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.

29 January 2015

Interview with actress Prudence Maïdou by Djia Mambu | Entretien de Djia Mambu avec Prudence Maïdou, actrice

Interview with actress Prudence Maïdou by Djia Mambu | Entretien de Djia Mambu avec Prudence Maïdou, actrice 

Translated from French by Beti Ellerson, a collaboration with Photo: Vincent Bloch.

Prudence Maïdou, French actress, choreographer, and dancer of Central African Republic origin, interprets Salla, the protagonist of Dakar Trottoirs by Hubert Laba Ndao (Senegal). Her first role in a feature fiction earned her the Best Actress Award at the African Film Festival of Khouribga (Morocco) in June 2014. Prudence Maïdou plays the role of Sweet Thing in the series Les veuves Noires, “The Black Widows”, developed and produced by Ivorian Alex Ogou, alongside BAMS (Saffronia), Mata Gabin (Peaches), Tella Kpomahou (Aunt Sara), Jean-Michel MARTIAL (Pastor Jonah). She was on set for the shooting of the pilot of the TV series (Blue Palace) in Marrakech, Morocco in the summer of 2014, under the direction of Kamal Kamal, with Isaline Ponroy, Bernard Farcy, Eriq Ebouaney, Bruno Henry, Paco Perez.

Interview with one of the rising stars of cinema.

Djia Mambu: After Dialemi by Nadine Otsobogo (Bronze Stallion, 2013 FESPACO, Best Short Film at the African AMAA 2013) here you are starring in a Senegalese thriller. This confirms that cinema has become definitively part of your artistic career.

Prudence Maïdou: As an actress in France, it is not easy to find roles on that level. There are very few for black people, much less for black women. So when I read the script, I just wanted to tell myself that it is I who will play this role. I even had the nerve to call the casting director and say, "No matter who you call in France, no one can play this role better than me!" (Laughter). They took me at my word, they had me come for a tryout and hurled at me: "We will go with you!". Yes, it was a bit risky, my portfolio was not very extensive, just a few television appearances, dance performances, etc.

Djia Mambu: How does one get involved in such a project that is shot entirely in a foreign country and in a
foreign language?

Prudence Maïdou: I came with a group that had been already working together for two years; because at the beginning, the crew had recruited young actors for training. I had joined the project, following a reading in Paris, during a trip by the producer Moctar Ndiouga Bâ,

Fortunately, I know Senegal, it is my adopted country that I am very fond of. Arriving there, I said to Charles Correa, who plays Siirou, although I do not understand, it would be nice to talk to me in Wolof. I asked him to take me around Dakar to better immerse myself, so we spent a lot of time together.

Djia Mambu: Salla is your first major film role, how did you get into the character?

Prudence Maïdou: I had no choice but to totally immerse myself into the character. But there is a part of me that I recognized in Salla. I was born in Africa [Central African Republic], I come from a humble background. I had the experience of seeing young people in the street into drugs and alcohol. I had these images ingrained in my mind. It helped me a great deal in working on my character.

Djia Mambu: She is a strong and complex character, a young black woman who takes the lead in her relationship and her gang. It is she who assumes the central role, rather unusual, no?

Prudence Maïdou: Salla constantly seeks her freedom. No matter what, she knows she will find a way out. As a child she was given a gold ring that she keeps around her neck, that is visible throughout the film. It is her hope, she knows that she will become someone. Even though she hangs out in the street, one sees that she will not end up there. Though at the moment she is in her squat with her gang, it is because she has no choice.

She grew up with Siirou who introduces her to this grandmother who raises most of these street youth. For Siirou it is clear that Salla will become his wife. But she dreams of another life, living in a big house, owning a Mercedes, with a chauffeur. And she arrives at the moment when she can no longer continue with Siirou and wants to fly with her own wings. Which Siirou cannot understand...

22 January 2015

Aya Cissoko : Danbé, head held high | la tête haute – film by/de Bourlem Guerdjou, analysis/analyse by/par Olivier Barlet

"Danbe, head held high" by Bourlem Guerdjou. Dignity whatever the cost, an analysis by Olivier Barlet

Danbé, la tête haute de Bourlem Guerdjou. « La dignité coûte que coûte » analyse par Olivier Barlet

A ne pas rater sur Arte, ce téléfilm programmé le vendredi 23 janvier 2015 (et rediffusé le dimanche 1er février au matin) qui retrace de sensible façon le combat de la boxeuse Aya Cissoko.

