radiates from Algeria to Europe and the Middle East. Women writers use the French language to resist widespread misogyny, narrow conceptions of identity and retrograde socio-political movements. Writing in exile becomes, for some of these women, a real form of survival.
Like Assia Djebar, Horria Saïhi is a feminist and activist using myriad mediums of communication to address social and political issues. She is perhaps best known for her indefatigable work as journalist, reporter, and filmmaker against government censorship and religious fundamentalism. In the 1990s as a politically committed radio and television journalist she journeyed a perilous path to document witnesses giving testimony to the atrocities of Islamic fundamentalism whose sole objective was to wipe out all cultural activities. As a result of death threats she was forced into exile in France. Describing the conditions of her work during that time: “When we live in a situation of almost perpetual war, you can understand what the difficulties are like for us to go on location and try to make a film, because of the insecurity. The armed Islamists and fundamentalists groups are there to prevent life and cultural development, and so, cinema is prohibited, painting and music are forbidden. Even if we are able to make films, the exhibition of these films is impossible. We cannot have people come to see a film with this insecurity.”
Horria Saïhi’s work earned her the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award (New York) in 1995. She received the award in the name of the Algerian people; she had this to say about her acceptance of the prize:

    I dedicated the award to two women, the women who have marked my life. One was a very good friend, a colleague and journalist, Rachida Hammadi who was assassinated by terrorist fundamentalists. She was of such fragility. She was not tall, only 4m75 | 4’9, and frail, but of a courageous and implacable will. She was always busy and constantly in the field. You could always hear her saying "I was told that such and such a thing has just happened, we must go there." She never said that she was tired. This woman symbolized this courage for me. It is not me who was awarded this prize, it was Algeria, it was these women who continued to remain standing, who carried Algeria in their two arms.

    I dedicated it to another woman who I met in a region that has suffered tremendously, Jijel. It is a zone that has a reputation for being the stronghold of fundamentalist terrorists. There I met a marvelous woman. I say marvelous because, having come from a big city, we only meet intellectual women who are well-read, articulate, who are able to say what they think. But these women, we do not meet outside in the streets. Moreover, the press, the television, the cinema are interested in women who are very present before the camera, who are mediatized by the national and international press.

    However, this woman was in the countryside, she cultivated the land, she participated in the national liberation war in the capacity of a fighter. During the last nine months of the war she was pregnant. Thus, she was at the same time fighter and mother. And this woman brought into the world, the day of independence 5 July 1962, a child who she called Abdullah. Abdullah means the child of God, the creation of God. She could have died with the child in her womb, and yet she carried him right up until independence and brought him into the world. This child's mother, who was not literate, wanted to give him a good education--a sort of payback for her--so that he could be intelligent and go to the best schools and universities. And her son was assassinated by the terrorists. This woman took up arms again, not to avenge her son in a feudal manner, but to avenge him by continuing the fight, so that there will never be blood in our country again.

Unable to show her films, she wrote a book entitled Voix sans voile (Voice without veil), released in 2016, compiling the voices of the many experiences that Algerians had to endure during that dark period of the 1990s.

Hence, using the veil as metaphor, through the moving image and literature, Algerian women give voice to the untold stories of women.

Report by Beti Ellerson
Links to articles on the African Women in Cinema Blog:

Yamina Benguigui: Soeurs | Sisters

Lina Soualem : Leur Algérie | Their Algeria

L'Islam de mon enfance: Nadia Zouaoui (Algeria)

Papicha: Mounia Meddour in resistance mode

Fatima Sissani: Résistantes, tes cheveux démêlés cachent une guerre de sept ans | your untangled hair hides a seven-year war

Tata Milouda by/de Nadja Harek

Ila Akhir Ezzaman:  Jusqu’à la fin des temps | Until the end of time

H'na Barra (Us, Outside) Bahïa Bencheikh-El-Fegoun, Meriem Achour Bouakkaz

Post-9/11: Fear, Anger and Politics | Peur, Colère and Politique - Nadia Zouaoui (Algeria-Canada)

Nassima Guessoum talks about her film "10949 femmes" (10949 women) of the Algerian revolution

