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.

24 May 2018

FESPACO 2019 : Appel à films est ouvert | Call for entries is open

Appel à films est ouvert
Call for entries is open

Le FESPACO a l'honneur de porter à la connaissance des professionnels du cinéma et de l'audiovisuel que les inscriptions pour la sélection des films de la 26e édition, prévue pour se tenir du 23 février au 02 mars 2019, sont ouvertes.

FESPACO is honoured to announce to cinema and audio-visual professionals that the call of entries is open for the selection of films for the 26th edition, to take place from 23 February to 2 March 2019. 

Date limite | Deadline : 31 Octobre / October 2018

23 May 2018

Black Camera: On-screen Narratives, Off-screen Lives: African Women Inscribing the Self by Beti Ellerson (Spring 2018)

On-screen Narratives, Off-screen Lives: African Women Inscribing the Self
Beti Ellerson

Black Camera
Vol. 9, No. 2 (Spring 2018), pp. 460-476

The journeys of on-screen characters, while most do not reflect the off-screen trajectories of the real-life women, some do provide glimpses that parallel the paths that these women have voyaged in their own lives, perhaps influenced by their characters, or more brutally, because of them. Their travels, imaginary and real, had some relationship to their roles as actor and/or the choices they later made as a result of their encounter with/within the world of cinema. It is their on-screen legacy, especially in the case of iconic films, that has been the most enduring; as these women, far removed from their fame in these early films, live quiet off-screen lives a long way from the experiences of their cinematic characters.

Moreover, the filmmakers, who navigate frontiers, negotiate relocations and displacements to extra-African environments, inscribe an autobiographical journeying, problematizing these itinerant identities in their films. Likewise, traveling, sojourning and relocating across the globe involve shifting or ultimately expanding the identity of their cinema. Hence, an exploration of on-screen representations offer a larger picture of their experiences in front of and behind the camera.

Reel imaginaries, real herstories
Behind the camera, in the frame: autobiographical imaginaries 

22 May 2018

Women at the 25th African Film Festival New York 2018

Women at the 25th
African Film Festival
New York

Women’s presence at the African Film Festival New York is visible in all categories with many of the film practitioners in attendance for discussion at the screenings. At the helm of the Festival is Sierra Leonean Mahen Bonetti, founder and director. Some of the highlights at the 2018 edition are Apolline Traoré's opening film Borders; the 2017 version of Selbe: One Among Many, by Safi Faye, reissued in Wolof, originally released in 1983; French-Burkinabé curator Claire Diao’s traveling series “Quartiers Lointains”; Ekwa Msangi’s Master Class, during which she explores building a sustainable career as a filmmaker. This year’s festival, which celebrates its 25th year, runs from 16-22 May to 10 June with screenings and other relevant cultural events in various venues.

Nicole Amarteifio. Before the Vows (Ghana) 2017, 88 min

Josza Anjembe. Le Bleu blanc rouge de mes cheveux (France) 2016, 21 min

Machérie Ekwa Bahango. Maki’la (Democratic Republic of the Congo/France) 2018, 78 min

Jenna Bass. High Fantasy (South Africa) 2017, 96 min

Samantha Biffot. The African Who Wanted to Fly (Belgium/France/Gabon/China) 2016, 70 min

Djali Brown-Cepeda. A Pesar de su Ausencia. (U.S.) 2017, 8 min

Theresa Traore Dahlberg. Ouaga Girls (Sweden/Burkina Faso/France/Qatar) 2017, 83 min

Iman Djionne. Boxing Girl (Senegal) 2016, 26 min

Safi Faye. Selbe: One Among Many - 2017 Version (Senegal) 1983/2017, 30 min

Marthe Djilo Kamga. Vibrancy of Silence: A Discussion with My Sisters (Belgium/U.S.) 2017, 90 min

Tapiwa Kapuya, Tawanda Gunda. In My Father’s Village (Zimbabwe) 2016, 22 min

Rahmatou Keïta. The Wedding Ring (Niger) 2016, 96 min

Sewra Kidane Proclamation Punctuation (U.S.) 2016/2017, 5 min

Aïcha Elhadj Macky. The Fruitless Tree (Niger/France) 2016, 52 min

Rosine Mbakam. The Two Faces of a Bamiléké Woman (Belgium/Cameroon) 2016, 76 min

Akosua Adoma Owusu. On Monday of Last Week (U.S.) 2018, 14 min

Magaajyia Silberfeld. Vagabonds (U.S./France/Niger) 2017, 16 min 

Apolline Traoré. Borders (Burkina Faso) 2017, 90 min

Sheila S. Walker. Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora (U.S./Various Countries) 2018, 31 min

