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Also see: Film Timeline of Works by African Women



1950s


Annette Mbaye d'Erneville of Senegal, pioneer journalist, film critic, film festival organizer and cultural activist, studies journalism in Paris beginning in the late 1940s and is actively involved in the intellectual life of the 1950s.


Guadeloupian Sarah Maldoror creates a theater group with African and Caribbean colleagues in the mid-1950s among which are Timité Bassori and Ababacar Samb, who would later become her filmmaker colleagues.


1960s



1963 – Journalist Thérèse Sita-Bella (Cameroon) makes a 30-minute documentary entitled Tam Tam à Paris.  The film documents the National Dance Company of Cameroon during its tour in Paris.

1966

First World Festival of Black Arts, Dakar, Senegal.

Release of La Noire de… by Ousmane Sembene. Mbissine Thérèse Diop (Senegal) plays the role of the protagonist Diouana.

Zalika Souley (Niger) begins her pioneering career as actor in the film
Retour d’un aventurier by Mustapha Alassane.

1967 – Efua Sutherland (Ghana) produces Arabia: The Village Story, a major documentary film made by ABC, a national U.S. television network.  The documentary records the success of one of her most important projects, the Atwia Experimental Community Theatre Project.

1969

Alimata Salembéré (Burkina Faso) one of the founding members of FESPACO—and president of the organizing committee of the first festival in 1969.

Tam Tam à Paris featured at the first Week of African Cinema—later to become FESPACO—along with the films of Mustapha Alassane (Niger), Ousmane Sembene (Senegal), Ababacar Samb (Senegal), Urbain N'Dia (Cameroon), Paulin Vieyra (Senegal), and Momar Thiam (Senegal).

Zalika Souley is among the founding members of FEPACI (Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers).


1970s


1970 - Sarah Maldoror's Monangambee included in the 2nd Edition of FESPACO under the country Angola.

1971 - Sarah Maldoror's Monangambee selected at Cannes Film Festival (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) under the country Angola.

Sarah Maldoror's Sambizanga included in the Carthage (Tunisia) Film Festival in 1972, it is awarded first prize, the Tanit d'Or.

Safi Faye (Senegal) as a film student makes her short film La Passante.

1975 – UN Decade for Women (1976-1985).

1976
– Institut Africain d’Education Cinématographique (INAFEC) is created in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Burkinabès Aminata Ouedraogo and Fanta Nacro, among others pass through its doors.

1977 - Founding of the Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD) | Association des femmes Africaines pour la recherche sur le developpement (AFARD)

1978Research conducted on African women in the media during a study visit by journalists Elma Lititia Anani (Sierra Leone), Alkaly Miriama Keita (Niger), and Awatef Abdel Rahman (Egypt), held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 24-30 September.

1979Fad’jal by Safi Faye, presented in the “Un certain regard” section at the Cannes Film Festival.

1980s

1981 – Publication of Women and the Mass Media in Africa: Cases Studies of Sierra Leone, the Niger and Egypt by Elma Lititia Anani, Alkaly Miriama Keita, Awatef Abdel Rahman. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa. Research Series - African Training and Research Centre for Women/Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade for Women.

1983Alimata Salembéré served as General Secretary of FESPACO from 1982 to 1984, thus overseeing the 8th FESPACO in 1983.

1985 – The UN Decade for Women ends with an unprecedented focus on African women who were host of the last conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

1989

Vues d'Afrique Film Festival (Montreal) organizes a special section devoted to African women in the visual media.

Creation of the "Images de femmes" (Images of Women) project, from which emerges the prize "Images de femmes" offered by ACCT and presented during the annual Vues d'Afrique.

L’Association des Actrices Africaines/The Association of African Actresses is created at FESPACO, Zalika Souley (Niger) is elected president in recognition of the role she played in asserting the value of women in the world of African cinema.


1990s


1990

Annette Mbaye d’Erneville (Senegal) creates RECIDAK (Rencontres Cinématographiques de Dakar).

Seminar on Women and Representation in Media at the Conference on Women and Technology in Southern Africa. Sponsored by the UN-Harare in conjunction with SADCC.

