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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31 May 2022

Women of the Screen from the African Diaspora of Canada

Women of the Screen from the African Diaspora of Canada

Cilia Sawadogo and Najwa Tlili were among the early African women filmmakers to make Canada their home to work and live. As a young university student Cilia, of German-Burkina heritage, came to Quebec to study, now decades later she is a professor at Concordia University where she teaches animation cinema. Njawa has made an important contribution to Quebecois screen culture, bringing a perspective that highlights the evolving diversity of Canadian society. She has been especially active at the Vues d'Afrique International Festival, an institution that has been at the forefront in promoting the African and Creole cultures of Canada.

In the past two decades other women have followed their footsteps, migrating from diverse African and Caribbean countries, as well as navigating between European African diasporas or connecting within the global francophonie. For instance, Dorothy A Atabong from Cameroon studied in the U.S. and Canada and navigates between the two locations. Also filmmaker, Lula Ali Ismaïl, based in Canada, has a foot in three continents, in Paris, Montreal and on diverse locations in Africa. Similarly, Malagasy cultural producer Tiana Rafidy followed a similar transnational trajectory. 

With the documentary Into the Light, Togolese filmmaker Gentille M Assih focuses her camera on the empowering life stories of Quebecois women of West African origin, as they attempt to break out of the cycle of domestic violence. Tunisian-born Najwa Tlili brought this phenomenon to light decades before with her film Rupture. She had this to say in the 1997 interview with me: "Rupture is a film that addresses the problem of conjugal violence lived by Arab women in Canada. While doing this film about conjugal violence, I discovered that the complexities of this inquiry are tied to the circumstances of immigration, and the host country and its culture..."

Notes continuing…by Beti Ellerson

Following is a selection of articles focusing on women of the African Diaspora of Canada published on the African Women in Cinema Blog:

Gentille M Assih - Sortir de l’ombre | Into the Light

Cilia Sawadogo - Presidentes des jurys FESPACO 2019 : Séries télévisuelles et de cinéma d’animation | TV serials and animation

Fespaco 2019 @CNA : Dhalinyaro by/de Lula Ali Ismail (Djibouti) – Village Cinéma Numérique Ambulant | “Digital Mobile Cinema”

IIFF 2018 - International Images Film Festival for Women : Sound of Tears, Dorothy A. Atabong, Cameroon/Canada

LAFF 2015 - Nadia Zouaoui : Post-9/11: Fear, Anger and Politics | Peur, Colère et Politique

FESPACO 2015 - Rachèle Magloire and/et Chantal Regnault : Deported | Expulsés

World Premiere: “The Flying Stars” by Ngardy Conteh George (Sierra Leone-Canada) and Allan Tong – 14 November 2014

Femmes de cinéma, cinéma de femmes | Women of cinema, cinemas of women de/by Djia Mambu, Africiné, Montréal

FESPACO 2013 - Lula Ali Ismaïl : Laan | Les Copines | Girlfriends

Tiana Rafidy: Lorety sy Mardy

Najwa Tlili: Reflections on her film "Rupture"

26 May 2022

Marie-Clémentine Dusabejambo (Benimana) : La Fabrique 2022 - Les Cinémas du monde

Marie-Clémentine Dusabejambo: Benimana
La Fabrique 2022 - Les Cinémas du monde
Film project in development

Each year, the Fabrique des cinemas du monde selects film projects from around the world, during which the directors are invited to the Cannes Film Festival for two weeks. The activities include meetings, professional interviews and master classes, and the finalization of a script or completion of a budget.

Marie-Clémentine Dusabejambo, Rwandan filmmaker and producer, was among the participants with her film project, Benimana (Children of God)!.