[English] Translated by Beti Ellerson

Do not miss this telefilm on Arte, scheduled Friday, 23 January, 2015 (and rebroadcast on Sunday morning, 01 February). A touching portrait of the combat of the boxer Aya Cissoko.

Any film about boxing is testimony to the tough apprenticeship of overcoming, of the taming of fury, of the mastery of one's destiny. A film about boxing is also about courage. Danbé, which means "dignity" in Bambara, laudably documents the life of Aya Cissoko, a woman who holds her head high, and becomes a world champion in women's boxing; adapted from her biography co-authored with Marie Desplechin. But "Danbé, head held high" is also a story of mourning: Aya was only eight years old in November 1986 when the fire from an arson attack on a building crammed with immigrant families in Ménilmontant, engulfed her father and sister. How will the family cope? "We have to stop crying about the dead in order to let them rest in peace," but fate continues to weigh on the family: "Outside it is freezing, inside it is defeating," wrote Aya Cissoko and Marie Desplechin in their book Danbé. (1) Hence, the story of Aya is a confrontation with her mother, Massiré; a dignified woman who, in the face of injustice demands compensation during a never-ending trial. A resolute woman who resists being deported to Mali; a mindful woman determined that her daughter gets an education so she is not destined to work as a cleaning woman, a battered woman constantly seeking an equilibrium, albeit fragile. "If there is a place where I hope to win, it's in the ring": Aya’s boxing workouts are an outlet for her fury and a way to prevail, to the despair of this brave mother who has difficulty understanding its relevance.

"Danbe, head held high" thus is a portrait of two women; loyal to their story, it brings together with striking finesse and without pity, a biographical and personal narrative, while respecting the literary approach of the book which, focuses more on the feeling than the events. Bourlem Guerdjou returns here to the minimalist effects of realism of his first feature film Living in Paradise that was celebrated in 1998. Those who gain from this sobriety are the characters who appear in their beauty, benefiting from the camera close on the body, complementing their movements, and the editing that sustains this rhythm. Each woman has her struggle in overcoming suffering. It unfolds during the three stages of Aya’s life, as the film revolves around the delicate search for calm in their relationship.

Awarded for best fiction at the last Festival at La Rochelle, "Danbé, head held high" shows that telefilms of quality are possible, that respect the language of the protagonists (Tatiana Rojo, who interpretes the mother Massiré, had to learn Bambara) and where the directing of the actors requires a long preparation after extensive casting. Assa Sylla and Annabelle Lengronne (Aya from adolescence to adulthood) had to learn to box, so that the matches are carefully executed.

"Boxing is considered a violent sport. But I find that life is violent. What it inflicts without warning is far more painful than what one risks inside the ropes of a boxing ring." May one also read in Danbé, how to keep one's head up high? Social conditions, issues as much woman-related as intercultural, make this story a contemporary one. Personalities of courage, as initiatory as they are alive in their contradictions, Aya and Masiré speak to all those who face adversity and seek to triumph over it.

1. Aya Cissoko and Marie Desplechin. Danbe, Paris: Calmann- Lévy, 2011 192 p.

19 January 2015

Martin Luther King: Day of commemoration | journée de commemoration

Martin Luther King: Day of commemoration | journée de commemoration

Day in commemoration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King in the United States |

Journée de commémoration de Martin Luther King aux États-Unis

Martin Luther King (The Drum Major Instinct):

"If you want to be important--wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful…You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.

Si vous voulez être quelqu'un d'important—très bien. Si vous voulez être reconnu—très bien. Si vous voulez être formidable—très bien… Tout ce qu'il vous faut, c'est un cœur empli de grâce. Une âme faite d'amour.

15 January 2015

FESPACO 2015 Official Selection | Sélection officielle

FESPACO 2015 Official Selection | Sélection officielle

24e edition
Cinema africain : production et diffusion à l’ère du numérique

24th Edition
African Cinema: Production and Distribution in the Digital Era



Avant le printemps (“Before Spring”) by/d'Ahmed Attef (Egypte)

C'est eux les chiens | They are the Dogs by/d'Hicham Lasri (Morocco/Maroc)

Cellule 512 (“Cell 512”) by/de Missa Hebié (Burkina Faso)

Des étoiles (“Stars”) by/de Dyana Gaye (Senegal)

Entre le marteau et l'enclume (“Between the Hammer and the Anvil”) by/d'Amog Lemra (RC)

Esclave et courtisane (“Slave and Courtesan”) by/de Christian Lara (Guadeloupe)

