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Report From 'Francophone African Women Filmmakers: 40 Years Of Cinema' Int'l Seminar

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 10, 2012 5:18 PM
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An academic event I alerted out readers in Paris, France, to about 3 weeks ago, which took place on November 23 and 24, at the Quai Branly museum - an international colloquium titled "Francophone African Women Filmmakers: 40 Years of Cinema (1972-2012)."

The objective of this event was to celebrate the 40 years of African filmmaking by African women, starting in 1972, with Angolan director Sarah Maldoror's feature film Sambizanga (which won recognition at the 1973 Berlin International Film Festival; that same year, Michael Kerbel of The Village Voice compared the film to Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin in terms of its political significance), and the short film La Passante by Safi Faye of Senegal - a film she made while still in film school.

As I noted, this should've been a GREAT 2 days of education and discussion for those who attended; I wish I could have. I asked if any of you would be present, and if so to email me, so that we could get a rundown/summary of events to share here.

Nobody responde, but, thankfully, Beti Ellerson at the African Women In Cinema blog did attend, and she posted a thorough report on the colloquium, which I encourage you to read by clicking HERE.

Here's a sample:

While the chronology suggested a 40 year timeline, the introduction by a pre-history intended to show a continuity of women's presence in the long history of cinema, and thus, the extraordinary story of Kadidia Pâté's first film viewing experience in 1934 in Mali. The keynote also wanted to suggest that the colloquium would be a genuine meeting place of filmmakers, critics and filmgoers. This was definitely the spirit during these two days where women from all areas of cinema talked to each other, discussed and debated, while at the same time showing a spirit of support and sharing.


Throughout the colloquium there was a perceptible, I dare say, feminist spirit; with intergenerational and intercultural exchanges among the women who came together from the desire to celebrate the cinema of African women filmmakers. This very exciting dialogue highlights the genuine interest to see, discern, compare and learn.

For the rest of the story, click HERE.

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  • Beti Ellerson | December 24, 2012 10:07 AMReply

    Merci beaucoup Simone, presenting the keynote was a highlight of my work on Africa Women in Cinema Studies. Thank you Tambay for the shout-out, as you note and as Simone confirms, it was a wonderful moment in recognition of African women filmmakers.

  • Simone | December 10, 2012 6:05 PMReply

    I was there, and it was grateful moment, the think every black women filmmakers say, was interesting, but the problem was focused about money they aren't found to produce movies, it's a very difficult time for them, it's a frustration to have a script and no money to produce the films; there hope thing can be better in the futur, Beti Ellerson did a great job to introduce 40 years of African French language women filmmakers. She is fabulous.

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