She had this to say about the project: "It's a film that talks about intergenerational trauma and the need to deconstruct prejudices… portraits of women in Rwanda, of women who were victims of the Tutsi genocide, of survivors, of women who are members of the families of the killers. I especially wanted to work on memory: how it is experienced at the individual level." (During an interview with RFI special correspondent, Isabelle Chenu)

"Benimana is a reflection on how political decisions impact us individually and what it costs us to be part of the community," she stated during an interview with Falila Gbadamassi of France Télévisions Rédaction Afrique

The feature film relates the story of Veneranda as she confronts her past when she learns that her daughter, who was conceived as a result of the rape she suffered during the Rwanda genocide, is pregnant by her boyfriend, presumed to be a Hutu, the ethnic group responsible for the genocide. Convinced that her daughter was raped and afraid that her history will repeat itself through her daughter, she decides to end the pregnancy and the relationship.

BENIMANA is about intergenerational trauma and the need to deconstruct prejudices and resentments. The film’s characters, who are mainly women, go through successive moments of happiness, chaos and darkness in which love and hate, resentment and reconciliation are intertwined.They thus portray my country, Rwanda, in its effort to rebuild itself after the Tutsi genocide of 1994.

lescinemasdumonde link
RFI link
Imagesfrancopones link
francetvinfo link

19 May 2022

A Celebration of Black Women in Film at the Cannes Film Festival

A Celebration of Black Women in Film at the Cannes Film Festival


LOS ANGELES - May 17, 2022 - Yolonda Brinkley, creator of Diversity in Cannes, the independent film movement promoting inclusion at the Cannes Film Festival, is pleased to announce Dear Cannes, Do Better: A Celebration of Black Women in Film at the Cannes Film Festival, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Presented by Cheryl Polote-Wiliamson’s Cheryl Magazine and Williamson Media Group, the festivities kick-off today with the launch of #DearCannes, a digital social media campaign, encouraging the Festival de Cannes to dismantle the patriarchy, embrace inclusion and select more black women to compete in competition. The culmination is a day of #blackgirlmagic including the world premiere of The Invitation, a short film commemorating 75 years of The Links, Incorporated, the world’s most formidable organization for black women changemakers, directed by Wendy Eley Jackson.

“In 75 years, the Cannes Film Festival has selected only one black woman director in competition, With the plethora of talented black female voices sounding off at other global film festivals, awareness is no longer an acceptable excuse for the gross underrepresentation of black women directors in competition,”  comments Diversity in Cannes’ Yolonda Brinkley. “As they celebrate their jubilee as the world’s most prestigious film festival and welcome their first female president, I believe change is inevitable. In the interim, delay is denial, and I welcome the opportunity to align with Cheryl Polote-Williamson to celebrate black women in film, at the 75th Festival de Cannes.”
A collaboration between Entertainment Publicist and Diversity in Cannes Founder, Yolonda Brinkley, Cheryl Polote-Williamson, editor-in-chief, Cheryl Magazine, Filmmaker Wendy Eley Jackson and Karine Barclais, founder of Pavillon Afriques, Dear Cannes, Do Better: A Celebration of Black Women in Film is the direct result of women changemakers, empowered to build their own table at the world’s most prestigious film festival. No longer awaiting permission from the patriarchy, they’ve created an opportunity for established and emerging black women in film to amplify their authentic voices during the Cannes Film Festival, where they’ve been ignored for the past 75 years.

"After a year working with our production teams and reflecting on the vast examples of how African American experiences have been captured in film, we are honored to demonstrate our commitment to creators of color by taking a stand with Diversity in Cannes”, said Cheryl P. Williamson, Co-Founder of Williamson Media Group." With this body of work, we aim to provide Black women in film with an honorable professional foundation to amplify their voices, create space for their stories and illuminate a path to a sustainable career in film."

In addition to Dear Cannes: Do Better, the digital social media campaign, launching today in harmony with Festival de Cannes’ 75th anniversary, the celebration of black women in film is Wednesday, May 25, 2022. It will kick off with an invitation only breakfast and will extend into the Marché du Film at Pavillon Afriques and the Cannes Short Film Corner.

In solidarity, black women and their allies attending the Celebration of Black Women in Film are invited to wear any combination of black, white and yellow attire and are encouraged to upload their own videos in response to the realization that there’s only been one black woman selected in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in its 75 years. Use hashtags #dearcannes #diversityincannes when posting.