Lalla Fadhma N'Soumer by/de Belkacem Hadjadj (Algérie/Algeria)

Fièvres (“Fevers”) by/de Hicham Ayouch (Morocco/Maroc)

Four Corners (“Quatre coins”) by/de Ian Gabriel (South Africa)

Haïti Bride by/de Robert Yao Ramesar (Trinidad-Tobago)

J'ai 50 ans (“I am 50 years old”) by/de Djamel Azizi (Algérie/Algeria)

L'œil du cyclone (“Eye of the storm”) by/de Salif Traoré (Burkina Faso)

Morbayassa by/de Cheik Camara (Guinée)

O Espinho da Rosa by/de Filipe Henriques (Guinée Bissau)

Price of love (“Prix de l’amour”) by/de Hailay Hermon (Ethiopia/Éthiopie)

Printemps tunisien (“Tunisian spring”) by/de Raja Amari (Tunisia/Tunisie)

Rapt à Bamako (“Rapture in Bamako”) by/de Cheick Oumar Sissoko (Mali)

Render to Cesar by/de Desmonde Ovbiagele Onyekachi Ejim (Nigeria)

Run by/de Philippe Lacôte (Côte d'Ivoire)

Timbuktu by/d’Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania)


A cœur ouvert (“With an open heart”) by/d’Ayekoro Kossou (Bénin)

Aïssa's Story by/d’Essien Iquo (Nigeria)

Ashley by/d’Ibrahim Ibra Kwizeka (Burundi)

Chambre noire (“Darkroom”) by/d’Oumar Niguizié Sinenta (Mali)

Cinq boîtes de lait (“Five cartons of milk”) by/de Siam Marley (Côte d'Ivoire)

Coming Home (“Le retour”) by/de Marinda Stein (Namibia)

Damaru by/d’Agbor Obed Agbor (Cameroon/Cameroun)

De l'eau et du sang  (“Of water and blood”) by/d’Abdelilah Eljaouhary (Mauritania)

Derniers recours (“Last ditch”) by/de Mahi Bena (Algeria/Algérie)

Jìn'naariyâ! | L'alliance | The Golden Ring by/de Rahmatou Keïta (Niger)

Kamelo by/de Jean-Claude Bourjolly (Haiti)

Kwaku Ananse by/d’Akosua Adoma Owusu (Ghana)

La Boucle (“The loop”) by/de Didier Cheneau (Réunion)

La dot (“The dowry”) by/de Tahirou Tasséré Ouédraogo (Burkina Faso)

Les avalés du Grand Bleu by/de Kossivi Tchincoun (Togo)

Madama Esther by/de Luck Razanajaona (Madagascar)

Malika et la sorcière (“Malika and the sorceress”) by/de Boureima Nabaloum (Burkina Faso)

Moane Mory by/de Pacôme Amédée Nkoulou Allogo (Gabon)

Muruna by/de Moly Kane (Senegal)

Soeur Oyo (“Sister Oyo”) by/de Monique Mbeka Phoba (RDC)

Twaaga by/de Cédric Ido (Burkina Faso)

Zakaria by/de Leyla Bouzid (Tunisia)


10949 femmes (“10949 women”) by/de Nassima Guessoum (Algeria/Algérie)

Ady Gasy by/de Nanteneina Lova (Madagascar)

Asni:  Courage, passion and glamor in Ethiopia by/de Samuel Rachel (Ethiopia/Éthiopie)

Beats of the Antonov by/de Hajooj Kuka (South Africa/Afrique du Sud)

Devoir de mémoire (“Duty of memory”) by/de Mamadou Cissé (Mali)

Egypt's Modern Pharaohs (“Les pharaons moderns de l'Égypte”) by/de Jihan El-Tahri (Egypte)

Esklavaj Reparasyon by/de Jean-Luc Sylvain et Michel Miheaye (Togo)

Intore, entre la danse et l'art de la guerre (“Intore, between dance and the art of war”) by/de Aristide Muco et Aristide Katihabwa (Burundi)

Koukan Kourcia, les médiatrices (“Koukan Kourcia, the women mediators”) by/de Sani Magori (Niger)

La sirène de Faso Fani | The Siren of Faso Fani by/de Michel K. Zongo (Burkina Faso)

La souffrance est une école de sagesse | Suffering is a School of Wisdom by/d’Ariane Astrid Atodji (Cameroun/Cameroon)

