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.

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)


16 May 2018

Rafiki: to our forbidden love! | à nos amours interdites ! Cannes 2018 (analysis/analyse, Falila Gbadamassi - Africiné)

Rafiki: to our forbidden love! Cannes Film Festial (8-19 May 2018). Falila Gbadamassi (Africiné Magazine: analysis of the film by Wanuri Kahiu

Translated from French by Beti Ellerson and published on the African Women in Cinema Blog in collaboration with

A film about love, between two high school girls, which caused its director [Wanuri Kahiu] to be threatened with imprisonment in Kenya. Rafiki, a remarkable drama, is one of three African films in competition at the Un Certain Regard.

“We are here to celebrate love because we have come a long way to tell this story, it cannot be shown in Kenya (it has been banned since 27 April 2018, because the film is accused of ‘promoting’ lesbianism) but we can show it to you,” Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu said during the screening of her film on 9 May 2018 on the Croisette. Rafiki ("Friend" in Swahili), an adaptation from the book by Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko, opened the competition at Un Certain Regard.

In Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) are neighbours from the same area, though they belong to a different social background. But more importantly, their fathers are political rivals involved in an election campaign where the slightest blunder could be disastrous. With her girlfriends and her kitsch look, Ziki only thinks about having fun. Kena is more serious and wants to become a nurse. A tomboy, she often hangs with her friend Blacksta (Neville Misati) who plans to make her a respectable woman in the near future.

Meanwhile, Kena and Ziki "imagine themselves", one would say to paraphrase Vanessa Paradis (singer and actress, on the poster of Un Couteau dans le cœur, the film by Yann Gonzalez in the running for the 2018 Palme d'Or) when she interprets the song Tandem. The two high school girls come closer together and finally declare their burning desire for each other, in this Kenyan society where homosexuality is the latest crime in fashion.

The pragmatic Kena, while taking many risks to make the relationship happen, is careful not to reveal it. The frivolous Ziki, who does not want to be an ordinary Kenyan, chooses rebellion. Can one or the other of these strategies allow them to live their love openly when the pastor of their community emphasises, when he can, the abomination of a homosexual relationship?

The Kenyan state shares his view: homosexuality is illegal and is punishable by 14 years in prison. Reality has caught up with fiction. The shame is now cast on Wanuri Kahiu, who, congratulated a few hours after the announcement of her selection at Cannes, is now under threat of imprisonment because her film portrays homosexual love. At the moment, Kenyans are a long way from seeing the first Kenyan film selected at Cannes. Yet, they can be proud of this lively and colourful work, like the credits of the film. It echoes a Kenyan youth who enjoys its right to insouciance even in the most dramatic situations. Supported by two performers who convey their characters valiantly and with great sincerity, Rafiki is a beautifully made film. Wanuri Kahiu's sensitive and skilful storytelling takes the viewer by the hand, to see the blossoming of a love born in the expressions and smiles filmed with close-up shots. Through the lens of the filmmaker, the detail of the faces of the lovers becomes a true reflection of their soul.

Wanuri Kahiu produced a real gem that was born, in part, on the Croisette. Her selection is akin to a homecoming. Thanks to la Fabrique Cinéma of the French Institute, a program that supports young talents of the world, she completed the scriptwriting for Rafiki. "It's an honour and a privilege to be here (in Cannes)," said the Kenyan filmmaker at the presentation of her film. Proud to be at the Cannes Film Festival but also proud of her native Kenya. "Even if we are heartbroken by what is happening in our country," said Wanuri Kahiu, "we are proud to be Kenyans." And the future audience of Rafiki will be able to boast of having chosen a good film.

Falila Gbadamassi est rédactrice à Africiné Magazine
Rafiki: à nos amours interdites !  Festival de Cannes (8-19 mai 2018)

Un film d'amour… entre deux lycéennes qui vaut à sa réalisatrice d'être menacée d'emprisonnement au Kenya. Rafiki, drame solaire, est l'un des trois films africains en compétition à Un Certain Regard.

"Nous sommes ici pour célébrer l'amour parce que nous sommes venues de loin pour raconter cette histoire. Il ne peut pas être projeté au Kenya (il est interdit depuis le 27 avril 2018, parce que le film est accusé de "promouvoir" le lesbianisme) mais nous pouvons vous le montrer", a déclaré la cinéaste kényane Wanuri Kahiu lors de la projection de son film le 9 mai 2018 sur la Croisette. Rafiki ("Ami" en swahili), adaptation du livre de l'Ougandaise Monica Arac de Nyeko, a lancé la compétition à Un Certain Regard. Lire l'intégralité de l'article @

14 May 2018

Call for submissions: Udada (SISTERHOOD) International Women’s Film Festival - Kenya

Call for submissions:
Udada (SISTERHOOD) International Women’s Film Festival
16-20 October 2018

Submission deadline: 30 July 2018

The festival is the first of its kind in the region to feature the works of women in different genres; drama, comedy, fiction, documentary, animation and experimental film productions. It aims to empower women film makers from all walks of life. We believe that through this initiative, we will provide a platform for established and emerging female talents in the film industry. This platform avails opportunities for women film makers to exhibit their work, discuss and share their experiences and challenges. Network with professional film makers, meet their supporters and interact with other major players in the industry. In so doing, we aim to encourage social change and elevate women’s status at home and in the workplace. The festival has been running for four years now featuring, 

- Film screenings. 
- Filmmakers’ forum. 
- Capacity building workshops. 
- Co-productions with other festivals in Africa and the world over.

The 5th edition of UIWFF is slated for the 16th to 20th of October, 2018. This year’s theme is “If We ran The World…” We aim to have women from around the world, particularly Kenyan and African women to participate in this year’s theme by submitting a short video answering the question “IF WE RAN THE WORLD…” A hashtag will also be created to engage women and men around the world via social media.

Workshops that will be carried out during the festival:

- Sound capture, design and mixing and film scoring. 
- Creative writing 
- Acting 
- Dada Pitch, distribution and marketing