Schedule of Events
11:00: Breakfast (Invitation only)                                                                         
13:00: World Premiere: The Invitation Q&A  (Pavillon Afriques)
14:00: Cannes Conversation: Black Women Tell All
16:00: Cannes Short Film Corner: Black Women in Film (Palais F)
19:00: Cocktail Reception (Pavillon Afriques)
All are welcome. RSVP required by May 23, 2022


Created in 2010 by Yolonda Brinkley, Diversity in Cannes is an independent filmmaker movement promoting inclusion at the Cannes Film Festival. The movement was established to promote the presence of underrepresented filmmakers sharing stories about marginalized populations during the Cannes Film Festival. Specifically, the grassroots initiative provides a platform for globally diverse filmmakers to promote their talents, present their work and expand their international network during the Cannes Film Festival.

Yolonda Brinkley, a full-service marketing communications professional, is an Illinois MBA with extensive brand development, event production and public relations experience. She holds a BA from Clark Atlanta University & is fluent in French with international experience. A corporately trained marketer, Yolonda worked 10 years at Ford Motor Company, including assignments with the Lincoln Mercury and Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover brands. During her 10-year tenure, Yolonda established herself as a valuable resource within the branded entertainment community. As an entrepreneur, the momentum continues. Since 2008, Yolonda has managed events for the NAACP Hollywood Bureau (Image Awards), the Hollywood Black Film Festival and Filmmakers Alliance. She’s represented actors and filmmakers at global film festivals including Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival. Yolonda constantly creates opportunities for herself and impacts the global entertainment industry as the creator of Diversity in Cannes, the independent filmmaker movement promoting inclusion at the Cannes Film Festival.


18 May 2022

PITCH O' FEMININ - Salon du cinéma au féminin 2 | Women's film fair 2 (On Move Magazine)

Salon du cinéma au féminin 2 | Women's film fair 2
On Move Magazine
Le pitch o’ Féminin est une activité ouverte aux étudiantes en cinéma et à toutes femmes étant à son premier projet cinématographique. Il s’agit  d’un concours qui vise à détecter la plus belle plume en matière de scénario et contribuer ainsi  à la promotion de ces jeunes talents dans l’exercice des métiers du 7ème Art. Pour cette édition, l’appel à candidature est ouvert aux porteuses de projets de court métrage et de capsule.

The Pitch o’ Féminin is an activity open to female film students and all those who are working on their first film project. This is a contest that aims to detect the most beautiful writing skill and thus contribute to the promotion of these young talents in a professional environment. For this edition, the call for applications is open to short film and shortcom.

[FR] Le salon du cinéma au féminin a ouvert depuis le mois d'Avril l'appel à candidature du concours pitch o féminin éditions 2. Pour candidater allez sur:

[EN] The women film fair opened the call for applications of the Pitch o' feminin competition 2 edition since the month of Avril. To apply, go to:

17 May 2022

Africa - Women - Cannes 75e 2022

Africa - Women - Cannes 75e 2022

Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia), president of the Semaine de la critique Jury

Erika Etangsalé: Lèv la tèt dann fenwar | In the Billowing Night by (Prix Doc Alliance 2022 - Doc Day) 

Cinéfondation Cannes 2022
Suzannah Mirghani: Cotton Queen (Sudan)
ArteKino Award

Un Certain Regard
Maryam Touzani: Le Bleu du Caftan (Morocco)

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs
Erige Sehiri: Sous les figues (Tunisia)
Prix EcoProd Award

La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut français
-Burkina Faso – Djéliya, Mémoire du Mandingue by Boubacar Sangaré, produced by Mamounata Nikiéma (Pilumpiku Production) - Feature Documentary
-Egypt – Aisha Can’t Fly Away Anymore by Morad Mostafa, produced by Sawsan Yusuf (Bonanza Films) - Feature Fiction
-Rwanda – Benimana directed and produced by Marie-Clémentine Dusabejambo (Ejo-Cine) / Feature Fiction