1991

At the 12th FESPACO a part of the platform is organized under the title "Women, Cinema, Television and Video in Africa.

Union Panafricaine des Femmes de l'Image du Burkina is established. Currently directed by Franceline Oubda and Kadidia Sanogo.

L’Union Nationale des Femmes Professionnelles de l'Image du Burkina is created, headed by Suzanne Kourouma.

1992

Africa Women Filmmakers Trust (AWFT) based in Zimbabwe is established.

Bridget Pickering (Namibia) launches the Pan African Film Festival of Namibia.

The Association of Professional African Women in Cinema, Television and Video (AFAPTV) is created, Aminata Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) is the general secretary.

1993

Africa in the Pictures II, a film festival organized by the Africa Centre (London) and hosted by the National Film Theatre was accompanied by a one-day conference focusing on Women in African Cinema.

Mahen Bonetti (Sierra Leone) launches the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF).

African Women in Film and Video—Kenya Section, an affiliate of the Pan-African Union of Women in the Image Industry (AFAPTV) is created, Eulalie Namae is chairperson.

1994

The Pan-African Union of Women in the Image Industry (AFAPTV) meets at the Fifth Women’s Regional Conference in preparation for the Beijing Conference in November 1994. AFAPTV emphasized the importance of presenting African perspectives at this international event and that women filmmakers on the continent should take the lead in the visualization of these perspectives.

Femmes d'images de l'Afrique francophone, compiled by Najwa Tlili (Tunisia), is one of the direct results of the 1989 Vues d’Afrique meeting.  The index brings together the biography and filmography of women in the cinema from "francophone" Africa, as well as a listing of other relevant contacts.

Kommunalkino Bremen Film Festival (Germany) is devoted entirely to African women filmmakers.

1995

Horria Saiha television producer, director and reporter from Algeria receives the Courage in Journalism Award (International Women's Media Foundation).

A Gabonese national bureau of the Pan-African Union of Women in the Image Industry (AFAPTV) is created.

L'Association des femmes africaines professionnelles du cinéma, de la télévision et de la vidéo/The Association of Professional African Women in Cinema, Television and Video reorganizes under the name, The Pan-African Union of Women in the Image Industry/L'Union panafricaine des femmes de l'image (UPAFI).

1996

Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe is formed, chaired by Petronella Munongoro. The goals of the association are to: train more women for the film industry, collect funding for the continuation of the work, plan distribution and exhibition of films made by women, and organize production workshops.

Mossane by Safi Faye, presented in the “Un certain regard” section at the Cannes Film Festival.

Flame by Ingrid Sinclair presented in the “Quinzaine des Réalisateurs” section at the Cannes Film Festival.

Rencontres Cinématographiques de Dakar (RECIDAK) focuses on “Women and the Cinema”. From this meeting comes the slogan “When women of the cinema take action, African cinema moves forward.” A special tribute to Safi Faye.

Efua Sutherland pioneer journalist/filmmaker dies.

1997

The 15th edition of FESPACO presents an unprecedented number of films (feature, short, documentary) by women: Safi Faye, Mossane; Tsitsi Dangarembga, Everyone’s Child; Ingrid Sinclair, Flame; Nadia Fares, Miel et Cendres; Anne-Laure Folly; Les Oubliées; Fanta Nacro, Puk Nini; Sara Maldoror, Léon G. Damas

Based in Dakar, Senegal, the African Women's Media Center, a project of the International Women's Media Foundation is created.

Images d’Ailleurs, Paris-based cinema house organizes a film forum titled "Cri du coeur des femmes"

With Open Eyes: African Women and Cinema, edited by Kenneth Harrow (USA), Matatu 19 (Rodopi, The Netherlands).

1998

The Festival international de film de femmes/International Women's Film Festival at Créteil has an impressive platform devoted to women of Africa, with gala for Safi Faye.

The audiovisual production company “African Queen Productions" inaugurates the Festival International du Court Metrage d’Abidjan (FICA). Ivoirian actress Hanny Tchelley Ivoirian is the Secretary-General.