Assia Djebar - ecrivaine, cineaste

Djamila Sahraoui: Yema

Fatma Zohra Zamoum: Kedach Ethabni

Yasmina Adi: Ici on noie les algeriens

Glance at Cannes - Cinema and Diversity

Barakat by Djamila Sahraoui

Horria Saihi: Portrait

17 August 2021

A film on Seipati Bulane Hopa - The Art and Ubuntu Trust presents ArtSat - An online art education programme (South Africa)

A film on Seipati Bulane Hopa
The Art and Ubuntu Trust presents ArtSat
An online art education programme
(South Africa)

The Art and Ubuntu Trust invites you to a screening and discussion of a film on Intuitive Designer Seipati Bulane Hopa
Image: The Art and Ubuntu Trust

Seipati explains how her approach to design, is formed by the indigenous styles of South Africa and demonstrates the clothes she creates and wears. She describes her inspiration: “When I see clothes I honestly feel they are talking to me, they want my response, you know. So I take them from where they are as created beings and give them life”.

Date: Saturday,  21 August 2021 on Zoom
Time: 2PM - 3PM 


Seipati Bulane-Hopa and Cinema
In addition to her cultural production in design, Seipati Bulane-Hopa is a filmmaker and served as secretary-general of FEPACI, Fédération Panafricaine des Cinéastes/the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers from 2006-2013. 

16 August 2021

Nigerian Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Nigerian Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

 …representations set the pace for reading women in particular societies
--Agatha Ukata, scholar

Before the emergence of the “Nollywood” phenomenon in the 1990s, Nigerian women of the moving image were already visible in the country, the diaspora and internationally. Pioneering film practitioner Amaka Igwe (1963-2014) recalls being immersed in the weekly episodes of Mirror in the Sun a television soap opera created by Lola Fani-Kayode in 1984. Hence, Lola Fani-Kayode paved the way for Amaka Igwe’s popular soap opera Checkmate of the 1990s, which propelled her to national renown, setting the standard for Nollywood productions that followed. In addition, Igwe founded the BOBTV (Best of the Best TV), a film and television program market held annually in Abuja. Debrah Ogazuma, another early presence among women, was a senior producer at the Nigerian Television Authority. In addition to her research on Nigerian women in film and television, she directed and produced the weekly television series Magana Jari Ce from 1989 to 1990. Moreover, Emem Isong is among an increasingly long list of women who are making important contributions to the ever-expanding screen cultures of Nigeria. In addition to her role as director and producer, she was director of the Royal Arts Academy acting school and training academy. Nora Awolowo's documentary-in-progress, Baby Blues, delves into a subject that is rarely discussed postpartum depression in mothers.

Women of the Nigerian diaspora have also told their stories, reflecting their personal experiences as well as events related to their social position within the diaspora. U.S.-based Ruby Bell-Gam, British-Nigerian Ngozi Onwurah, and Nigeria-born Branwen Okpako who navigates the diasporas of the U.S. and Europe—were film practitioners who emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. Omah Diegu (Ijeoma Iloputaife), who began film studies in the United States in the late 1970s, was among a cohort of film students of color at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) whose work evolved from what has been called the L.A. Rebellion film movement, its mission to disrupt the dominant gaze of Hollywood.

Agatha Ukata’s 2010 doctoral thesis from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, “The Image(s) of Women in Nigerian (Nollywood) Videos,” traces the Nollywood phenomenon that would spread across Nigeria, the continent and beyond, at the end of the twentieth century and attests to the importance of critiquing the representation of women in this immense enterprise. Similarly, other works have examined women’s roles in Nollywood, as industry professionals and image-makers. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, founder of the African Movie Academy Award, has been dubbed the Nollywood Lady in the film of the same name. In Amaka’s Kin (2016), filmmaker Tope Oshin Ogun turns to Amaka Igwe to pay tribute to her legacy, featuring some of the prominent women filmmakers in the Nollywood tradition.

In addition, Ema Edosio focuses her camera on the myriad worlds of life in Lagos: "as an African filmmaker I tell my own version of my feelings through my stories and characters. [The film] Kasala! is a reflection of my environment, my life existing in Nigeria." Through comedy Omoni Oboli and Kathryn Fasega examine the myriad experiences of love, family, and success.  Adeniran uses animation cinema to explore memories and family. LowlaDee" Adeleke Sade strong presence on social media is indicative of her interest in taking full advantage of the dominant role of digital technology to reach audiences worldwide.

The countless Nigerian-based cinema-focused initiatives are indicative of the ubiquitous role of screen cultures in the country. Entertainment executive Chioma Ude founded the Nigeria-based Africa International Film Festival in 2010 and envisions it as a platform for training and the development and monetization of content for the public. Adaobi Obiegbosi's vision encompassed the continent as a whole through the creation of a festival for African student filmmakers as a continental platform to share their works and ideas. WIFFEN, The Women's International Film Festival Nigeria, created in 2021, has as its objective to celebrate women in film around the world. Founded by Carolyn Seaman, WIFFEN held the National Female Filmmakers Congress in Abuja in October 2022.

The cinematic stories from the Nigerian Diasporas of the United Kingdom and the United States, draw both from direct experiences in the country as well as Diasporic themes of belonging, inclusion and duality.

Nigerian-American Yvonne Orji represents a growing number of first-generationals born of immigrant parents who want to tell their hybrid-identity story of being born and/or raised outside of Africa, often living in the West between two cultures. She uses comedy to tell these immigrant experiences in the United States. Nigerian-American Nneka Onuorah puts the spotlight on lesbian identities in her film The Same Difference. Chinonye Chukwu, born in Nigeria and raised in Alaska, became the first black woman to receive the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. She is the founder of Pens to Pictures, a filmmaking collaborative that teaches and empowers incarcerated women to make their own short films, from script to screen. U.S.-based cultural producer Mojisola Sonoiki, emphasizes the importance as an African to reach out to other Africans and support their work: "We are a marginalised group in the context of world politics, or anything else within the global context really, so the more we can support each other, the more our voices will be heard, our stories told and our problems solved." Similarly, Nigerian-American Vigil Chimé, drawing from her transnational identity, endeavors to show realistic images of the African immigrant experience in the United States. Born in the United States of Nigerian and Mauritian parentage, Zuriel Oduwole describes herself as a Pan African child. In 2016, she began her filmmaking journey as as 14-year-old teen. Her goal is to use her programme, Dream Up, Speak, Up, Stand Up, to inspire girls to accomplish their dreams as she has been able to do, and to ensure that every girl gets an education. Moreover, she wants to use the visibility that she has attained in order to present positive images of Africa, those that tell real African stories.

British-Nigerian Remi Vaughan-Richards born of a Nigerian mother and father British, is "a child of two cultures and…embrace[s] both cultures equally", producing documentaries and films "that try to impact change or highlight an issue." Ebele Okoye grew up in southeastern Nigeria where, like many African filmmakers, oral storytelling was the collective experience of the society. She yearned to share these stories, recounted around the fire, under the moonlight, and it was through the medium of animation filmmaking that she fulfilled that dream. Because of the dearth of film schools in Nigeria at that time, she went to Germany to study 2D Cartoon Animation at the International Film School Cologne. Upon completion, she worked as studio animator and director/producer of her own short films. For The Legacy of Rubies (2015) project she partnered with the Nigerian animation production studio Shrinkfish Ltd, the producers of the film. Nigerian-born Branwen Okpako "locates herself where she is geographically and spiritually: "My films are my witness to life as I see it. It is a great honour to be able to make films so I use every opportunity seriously. It takes so long to gather and order experience and then to translate what one has learned into a piece of work to share with others…".
On 26 January 2022 the SOAS University of London hosted a panel discussion entitled "Shaping the Conversation: Decolonising Film with Nigerian Women Filmmakers including speakers Kemi Adetiba, Omoni Oboli, Tope Oshin with moderators Anulika Agina and Estrella Sendra. The Zoom meeting, which has become the standard in the era of COVID19, provided a platform for an international audience.