DEENTAL at Cannes
ACP women among the producers participating at the week-long training/workshop/meetings during the 2nd edition of the DEENTAL at Cannes from 18 to 24 mai 2022
-Khadija Mahfou (Cote d'Ivoire)
-Kady Traoré (Burkina Faso)
Cannes classics
Fatou Cissé: Hommage d’une lle à son père (Mali)

Cannes Cinema
Cannes cinéma (curated by Angèle Diabang, a series of shorts to be broadcast by Cannes Cinema beginning in September 2022 during the Cannes Cinema season in partnership with Ciné-Club, Voir et devoir, les Jeudis) or in the context of Rencontres Cinématographiques de Cannes.
Her selection of shorts:
-Hary Andriaminosoa  et Joel Rakotovelo: The unusual kinky quaint peculiar weird strange rum queer odd and bizarre day of a shadow man
-Saa Kessas: La Voie d’Henriette
-Djelika Mama Traoré: Ma Passion

-Toboe Audrey: N’tcholo
-Fatoumata Bathily: Taajabone

-Kevin Mavakala: La Star 
Masterclass (The African Pavillon)
Rahmatou Keita
25 May 

14 May 2022

Ngozi Onwurah Retrospective & Q&A - Film London

Ngozi Onwurah Retrospective & Q&A - Film London

Tue 17 - Sun 15 May

Join TAPE Collective for a film retrospective and recorded Q&A with filmmaker Ngozi Onwura. The event offers an opportunity to hear Onwurah talk about her works integral to the British film canon. Filled with complex and insightful narratives that put the Black British experience at the forefront, Onwurah became the first Black British female director to have a film theatrically released in the UK with her feature debut Welcome II the Terrordome and Shoot The Messenger.

12 May 2022

African Women in Cinema Addressing Mental Health in Africa and the Diaspora

African Women in Cinema Addressing Mental Health
in Africa and the Diaspora
Report by Beti Ellerson
Notes continuing...
In Une fenêtre ouverte (An open window, 2005) Khady Sylla's camera is the mirror into which she gazes directly as she addresses the viewers, interrogating their own sense of sanity. She asks: "You look at yourself in a broken mirror. You see pieces of your face. Your face is crumbling. And whoever looks at you in the broken mirror, sees pieces of images of your face. Which of you will come to reconstruct the puzzle? Are you not, perhaps, on the same side of the mirror?" She continues the monologue with the disquieting admission of her own mental illness. The film is a space in which Khady Sylla tries to open for Aminta Ngomgui, the protagonist of the story, as well as for herself, and for the public, on the world of mental illness.

Similarly, Ledet Muleta, a psychiatric nurse in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area addresses the ways that mental illness is stigmatized in Africa and in African diaspora communities. The objective of her film project is to empower those who are affected, to build awareness and to find more effective solutions.

The purpose of Noëlle Kenmoe's film is to raise awareness and to challenge societal perceptions regarding the realities of another mental health issue, autism in children in Africa. Because of this disorder, they are often marginalized and rejected. Based on their behavior they are viewed as crazy, as reincarnations of the devil, among other damning perceptions. Hence, beyond being a handicap or disorder, autism becomes a social condemnation.

The issues around social exclusion are recurring themes in Nathalie Pontalier's film projects. In her film Le maréchalat du roi-Dieu (The Marshal of the God-king, 2012), the protagonist André Ondo Mba suffers from acute paranoid schizophrenia and has become deaf. For the past twenty years he writes on walls, facades, and other parapets of Libreville, the Gabonese capital. The contents of his messages often remain obscure to the viewers who venture there. His two sons who care for him attempt to navigate his world of the imaginary.

In the short fiction, Taajabone, Fatoumata Bathily highlights the debilitating effects of depression that traumatize a young woman, who is consumed with guilt after the death of her husband. While Aisha Jama, relates the coping mechanisms that a young Black Muslim woman employs to confront anxiety in the film Neefso (Breathe). Nora Awolowo challenges the perception of the elated mother after the birth of her child. In Baby Blues she tackles the hidden issue of postpartum depression.