Burkinabè actress Georgette Paré initiates, Casting Sud, a pan-African casting agency to promote African actors and actresses.

The Southern African Film Festival activities include the African Women Filmmakers’ Forum—a platform for African women filmmakers to meet.

Women of the Sun is conceptualized at the Southern African International Film & Television Market at Sithengi.

1999 - Disrupting Binary Divisions: Representation of Identity in Saikati and Battle of the Sacred Tree. By Wanjiku Beatrice Mukora. Master's Thesis, McGill University, Montreal.


2000s


2000

Women of the Sun is launched in South Africa.

Sister of the Screen: Women of Africa on Film, Video and Television by Beti Ellerson (USA) published by Africa World Press/Red Sea Press (USA/Eritrea).

Africa at the Pictures Film Festival  (London) – Weekend Seminar on African Women and Cinema ‘Taking Care of Business'.

2001

The Mama Africa series released by Zimmedia. The series includes six short fiction films representing women throughout the continent: Raja Amari (Tunisia); Fanta Nacro (Burkina Faso); Ngozi Onwurah (Nigeria); Zulfah Otto-Sallies (South Africa); Bridget Pickering (Namibia); Ingrid Sinclair (Zimbabwe).

Taking Care of Business – African Women in Films, a mini-festival hosted by Women of the Sun, in conjunction with the Film Resource Unit. The festival consisted of screenings, a discussion with industry bodies, as well as film critics and analysis.

2002

Case Study of Africa Women Filmmakers Trust detailed analysis in "Media and the Empowerment of Communities for Social Change" doctoral thesis by Chido E.F. Matewa of Zimbabwe.

International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF), the women's film festival in Harare, Zimbabwe founded by Tsitsi Dangarembga.

Women of the Sun website is launched (no longer active). 

Documentary, Sisters of the Screen: Africa Women in the Cinema by Beti Ellerson, distributed by Women Make Movies (USA).

2003

African Women Filmmakers Awards is launched at Sithengi, Southern Africa's biggest annual international film and television market.

Les Premières Rencontres Cinématographiques "Films Femmes Afrique".

2004 - The African Women's Film Festival is established in Johannesburg in August 2004 under the theme "film from a woman's perspective". The festival showcases films of all genres by women, about women, and from women's perspectives, with special focus on the continent.

2005

Musola Cathrine Kasketi creates the International Film Festival of Zambia renamed View Images Film Festival.

Images of Black Women Film Festival is launched in London.

2006

Pioneer journalist/filmmaker Thérèse Sita-Bella dies on 27 February.

Seipati Bulane-Hopa (2006-2012) of South Africa elected as secretary-general of FEPACI, Fédération Panafricaine des Cinéastes/the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers during the 7th congress of FEPACI held in Pretoria, April 2006.

2007

Africa in Motion (AiM) Edinburgh African film festival (created by South African Lizelle Bischoff) focuses on women among the three themes.

L’Association des Femmes Africaines pour la Recherche et le Développement (AFARD). The Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD). La Recherche Féministe en Afrique : Avancées, Obstacles et Défi (Feminist Research in Africa: Progress, Obstacles and Challenges). 30 Nov 2007. Dakar, Senegal.

Musola Cathrine Kasketi, laureate of the Distinguished Woman of African Cinema Award presented by Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe at the International Images Film Festival held in Harare.

2008

Ladyfest London 2008 showcases several African women filmmakers.

Cinemas of the South at the Cannes Film Festival hosts a Pavillon des Femmes - African women among twenty-three women of the South present their films and discuss various topics regarding production, distribution and networking. L’Engagement des femmes cinéastes - Table-ronde au festival de Cannes 2008, 21 May.

The theme of the 12th edition of
Ecrans noirs du Cinéma africain, held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, has as its theme, Women, Cinema and the Audiovisuel.

The Festival International de Documentaire à Agadir | Agadir International Documentary Festival (Maroc | Morocco) is launched by Nouzha Drissi.

2009

Nadège Batou, (Congo-Brazzaville) Creates the traveling film event, Festival des 7 Quartiers.

Chantal Bagilishya, Rwandan Paris-based producer, dies on 28 September. En Français

Villant Ndasowa, Malawian filmmaker and media consultant, creates the Malawi International Film Festival.

L'Association Mauritanienne des Femmes d’Image/The Association of Mauritanian Women of the Image is created.

Nakai Matema of Zimbabwe, laureate of the Distinguished Woman of African Cinema Award presented by Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe at the International Images Film Festival held in Harare.


2010s


2010

Maji-da Abdi, Paris-based Ethiopian producer-filmmaker launches Images That Matter International Short Film Festival (ITMSFF) in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.

Des journées cinématographiques de la femme africaine de l'image is launched in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 3-8 March.

First Edition of Mois du cinéma féminin a Dakar, launched by l’Association sénégalaise des critiques de cinéma (ASCC), every Saturday during the month of March.

Mis Me Binga (The Eyes of Women) Women’s International Film Festival is created in Cameroon.

The 32eme Festival international de film de femmes/International Women's Film Festival at Créteil presents the program Trans-Europe-Afrique, 2-11 April.

Prix Annette Mbaye d’Erneville created by the Agence de Presse Sénégalaise, in May.

Arts-work: promoting professional women in the film. Goethe-Institut-hosted African Women Filmmaker’s Forum, a gathering of 25 women filmmakers of all levels of experience from sub-Saharan Africa, the USA and Germany to network with and gain inspiration from colleagues. 1-4 September, Johannesburg, South Africa.
See Description

Women of Sun Film Festival. Johannesburg, South Africa, 3-9 September.

2011

The Women’s Panorama at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, a program of cinema designed especially for the women of Zanzibar.

Women in Film Indaba 2011 hosted by the National Film and Video Foundation, September.

Gele Day (Women Day), special segment at the Festival of Indigenous African Language Films (FIAF) on the topic: Women Empowerment in the Film Industry, 2-5 October.

Women and African Cinema Conference: Women and Film in Africa: Overcoming Social Barriers, London, England, 19-21 November.

Beti Ellerson of the United States, laureate of the Distinguished Woman of African Cinema Award presented by Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe at the International Images Film Festival held in Harare.

Nouzha Drissi, the founder and director of the Documentary Film Festival of Agadir, Morocco, died Sunday morning (4 December) in a car accident in Casablanca.

Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe extends the International Images Film Festival for Women (IIFF) outreach to Matabeleland North town of Binga, 5-7 December.

2012

Women prominently featured at the first Luxor African Film Festival, February.

International Conference on Nollywood, Women, and Cultural Identity 8-12 May Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria.

Adaobi Obiegbosi of Nigeria creates the African Student Film Festival (ASFF).

Feminist Africa, Issue 16, "African Feminist Engagements with Film".  

Women on and Behind the Screen, theme of the Afrikamera 2012 Film Festival (Berlin), 13-18 November.

Colloque-rencontres « Les réalisatrices africaines francophones: 40 ans de cinéma (1972-2012) » - Paris, 23-24 novembre (Colloquium-Meeting "Francophone African Women Filmmakers: 40 years of cinema (1972-2012)", November).

Tstitsi Dangarembga, Branwen Okpako and Auma Obama (film school classmates in Germany), reunite at the screening of  Branwen Okpako’s film The Education of Ouma Obama at the 11th Edition of the International Images Film Festival for Women in Harare.

