A Glimpse into the BFC/A’s FESPACO Poster Collection, Part 1 – Women Filmmakers

Hello there! My name is Sarah Mayersohn and I am interning at the BFC/A as part of my coursework for my master’s in library science at the School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University-Bloomington. One of my primary duties is processing African movie posters into the archive’s FESPACO collection, and I’ve noticed that there are some really fascinating films that deserve attention. In this seven-part blog series, I will be highlighting a number of films that we have in the poster collection.

Female filmmakers are a minority around the world, including Africa. Fortunately, the status of female directors has been rising over the past decade in African cinema due to wide acclaim for their films.

Monica Wangu Wamwere: The Unbroken Spirit by Jane Murago-Munene, Kenya (2011) –Jane Murago-Munene’s documentary tells the story of Mama Koigi, the mother of human rights activist and politician Koigi wa Wamwere, who was a political prisoner in Kenya. She was involved in various efforts to campaign for the release of political prisoners, such as the 1992 Mothers’ Hunger strike, and successfully led efforts to have her son released. This is a great example of how film can bring attention to largely unknown African women and how involved women can be in the African filmmaking industry.  In fact, the director is also the founder of CineArts Afrika in 1990 and chairperson of the Kenya National Film Association and Eastern Africa regional secretary of FEPACI (the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers).

La Nuit de la vérité (Night of Truth) by Fanta Regina Nacro, Burkina Faso (2004) – Fanta Regina Nacro is possibly the best known female director to hail from Burkina Faso today. She received a master’s degree in film and audiovisual studies at the Sorbonne and has been in the film industry since the early 1990s. La Nuit de la vérité is her first full-length feature after years of directing shorts such as Puk Nini (1996). This film is set in a fictional West African country that has been in a civil war for a decade when the two sides decide to make efforts towards peace in their country. However, things don’t always go as smoothly as they would like…

About BFC/A

The Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University was established in 1981 as the first archival repository dedicated to collecting, preserving, and making available historically and culturally significant films by and about black people. The BFC/A's primary objectives are to promote scholarship on black film and to serve as an open resource for scholars, researchers, students, and the general public; to encourage creative film activity by independent black filmmakers; and to undertake and support research on the history, impact, theory, and aesthetics of black film traditions. View all posts by BFC/A

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