Tracing memories at the onset of cognitive decline, a mental health issue that family's face throughout the globe as an elder reaches her or his golden age, though for many, even before, is an increasingly visible theme in films. Karima Saïdi focuses the camera on her own mother Aïcha who develops Alzheimer’s. She constructs a film portrait journeying with her mother back into her past. More broadly, Mmabatho Monthsho addresses the mulitple issues around cognitive decline especially in the context of caregiving, in the "hope of inspiring support and conversations about condition and the physical, psychological, and social burden on female family caregivers."
A selection of articles on the African Women in Cinema Blog regarding African women addressing mental health issues in Africa and throughout the African Diaspora:
Karima Saidi: Dans la maison | A Way Home

Aisha Jama: Neefso | Breathe

Noelle Kenmoe: Deux avril

Ledet Muleta: Chula

#postpartum #depression
Nora Awolowo: Baby Blues

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

Maïmouna Ndiaye: Le fou, le génie et le sage (The crazy, the genius, the sage)
Hawa Aliou Ndiaye : Kuma!
Mai Mustafa Ekhou: It's not over yet

10 May 2022

Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed. Globalisation and indigenous cinemas: a history of Ghanaian Dagbanli films

Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed
Globalisation and indigenous cinemas:
a history of Ghanaian Dagbanli films


While there has been extensive research on English language media in Ghana, there remains a huge gap in indigenous language media research. Through in-depth interviews with movie industry stakeholders, this article examines the history of indigenous language film in Northern Ghana, paying attention to the evolution of the movie industry and the various cultural flows that have shaped its development. Grounding the study in indigenous African knowledge systems, I present the history of the Dagbanli movie industry. I argue that to understand how the Dagbanli movie industry has been sustained for three decades, it is imperative to examine critically the industry’s history and the innovative strategies filmmakers have employed to keep up with changing trends in technology and aesthetics in the film industry. Filmmakers draw on Dagbaŋ culture (one of the major ethnic groups in Ghana) and film industries in the Global South to address the needs of their audiences while funding their films independently. From these findings, practical and theoretical recommendations are presented to contribute to improving filmmaking and research on indigenous language filmmaking in Ghana.

Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed is an assistant professor of global media at the College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She is co-editor of the book, African Women in Digital Spaces: Redefining Social Movements on the Continent and in the Diaspora (forthcoming 2022). Her research which focuses on feminisms, broadcast media, development communication, and political economy of communication have appeared in Communication Theory, Review of Communication, and the Howard Journal of Communications.

05 May 2022

Mamounata Nikiéma : élue présidente de la Fédération nationale du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel du Burkina Faso | elected president of the National Federation of Cinema and the audiovisual of Burkina Faso

Mamounata Nikiéma :
élue présidente de la Fédération nationale du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel du Burkina Faso |
elected president of the National Federation of Cinema and the audiovisual of Burkina Faso

Translation from French. See original French text published 04 Mai 2022 :

Mamounata Nikiema, filmmaker and producer from Burkina Faso, was elected president of la Fédération nationale du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel du Burkina Faso (the National federation of cinema and the audiovisual of Burkina Faso) at the extraordinary assembly on Saturday April 23, 2022 in Ouagadougou for a four-year term.
She is very involved in the filmmaker networks in Burkina Faso (Africadoc Burkina, Guilde des scénaristes, Association des producteurs du Burkina Faso, Fédération Nationale du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel...). Moreover, for the past several editions, Mamounata has been actively involved at FESPACO as president committee or member during the past several editions.
In 2018, she launched the event, Cine‐équipement  and the digital cinema platform Sulunsuku ( With this illustrious background, Mamounata Nikiema received the title of Knight of the Order of Merit, Arts, Letters and Communication with Agrafe ''Cinematographie'', during the 27th edition of FESPACO.

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