The African Women in Cinema Blog endeavors to present the myriad screen experiences of Nigeria. While not claiming by any means to be exhaustive, as the country's activities are expansive, the Blog presents a small selection of voices that are indicative of the diverse and wide-ranging screen cultures of Nigeria and its Diaspora.
Report by Beti Ellerson

Links to articles on the African Women in Cinema Blog:

My Mother's Stew (Le ragoût de ma mère) by/de Sade Adeniran (Nigeria)

My Ethiopian Story by 15 Year Old Filmmaker Zuriel Oduwole

Mis Me Binga 2018 – Ema Edosio : Kasala! (Nigeria)

The Color of Rage (2016), a film by Vigil Chimé - Nigeria

Amaka's Kin - The Women Of Nollywood, a documentary by Tope Oshin

Girl filmmaker Zuriel Oduwole: “…using my documentaries to tell Africa's story.”

Nneka Onuorah and her film “The Same Difference” during Women’s History Month

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe: The Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) Founder's Speech

Adaobi Obiegbosi talks about the African Student Film Festival Women’s Discussion Forum (Nigeria)

British-Nigerian Remi Vaughan-Richards talks about “Faaji Agba”, her passion for cinema, and the two cultures she embraces

B for Boy by Chika Anadu on Netflix

Iquo B. Essien: "Aïssa's Story" | "l'histoire d'Aïssa"

The Legacy of Rubies, an animation film by Ebele Okoye

Omah Diegu: artist, and filmmaker of the iconic L.A. Rebellion film movement

Women Winners at the 2014 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA)

Adaobi Obiegbosi: Creating a Platform for Africa’s Student Filmmakers

Chinonye Chukwu’s Alaskaland

International Conference on Nollywood, Women, and Cultural Identity - May 8th - 11th 2012

Mojisola Sonoiki: The Women of Color Arts & Film Festival is "my destiny"

Agatha Ukata: Researching Women in Nollywood

A Conversation with Vigil Chimé

Redefining Women in Nollywood

Emem Isong's Contribution to Nigerian Cinema

A Conversation with Branwen Okpako

Proceedings from the African Women in Film Forum (Nigeria)

Women of Nollywood: Amaka Igwe and Peace Anyiam-Osigwe

Women in Film Forum : Nollywood and the Dynamics of Representation

12 August 2021

Safi Faye's Mossane at 25

Safi Faye's Mossane at 25

Mossane, completed in 1990 and released in 1996, is a hidden classic, though not widely distributed, it remains a masterpiece.

A timeless tale...that is the nature of legends, of myths, of allegories. Destiny has been inscribed, fate already determined. Having created a narrative imbued in Serer mythology, structured around the fate of a fourteen-year-old girl, who because of her stunning beauty, is returned to the Pangool spirits through the waters of the Mamangueth, Safi Faye’s cinematic endeavor was to decide in what way to tell the story and how to visualize it.

Mossane catapults a girl's voice and agency to the forefront. The film addresses the right of women to have power over their own bodies and desires and the choice to marry who they choose, by framing the analysis of women's, indeed girls' rights, in the context of the broader discourse on the peasantry, education, custom and modernity.

The prevailing themes that foreground girls'/women’s experiences within the rural sector and countryside, socio-economic matters, education, issues at the intersection of tradition and modernity, highlight the universality of Mossane.

The global discourse inherent in these issues reflect their ongoing relevance and the continued reality of the challenges they raise worldwide. Hence stories of the girl child, the adolescent girl coming of age, are increasingly visible in the corpus of works by women makers in general and African women in particular.

Mossane, a song to women

“This film is a song to women. The things that I find so beautiful, the things that I have lived, and that I have experienced or that I have been told.”--Safi Faye

Safi Faye offers Mossane as a song to women. In the same way, it is a song to the cohort of women represented in the film on the continuum of womanhood: to Mossane, who at fourteen-years-old is coming of age—her life cut short by fate, already etched in the legends of the Serer; to Mingué, who is in the unenviable position as mother of the daughter whose fate has already been inscribed in Serer mythology, which engenders as well the inexplicable amorous feelings that Ngor has for his sister and the ensuing illness that it produces; to Dibor, mentor and confidante to Mossane, who, comfortable with her sexuality, the experiences and pleasures of her body, delights in the marriage with the husband who she loves; to Madame Ndour, who undoubtedly cares for her son, proud of his accomplishments as a wealthy immigrant in France, though unaware that in fulfilling his wishes she would thwart those of her future daughter-in-law; to Mam, the elder wise woman, independent, resourceful, keeper of the knowledge of the history and traditions of the village; to Yandé Codou Sène, who throughout her life sang the praises of the Serer people, recounting its history and grieving those who passed away. Hence, she is conferred the role of the story's raconteur; and then, a song to Safi Faye, herself, who throughout her cinematic journey has sung of women's experiences in the day-to-day of African life.
An ultimately Mossane is a song to all women, everywhere.
Drawn from the article: "Safi Faye's Mossane, a song to women, to beauty, to Africa." Beti Ellerson, Black Camera, an International Film Journal. African Women in Cinema Dossier. (Spring 2019)