Stephina Zwane. Baby Mamas (South Africa) 2018, 93 min

21 May 2018

Safi Faye : Selbe, one among many | Selbe et tant d'autres – restored/restauré en/in Wolof – African Film Festival New York 2018

Safi Faye : Selbe, one among many | et tant d'autres – restored/restauré en/in Wolof – African Film Festival New York 2018

In focusing on the daily life of a Senegalese village woman, Selbe: One Among Many examines the economic and social roles rural African women are expected to play. Selbe has the heavy responsibility of providing for a large family as her husband searches unsuccessfully for work in a neighboring town. On his return, he joins the other unemployed men of the village, who will not help the women, but are as dependent on them as the children for food and shelter.

This reissue marks the first time the film has been issued in its original Wolof language. U.S. Premiere of reissue in Wolof. In the presence of Safi Faye.

Le mari de Selbé est parti en ville gagner sa vie. C'est donc à elle d'assumer une grande famille, le travail aux champs, en pleine saison sèche. Ses consœurs n'ont rien à lui envier, leurs charges sont aussi écrasantes: elles doivent subvenir aux besoins de tous les membres de la famille, assurer les corvées domestiques et le travail agricole. Elles parlent de leurs droits, leurs devoirs, leurs rapports avec l'homme qu'elles aiment ou critiquent. Un film rude, à l'image de la vie de ces femmes.

En enchaînant sans répit des plans rapprochés sur les bras, les épaules, les corps musclés en mouvement de ces femmes solides, en activité permanente, environnées d'enfants, Safi Faye a réussi à évoquer formellement dans ce bref documentaire, la dureté de ces destinées sans cesse confrontées aux exigences de la survie.

Ce documentaire offre un regard unique sur la vie quotidienne en Afrique de l'Ouest. Tourné au Sénégal, Selbe met l'accent sur la responsabilité économique et le rôle social des femmes dans la société africaine.

Sorti en 1983, Selbe et tant d'autres a été restauré dans sa version d’origine en wolof en 2017. Presenter en première aux Etats-Unis en sa version restaurée, en presence de Safi Faye.

19 May 2018

REMINDER: Call for Submissions - Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series 2018

Call for Submissions:
Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series 2018

Deadline: 31 May 2018 
Late Deadline: 12 June 2018 
Extended Deadline: 22 June 2018

Reel Sisters 21 Anniversary event will take place from 20-21 October 2018

The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series is a two-day annual film festival founded by African Voices magazine and Long Island University's Media Arts Dept., Brooklyn Campus. Established in 1997, Reel Sisters ( is dedicated to providing opportunities for women of color filmmakers to advance their careers in the film industry. Reel Sisters is the first Brooklyn-based film festival to showcase films directed, produced and written by women of color. Gender non-conforming filmmakers are welcomed to submit women centered films to the festival. 

18 May 2018

Cannes 2018 : Sofia by/de Meryem Benm'Barek. Analysis /analyse : Falila Gbadamassi (Africiné)

Cannes 2018: Sofia by/de Meryem Benm'Barek. Analysis / analyse: Falila Gbadamassi (Africiné)

Translated from French by Beti Ellerson and published on the African Women in Cinema Blog in collaboration with Falila Gbadamassi is a writer at Africiné Magazine. (Images: Cannes).

En français (ci-après) :

Sofia, the first feature film by Franco-Moroccan Meryem Benm'Barek screened on 16 May 2018 at Un Certain Regard, is a social drama set in a society holding on to backward beliefs. The young filmmaker delivers a polished work presenting a superb portrait of a woman, brilliantly performed by Maha Alemi.

Sofia (Maha Alemi) is a clever 20-year-old who discovers that she is pregnant and is about to give birth. In Morocco, to have a child outside of marriage is a crime. Hence, assisted by her cousin Lena (Sarah Pearls), the young woman has a few hours to find the father of her child, a certain Omar (Hamza Khafif).

Sofia is clearly not very expressive. In addition, she is almost scolded for not being more expansive when she drags her entire family into this "experiment", considered particularly humiliating in Moroccan society.

Especially when her cousin Lena, who comes to her rescue from the very start of the drama, asks her to light her lantern. Though Sofia has problems, it does not automatically elicit empathy. And one of Meryem Benm'Barek's remarkable magic tricks is to make her, scene by scene, a woman who ends up commanding respect and admiration.

Sofia’s main charcter is a heroine in a world of women, as her mother, aunt and cousin are the main protagonists. On the other hand, the men (Sofia's father and the father of her child), contrary to appearances, are accessories, even if they can also cause irreparable harm.

Sofia's stoicism is the most visible facet of her heroism. Her denial that she is pregnant, the rejection and anger of her parents, her new motherhood, all are hardships that she seems to traverse with indifference. Her face, filmed in close-up, is almost always impassive. But when she does smiles, it is to show, and perhaps especially to affirm, that despite the circumstances, she remains in control of her destiny. Particularly in a society that oppresses women and leaves them, as a result, little or no room for maneuver. A lesson in feminism, without fanfare.

Meryem Benm'Barek created a scenario of exceptional finesse and intelligence. And she was able as well, to transform it into images with the same qualities. Maha Alemi, who carries the film, is also a wonderful discovery. This perfectly-mastered first work, is again, proof of the vitality of Moroccan cinema.

Un roseau nommé Sofia. Un film de Meryem Benm'Barek. Analysis\analyse: Falila Gbadamassi (Africiné). Falila Gbadamassi est rédactrice à Africiné Magazine

Sofia, le premier long métrage de la Franco-Marocaine Meryem Benm'Barek projeté le 16 mai 2018 à Un Certain Regard, est un drame social dont le décor est une société aux principes encore rétrogrades. La jeune cinéaste livre une œuvre épurée au service d'un somptueux portrait de femme, interprété avec brio par Maha Alemi.

Sofia (Maha Alemi) est une sage jeune fille de 20 ans qui découvre, par hasard, qu'elle est enceinte et surtout qu'elle est sur le point d'accoucher. Au Maroc, mettre au monde un enfant en dehors des liens du mariage est un crime. Aidée par sa cousine Lena (Sarah Perles), la jeune femme a quelques heures pour retrouver le père de son enfant, un certain Omar (Hamza Khafif). Lire l'intégralité de l'article @

17 May 2018

Safi Faye : “Fad,jal” (Cannes Classics 2018)

Safi Faye : “Fad,jal” (Cannes Classics 2018)

Safi Faye returns to Cannes with Fad,Jal, restored by the CNC, presented at Cannes Classics. The film was first screened at Cannes in 1979 at Un Certain Regard. Also selected at Cannes at Un Certain Regard 1996, was her film Mossane.

Fad,jal (Grand-père, raconte-nous) de Safi Faye. Une présentation du CNC et de Safi Faye. Restauration numérique effectué a à partir de la numérisation en 2K des négatives 16mm. Restauration réalisée par le laboratoire de CNC. En présence de Safi Faye. 

Synopsis : Fad,jal (1979, 1h52, Sénégal, France)

Fad,Jal is a Serere Senegalese village. At school, children learn, in French, the grammar and history of France. Villagers practice their religion in a church, a vestige of colonialism.

At the foot of a tree, the ancestor and a griot recount to the children in Wolof, the history of the village—its customs, its tradition, its creation. An opportunity to discover the artisanal trades, agricultural techniques and the difficulty of exploiting the land because of the drought. Meanwhile, as a result of the recently-implemented government policy,  the Serere are confronted on a daily basis with the appropriation of their land, previously transmitted by oral agreement among the villagers.

Fad,Jal est un village sénégalais sérère. A l'école, les enfants apprennent, en français, la grammaire et l'histoire de France. Les villageois pratiquent leur religion dans une église, vestige du colonialisme.

Au pied d'un fromager, l'ancêtre et un griot racontent en wolof l'histoire du village aux enfants, sa création, ses coutumes, ses traditions. C'est l'occasion de découvrir les métiers artisanaux, les techniques agricoles et la difficulté d'exploiter les terres à cause de la sècheresse. En parallèle, le quotidien des sérères est confronté à la politique gouvernementale qui s'approprie désormais les terres, auparavant transmises oralement entre les villageois.

(Source: Cannes communiqués)

Safi Faye (Cannes 2018):

Fad,Jal (Cannes 2018)