Le chant des tortues | The Turtle’s Song by/de Jawad Rhalib (Maroc/Morocco)

Mantuila, un fou de la guitare (“Mantuila, passionate about the guitar”) by/de Michée Sunzu Tshimanga (RDC)

Miners Shot Down (“Mineurs abattus) by/de Desai Rehad (South Africa/Afrique du Sud)
Momsarew by/d’Alassane Diagne (Senegal)

Paths To Freedom (“Les Chemins de la Liberté”) by/de Richard Pakleppa (Namibia)

Sur les chemins de la Rumba (“On the roads to the Rumba”) by/de David-Pierre Fila (Cameroun/Cameroon)

Sur un air de révolte ("To the tune of rebellion") by/de Franck Salin (Guadeloupe)

Tango Negro, les racines africaines du tango | Tango Negro, the African Roots of Tango by/de Dom Pedro (Angola)

Victorieux ou morts mais jamais prisonniers | Victorious or Dead, but never Prisoner by/de Mario L. Delatour (Haiti)


Eh les hommes ! Eh les femmes !  (“Hey men, hey women!”) by/de Apolline Woye Traore (Burkina Faso)

Chroniques africaines (“African diaries”) by/de Marie-Christine Amon (Côte d'Ivoire)

Coeurs errants (“Wandering hearts”) by/de Sorel Agbodemakou (Bénin)

Courses pour la vie by/de Francis Zossou et Tiburce Bocovo (Bénin)

Dougouba Sigui by/de Boubacar Sidibe (Mali)

Du jour au lendemain (“Overnight”) by/d’Adama Roamba (Burkina Faso)

La belle-mère (“The Mother-in-law”) by/d’Ebenezer Kepombia (Cameroon/Cameroun)

Lex Nostra by/de Gérard Désiré Nguele Amougou (Cameroon/Cameroun)

Tôt ou tard (“Sooner or later”) by/de S. Bernard Yameogo (Burkina Faso)


Bebi Solo (ESEC, Togo)

La Merveilleuse et mystérieuse croix d'agadez (“The magnificent and mysterious Agadez Cross”) by/d’Amadou Dénis Roufay (IFTIC, Niger)

Délestage électrique by/de Karim Koné (Brico Films Formation, Mali)

Dinan by/de Senami Kpetehogbe (Isma, Bénin)

Elise by/de Saho Zoh (ISMA, Bénin)

Et si Dieu avait tort (“And if God were wrong”) by/de Palyikem Kpatchaa (Esec, Togo)

Je danse, donc je suis (“I dance, therefore I am”) by/d’Aissata Ouarma (ISIS, Burkina Faso)

Kadi (Lanterne | Lantern) by/de Lawrence Agbetsise (Nafti, Ghana)

Kanko l'Ixelloise by/de Boubacar Sangaré (ISIS, Burkina Faso)

Karité, manne des savanes (“Karité, a blessing of the Savanna) by/d’Félicia Abenan Abossi Kouakou (ISACOM, Côte d'Ivoire)

Liberté emprisonnée (“Freedom imprisoned”) by/de Sara Mikayil (ESAV, Maroc/Morocco)

Sagar by/de Pape Abdoulaye Seck (ESAV, Maroc/Morocco)

Stigmate d'une prêtresse (“Stigma of a priestess”) by/de Prince Kong A. Maneng (ISMA, Bénin)

Le voyageur (“The traveler”) by/de Peter Sedufia (NAFTI, Ghana)

Wakman by/de Sékou Oumar Sidibé (ISIS, Burkina Faso)

Lien | Link

Fespaco en femmes | Women's Fespaco 2013

13 January 2015

We are Nigeria | Nous Sommes Nigéria


The African Women in Cinema Blog:

In support of Nigeria where more than 2000 persons were massacred in an attack by Boko Haram.

Soutenons le Nigéria où plus de 2000 personnes ont été massacres dans l’attaque de Boko Haram.

10 January 2015

BOUND: Africans vs African Americans by Peres Owino OFFICIAL TEASER TRAILER 2015

BOUND: Africans vs African Americans by U.S.-based Kenyan filmmaker Peres Owino

Peres Owino: "This documentary will look at those things that make us similar, what unifies us as opposed to what divides us. We can all agree we have been dealing with the latter for over 500 years." 

Read the entire interview with Peres Owino by Beti Ellerson, October 2011 during which she discusses her experiences as actor and filmmaker, and her documentary project which explores the sometimes tense relationship between Africans and African Americans: