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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29 May 2023

Meet | Rencontre - Deborah Lukumuena, réalisatrice | director of | de “Championne” - ARTE.TV

Deborah Lukumuena: “Championne” (Champion)

Rencontre avec Deborah Lukumuena, réalisatrice de “Championne” - ARTE.TV
Meet Deborah Lukumuena,  director of  “Championne” - ARTE.TV

En français: from French by Beti Ellerson

Cesar Laureate in 2017 for best female interpretation in a second role in Divines, passes behind the camera for her first film, the short entitled Championne

I am making films because there are certain things that I need to do and see, there is a need for me to be heard in another way. Even if I have already shown it in roles that I have interpreted. To begin with Championne is a way to…it is cathartic. ‘Okay, you have carte blanche, what are you going to say?’  It’s true that the adaptation of Championne is very specific, I follow a YouTuber called Femme ébène (Ebony woman). And one day there is a video called Prise d’otages, (hostage taking), that I discover. She works at Tacos and encounters an odd Uber Eats delivery woman who is as it turns out rather wealthy. They begin to talk and the delivery woman tells her that she is an escort-dominatrix.  She discovers a social milieu that she did not know existed.

My film does not endorse but rather, is a testimony to a raised consciousness of my and the upcoming generation, that sexuality and all that is related to sex work has become an exchange currency, and not necessarily in a manner of victimhood. The technical crew is composed principally of women for several reasons. To already respond to these weighty issues regarding gender parity, but above all for questions of comfort. I had actresses who are crawling in sexualized clothing. I wanted them to be overprotected and shielded within an empathetic gaze. It was very important that the people feel concerned, with their sensitivity, their own difficulties, their lived-experience, they could bring even more to the creation. All of which creates a safe place [said in English] for creativity and for intimacy. 

There is a political issue in the film which is to show what is not habitually seen, this kind of sexuality and these non-normative, atypical bodies. Not only are these bodies not habitually seen, but to film them as such, to give them sexual and sensual value. A lot of people say to me: ‘It is great to be filmed in this way.’ For me it made sense that in the middle of these things outside of the norm, this body inscribes itself. I don’t know if I will direct films on the longterm, but if I do it will be to show what I don’t see. And I don’t see these kinds of bodies, I don’t see them filmed in this way, I don’t see them on the screens.  

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