10 August 2021 Crayon au poing : 4 dessinatrices du monde arab (Pencil in hand: 4 women graphic novel artists from the Arab world) Documentaire | Documentary

Crayon au poing: 4 dessinatrices du monde arab
Pencil in hand: 4 women graphic novel artists from the Arab world

 "Crayon au poing : 4 dessinatrices du monde arabe", portraits croisés d'artistes contestataires
Pencil in hand: 4 women graphic novel artists from the Arab world, interlinked portraits of dissenter artists

See English translation below 

À partir du mardi 17 août 2021

Sur, Instagram et YouTube
Dix ans après le début des Printemps arabes, une exploration de la BD arabe et féminine à travers les rencontres croisées de quatre autrices engagées : venant du Liban, de la Tunisie, du Maroc, ou encore d'Égypte, elles ont toutes choisi la BD comme moyen d'expression pour se faire entendre. Rencontre à domicile avec Lena Merhej (Beyrouth), Deena Mohamed (Le Caire), Zainab Fasiki (Casablanca) et Nadia Khiari (alias Willis from Tunis), dont les dessins et les mots portent haut les revendications de liberté et de justice des Printemps arabes.

"Un moyen de s'exprimer à portée de main", dit Lena Merhej pour expliquer pourquoi, dans la jeune BD arabe, les femmes sont si présentes. "Moi, je suis très enragée", ajoute avec douceur cette Beyrouthine de mère allemande et de père libanais, qui avait 13 ans quand la guerre civile a pris fin, et qui retrouve dans "le champ de bataille" qu'est sa ville dévastée depuis les explosions au port, le 4 août 2020, les cauchemars de son enfance. Si la thawra ("révolution") qui, à l'automne 2019, a soulevé le peuple libanais, neuf ans après le début des Printemps arabes, ne cesse de l'inspirer, elle a aussi minutieusement dessiné le Beyrouth d'avant la catastrophe pour se "réapproprier" sa mémoire. Pour sa contemporaine Nadia Khiari, alias Willis from Tunis, chat malicieux devenu une star de la contestation et apparu sur Internet dès la levée de la censure par un président Ben Ali aux abois, en janvier 2011, la révolution fut une "naissance". Alors, pour mieux s'opposer à la censure, qu'elle vienne du pouvoir ou de la société, leurs cadettes, la Marocaine Zainab Fasiki et l'Égyptienne Deena Mohamed, ont lancé leurs super-héroïnes (nue pour la première, voilée pour la seconde) à l'assaut des stéréotypes, des tabous et de la domination masculine…

Crayon au poing dévoile une génération émergente de créatrices arabes de BD : en ouvrant les portes de leurs ateliers, ces autrices aux styles et au verbe très différents révèlent chacune un pan de leur ville et de leur monde. Féminisme, bien sûr, mais aussi émancipation, éducation, solidarité : au travers de ces quatre regards singuliers intensément tournées vers le collectif, les réalisatrices Éloïse Fagard et Lizzie Treu mettent en évidence la communauté de valeurs et la combativité qui les unissent, par-delà les frontières nationales. Elles montrent aussi combien la BD et le dessin politique, bien qu'encore marginaux au Maghreb comme au Proche-Orient, représentent un art contestataire en plein essor, qui fleurit sur les murs autant qu'aux étals des librairies. La BD, milieu d'ordinaire très masculin, devient également un moyen pour les créatrices de faire entendre leurs voix dans des sociétés conservatrices.

Au-delà de la critique politique, ce sont les expériences quotidiennes et la diversité des parcours de femmes artistes en pays arabes que ce documentaire partage. Une approche intimiste et nuancée qui permet de dépasser les stéréotypes dans des sociétés où la liberté de la femme est continuellement remise en cause. Ainsi, les créatrices utilisent également leurs œuvres pour partager des valeurs féministes et mettre en lumière les tabous liés au corps et à la sexualité.

En plus de leurs interviews croisés, le documentaire dresse le portrait de quatre villes arabes (Beyrouth, Casablanca, Le Caire et Tunis) dans un contexte de révolte où la jeunesse s'oppose de plus en plus à un pouvoir autoritaire et à la censure des médias. Une ballade urbaine rythmée par d'emballantes musiques et portée par la beauté des images nées sous la plume (ou le stylet numérique) de ses inspirantes muses, qui s'animent pour imprégner les prises de vues réelles. 

English translation by Beti Ellerson
Ten years after the start of the Arab Spring, an exploration of Arab women's graphic novels through the encounters of four committed creators: from Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt who have chosen this medium as a means of expression to make themselves heard. At home with Lena Merhej (Beirut), Deena Mohamed (Le Cairo), Zainab Fasiki (Casablanca) and Nadia Khiari (alias Willis from Tunis), whose drawings and words show a high regard for the demands for freedom and justice of the Arab Spring.
"It is an attainable means to express oneself", says Lena Merhej, to explain why women are so visible in the fledgling Arab graphic novel. "I, myself, am very enraged", she adds gently. Beirut-born of a German mother and Lebanese father, she was 13 years old when the civil war ended. She finds in "the battlefield" of her devastated city since the port explosions on August 4, 2020, the nightmares of her childhood. If the thawra ("revolution") which, in the fall of 2019, incited the Lebanese people, after nine years, the Arab Spring continues to inspire. Lena Merhej also meticulously drew Beirut before the disaster in order to "reclaim" her memory. For her contemporary, Nadia Khiari, alias Willis from Tunis, the revolution was a "birth". A malicious cat who became a star of the protest, appeared on the Internet as soon as the censorship was lifted in January 2011 by the beleaguered president Ben Ali.
Hence, to better oppose censorship, whether it comes from the powers that be or society, their younger cohorts, the Moroccan Zainab Fasiki and Egyptian Deena Mohamed, launched their superheroines (nude for the first, veiled for the second) to attack stereotypes, taboos and male domination...
"Crayon au poing" unveils an emerging generation of Arab women graphic novel artists. By opening the doors of their art studios, these creators, with very different styles and words, each reveal a part of their city and their world. Feminism, of course, but also emancipation, education, solidarity: through these four unique perspectives, turned intensely towards the collective, the directors Éloïse Fagard and Lizzie Treu highlight the community of values ​​and the combativeness that unites them, beyond national borders. They also show to what extent graphic novels and political cartoons, although still marginal in the Maghreb as in the Middle East, represent a burgeoning protest art, which appeared on walls, as well as on the shelves of bookstores. The graphic novel, usually a very male-dominated environment, is also becoming a means for women creators to make their voices heard in conservative societies.
Beyond the political critique,  the documentary presents the daily experiences and the diverse career paths of women artists in Arab countries. An intimate and nuanced approach that allows us to go beyond stereotypes in societies where women's freedom is continually called into question. Hence, the creators also use their work to share feminist values ​​and highlight taboos related to the body and sexuality.

In addition to their interlinking interviews, the documentary paints a portrait of four Arab cities (Beirut, Casablanca, Cairo and Tunis) in the context of revolt where the youth are increasingly opposed to an authoritarian power and media censorship. An urban ballad punctuated by the rhythm of exciting music and carried by the beauty of the images born under the pen (or the digital stylus) of its inspiring muses.

09 August 2021

2021 Laureates - 7 jours pour 1 film (7 days for a film) - Madagascar - 13 lauréates sélectionnées

7 jours pour 1 film
(7 days for a film)
Madagascar 2021
13 lauréates sélectionnées  
Félicitations aux Laureates finalistes pour l’opération 7 jours pour 1 film 
Congratulations to the finalists laureates for Operation 7 jours pour 1 film (7 days for a film)
7 jours pour 1 film est une opération itinérante de découverte, de formation et de promotion des femmes désirant être actives dans le cinéma, particulièrement en Afrique.