Documentary series (26 min) Regard au féminin by Issaka Compaore: Valérie Kaboré (Burkina Faso), Mary-Noël Niba (Cameroun), Farida Benlyazid (Maroc | Morocco), Joséphine Ndagnou (Cameroun), Jihan El Tahri (Égypte), Monique Mbeka Phoba (République Démocratique du Congo), Fanta Régina Nacro (Burkina Faso), Raja Amari (Tunisie), Fatma Zohra Zamoum (Algérie), Rahmatou Keita (Niger)

2013

Fespaco 2013: Women take leadership role on the various juries. The five women presiding the official juries: ( Euzhan Palcy (Martinique) Feature Film Jury; Osvalde Lewat-Hallade (Cameroon) Documentary Jury;  Beti Ellerson (USA) Diaspora Jury; Jackie Motsepe (South Africa) TV and Digital Jury; Wanjiru Kinyanjui (Kenya) Short fiction and Film School Jury | Fespaco 2013: Les femmes prennent les commandes des différents jurys. Les cinq présidentes des jurys officiels : Euzhan Palcy (Martinique) le jury fiction long métrage ; Osvalde Lewat-Hallade (Cameroun) le jury documentaire ; Beti Ellerson (USA) le jury diaspora  ; Jackie Motsepe (Afrique du Sud) le jury TV & vidéo numérique ; Wanjiru Kinyanjui (Kenya) le jury fiction court métrage et film d’école. Guest of Honour | Invitée d'honneur : Alimata Salembéré.

"Her Stories - Filmmakers with African Roots" film series held in Berlin one evening each month from 21 February through 13 June

Concours "L’Afrique au féminin : coup de projecteur sur les réalisatrices africaines. CFI et CANAL+ AFRIQUE lancent "L’Afrique au féminin " concours de documentaires courts, avec l’objectif de valoriser l’énergie des femmes africaines engagées dans la réalisation |  (Africa by its women) : A competition spotlighting African women filmmakers. CFI and CANAL+ AFRIQUE is launching "L’Afrique au féminin", a competition of short documentaries, with the objective to empower the energy of African women involved in filmmaking.

Second African Women in Film Forum, Accra, Ghana, 23-25 September.

Passing of Khady Sylla (Senegal) 8 October.

2014

First Edition of the African Women Film Festival TAZAMA from 6 to 12 January 2014 in Congo-Brazzaville.

Sénéfa Coulibaly, Burkina Faso, dies 18 January.

Africa Alive Festival. FilmForum Höchst & Filmmuseum Frankfurt. 30.01.2014 – 9.02.2014. In the presence of: Sita Traoré, Claude Haffner, Safi Faye. The French Institute of History (Frankfurt) and the Cinémathèque Afrique (Paris) are partners of the festival. In commemoration of its 20th year, the festival is dedicated to women of Africa.

Lupita Nyong’o born in Mexico of Kenyan parents, wins Oscar (Academy Awards, USA) for the supporting actress in the film Twelve Days a Slave by Steve McQueen.

AfricAvenir Namibia and the FNCC present Namibian Women in Film featuring: 100 Bucks by Oshosheni Hiveluah, Uno’s World by Bridget Pickering and Tjiraa by Krishka Stoffels.

Amaka Igwe, renowned Nollywood producer (1963-2014). Nigerian Writer, Director and Producer, and CEO of Amaka Igwe Studios. A visionary and pioneer of modern Nigerian TV drama and movie production, she stamped her authority on numerous roles she played in the Nigerian television sector, as well as the home video industry, known as Nollywood.

The Association of Congolese Women Filmmakers presents The first edition of Cinema au féminin (CINEF) under the theme "Empowerment of Congolese women through its initiatives for development”. 10-14 June 2014 in Kinshasa.

First Edition of the women’s film festival Udada from 24-29 October in Nairobi, Kenya.

Three Kenyans launch the Out of Africa Film Festival (OOAIFF) - Mumbi Hinga (Australia), Wairimu Mwangi (Kenya), Rose Wachuka (France)

2015 UPDATE IN PROGRESS

Passing of Assia Djebar (Algeria), 6 February.

NFVF National Film and Video Foundation (South Africa) /BLINGOLA Films Female Filmmaker Project 2015/16

2016 UPDATE IN PROGRESS

Décès de l'actrice et réalisatrice Marie-Louise Asseu (Côte d'Ivoire )


Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT) is form at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa

2017 UPDATE IN PROGRESS

Ndiva Women’s Film Festival launched in Accra, Ghana



Also see: Film Timeline of Works by African Women


© Beti Ellerson 2004-2017. Center for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema |

Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinéma