African cinema has since the outset in the 1960s had a distinctly feminine handwriting.
Actresses like Thérèse Mbissine Diop from Senegal (La Noire de…, 1966, Ousmane Sembène) and Zalika Souley from Niger (Le retour de l’aventurier), 1966, Moustapha Alassane) left imprints with their pioneering efforts in African acting that are still visible in sub-Saharan cinema. Despite huge problems of acceptance in their personal lives – they were stigmatised by their screen characters, which often contravened societal rules – they were artists through and through and played an important role in the development of African film.
Directors like Thérèse Sita from Cameroon, with her documentary “Tam Tam à Paris” (1963), and Safi Faye from Senegal (“La passante”, 1972) belong to the first generation of women filmmakers, who, in the early days of African cinema, put their cinematical ideas and visions into realisation.
Not the least women from the beginning took part in erecting a film infrastructure on the African continent in the late 1960s, foremost in the foundation of the two legendary pan-African film organisations, FESPACO and FEPACI. And though women were hard to find on managerial levels in the film organisations, the early 1990s saw the formation of numerous societies, founded by women, that remain highly committed to this day.
However, 50 years after the emergence of African cinema and 30 years after the introduction of television in Africa, women actors “on and behind the screen” are still hugely underrepresented.
A new generation of women filmmakers, producers and script writers work hard to change this. The last few years have seen a multitude of projects realised by African women directors, producers and script writers. In their movies the women filmmakers convey another cinematic view on themes, issues and challenges facing African societies.
In the fitht edition of AFRIKAMERA – CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN CINEMA the non-profit cultural charity toucouleur e.V. presents a selection of contemporary feature and documentary films from the new generation of „African women on and behind the screen“.
In a cooperation between Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and AFRIKAMERA AFRICAN SISTERS OF THE SCREEN (15.11) presents a selection of short movies by African women about African women – from Kenya, Cameroon, Tunisia, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal. Directors Nadia Rais (Tunisia) and Angèle Diabang (Senegal) will attend, along with film scholar Beti Ellerson (USA).
Saturday (17.11) begins with a high-level panel discussion of the theme FEMALE SCREENS – WOMEN FILMMAKERS IN AFRICA, looking closer at the realities and perspectives of women filmmakers in the African film and creative industries. In cooperation with Deutschen Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Beside the program AFRIKAMERA presents further highlights. With MOZAMBIQUE SHORTS (15.11) AFRIKAMERA build on the tradition from previous years, introducing film millieus from hitherto less known African states. Mozambican director and producer Mario Mickey Fonseca presents, for the first time in Germany, a program consisting of four short and medium lenght films.
In cooperation with Evangelisches Zentrum für Entwicklungsbezogene Filmarbeit (EZEF) AFRIKAMERA screens Robert Mugabe – What happened? (Zimbabwe, South Africa, Great Britain 2011 I 16.11) The documentary intertwines the biography of controversial Zimbabwean head of state, Robert Mugabe, with the colonial history of what was once Rhodesia. Furthemore the film depicts the history of the anti-colonial liberation struggle of the region. Director Simon Bright will attend the screening.
The WORKSHOP „WEDDING ! AFRIKANISCHE SPURENSUCHE“, will take place parallel to the festival. Here African filmmaker Angèle Diabang invites youths from Berlin-Wedding to use the camera in search for (colonial) traces in the neglected borough Mitte.
Last but not least it's time to celebrate. AFRIKAMERA and interfilm throw a joint festival party Saturday (17.11) at BI NUU and thus invite everyone to dance with us through the Kreuzberger November night. In 2012 AFRIKAMERA cooperates with interfilm Berlin, here center stage is given to short films from (sub-Saharan) Africa. Through four programs interfilm Berlin shows short films from and about Africa, and in addition the AFRIKAMERA short film program will make a guest appearance.
We look forward to an exiting Festival!
Moussa Sawadogo and the Afrikamera Team