Also see | Voir aussi:
Appel à scénarios Madagascar 2021 : 7 jours pour 1 film (7 days for 1 film) l'atelier cinéma au féminin en Afrique

08 August 2021

Sanaa Akroud: Myopia | Myopie (African Diaspora International Film Festival 2021)

Sanaa Akroud
Myopia | Myopie

Sanaa Akroud
Myopia | Myopie
Fiction - 86min - Morocco

Myopie raconte l’histoire de Fatim, enceinte dans son sixième mois, obligée de quitter son village perché dans la montagne, pour chercher des verres de vision pour l’aîné de son village. Ce dernier est la seule personne à pouvoir déchiffrer les lettres envoyées par leurs membres de famille partis travailler dans les villes.

Myopia tells the story of Fatim, who is six-month pregnant and is obliged to leave her village perched in the mountains in order to find eyeglasses for the village elder. She is the only person who is able to decipher the letters sent by the family members who have left to work in the cities.

Sanaa Akroud: j'ai donné la parole à la femme
Personnage principal du film, Fatim est cette femme du village forte, persévérante et opprimée. Elle souffre d’une horrible solitude parce qu’elle parle un « langage incompréhensible », un langage de moralité que seuls cernent ceux qui vivent dans l’ombre avec comme rêve la reconnaissance de leur droit à la vie, à la liberté et à une vie décente.

À Myopia, j’ai donné la parole à la femme. Fatim, femme du village, est à la fois policière, acteur de la société civile et journaliste.

Les hommes sont placés en arrière-plan afin de donner à Myopia la parole et une forte position pour faire entendre la voix féminine objectivement, clairement et indépendamment du mari, du père et de l’employeur, ou encore de la tribu ou la famille.

Sanaa Akroud: I gave women a voice (English translation)
Fatim, the main character of the film, is a strong, persevering, yet oppressed village woman. She suffers from a horrible loneliness because she speaks an "incomprehensible language", a language of morality with which only those who live in the shadows identify, as a dream, the recognition of their right to life, to freedom and to a decent life.

Myopia, I gave voice to the woman. Fatim, a village woman, is at the same time a police officer, civil society actor and journalist.

The men are placed in the background in order to give
Myopia a voice and a place of strength, in order to make the woman's voice heard, objectively, clearly and independently of the husband, father and employer, as well as the tribe and family.

06 August 2021

Citoyenneté, Cinéma et Passeport sanitaire | Citizenship, Cinema and the Health Pass (CCNA – Cinéastes non-alignées Collectif)

Citoyenneté, Cinéma et Passeport sanitaire
(CCNA – Cinéastes non-alignées Collectif)

Citizenship, Cinema and the Health Pass
(Collective of Non-aligned women cineastes)



Citizenship, Cinema and the Health Pass

(Collective of Non-aligned women cineastes)

Translation from French by Beti Ellerson


Our cinema depends on our public and for over a year now, we have been kept apart. Our industry depends on our film viewers, on a network of movie theaters-- strong and active, on committed stakeholders and film professionals, on film enthusiasts. Even if virtual platforms have become a fact of life, they will never replace a genuinely two-way process and the fruitful discussions and direct interplay with the public that these professional experiences and venues provide for our films.


Yes, the theaters are open again, but the Health Pass is another measure that creates difficulties for our art. The current reduction in attendance of almost 70% says a lot about the promise of the Health Pass: the audiences will not come.


A good number of our audiences are in the streets protesting for their freedoms and against the discrimination that this Pass will bring to our society. It is not only a matter of our films and the movie theaters but it is about the entire social fabric, which, through its entertainment and leisure activities, its conviviality, its culture, is disappearing.


How can one now write a script, make a film, questioning the values of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” and of living together, which are the very essence of the stories that we tell in our works, if we do not defend these values in reality?


How can we justify the fact that we usually present our films to the public by proposing a debate, but here, we remain silent?


How can we continue to talk about cinema when this daily life that inspires us so much is in perpetual crisis and distress?


Our concern regarding the duration of this Pass is great when recalling that the closure of the country, public spaces, movie theaters and leisure venues was to last for 15 days when in fact it extended for a year and a half, destabilizing a significant number of citizens and careers.


Our Collective was created in 2016 to promote inclusion, defend the freedom of creation, of expression, of the free movement of talent and debate, of all social classes and all the diversity of our country. Our films tell about and bear witness to the harm that these calamities cause: injustice, unpredictability, house arrest and screening. We are against all forms of discrimination and stigmatization.


We call on all filmmakers, all artists—women and men—from all audiovisual and film professions, to come forward, to question, with our audience, these measures that kill—as with other sectors of the economy—the most rich and incredible fabric of cinema: a place of escape, of reflection, of debate, of exchange of points of view with others, a propagator of dreams, of poetry, of love.     

02 August 2021

Karabo Lediga: What Did You Dream? - Best African Short - Durban International Film Festival 2021

Karabo Lediga
What Did You Dream?
 Best African Short
Durban International Film Festival 2021

Karabo Lediga
What Did You Dream?
South Africa
Short Fiction - 20min - 2019


It’s the summer school holidays in 1990, South Africa, and 11-year-old Boipelo is back at her grandmother Koko’s four-roomed house in the Pretoria township, Atteridgeville. It’s a point of uncertainty for a country on the brink of democracy but mostly, according to her at least, for Boipelo who will be attending a multiracial school soon. These school holidays are different to the others that have come before. While the normal house chores and the predictable clashes with her two annoying cousins continue, her grandfather’s violent coughing coming from the dark bedroom, and conversations amongst adults signal some sort of end that she can’t grapple with. Boipelo becomes consumed by the fact that unlike her two cousins, she can no longer remember her dreams when her granny, like clockwork, asks her to tell her what her dreams are in order for her to play a local Chinese lottery called Mochaena/Fahfee. As the holidays draw to a close, an anxious Boipelo devises a plan so that she can dream again and bring a smile to her forlorn grandmother’s face and, perhaps, have one last feeling of belonging before her life changes forever.

Karabo Lediga is a writer, director and producer for television and film. Her short film, which she wrote and directed titled ‘What Did You Dream?’, premiered in competition at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and was also in competition at The Palm Springs International Short Film Festival.

01 August 2021

Andrée Davanture: La Passion du Montage | A Passion for Film Editing by/de Claude Forest

Andrée Davanture:
La Passion du Montage | A Passion for Film Editing
by/de Claude Forest
Edition l'Harmattan
452 pages

L'ouvrage retrace le parcours de cette grande monteuse du cinéma, qui commença classiquement dans le cinéma populaire en 1952 en travaillant avec les réalisateurs français de renom de l'époque (Henri Verneuil, Robert Hossein…), devint cheffe monteuse à la télévision en 1965 où elle côtoiera les pionniers de ORTF, avant de consacrer à partir de 1974 essentiellement aux cinéastes africains francophones. Elle les aidera individuellement dans le respect de leur imaginaire, et collectivement en visant la constitution d’un patrimoine. En animant ATRIA, structure collective atypique de soutien au montage et à la production cinématographiques, de 1980 à 1999, elle permettra la révélation de plusieurs dizaines de réalisateurs, notamment d'Afrique francophone. Elle continuera ensuite de monter des films jusqu’à sa disparition en 2014, inachevant le dernier film de Souleymane Cissé. Une cinquantaine de témoignages de monteurs, réalisateurs et professionnels contribuent à faire revivre cette monteuse à la générosité exceptionnelle.

The book, Andrée Davanture: La Passion du Montage, traces the career of this great film editor, who began classically in popular cinema in 1952 working with renowned French directors of the time (Henri Verneuil, Robert Hossein …). She became chief editor for television in 1965 where she rubbed elbows with the pioneers of the  Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (ORTF). After 1974 she devoted her time principally to Francophone African filmmakers, assisting them individually at the same time respecting their creative imaginary, and, collectively, with the aim of building a heritage. From 1980 to 1999 she played a leading role at ATRIA, an atypical collective structure supporting film editing and production, which enabled the discovery of several dozen directors, particularly from Francophone Africa. She continued editing films until her death in 2014, leaving the latest film of Souleymane Cissé unfinished.

The testimonials of some fifty editors, directors and professionals revive the work of this exceptionally generous editor.

Homage to Andrée Davanture (1933-2014), grande dame and passionate supporter of African cinema:

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