Film festival an opportunity for Wellington to experience African culture

A Wellington film festival will celebrate powerful African women this week.

Nov 4th 2020 · 2 min read
Film festival an opportunity for Wellington to experience African culture

A scene from the film Musa, screening at the African Film Festival.

From the first film directed by a woman in Djibouti, to a story of rebellion in Cameroon, a film festival in Wellington will celebrate powerful African women this week.

The African Film Festival, at Wellington’s Light House Cuba cinema from Wednesday night through to November 8, will showcase African women directors, filmmakers and writers.

Festival founder, Boubacar Coulibaly, said the event was an opportunity for New Zealanders to be exposed to African culture.

Film subjects range from the complex history of the Ethiopian civil war to the climb of Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania by four Nigerian women.


African Film Festival New Zealand organiser Coulibaly Boubacar (right) and festival patron Gregory Fortuin.

After a film festival in Burkina Faso where Coulibaly met talented women willing to tell their stories, the Aucklander sought to showcase their work for a New Zealand audience.

“Their point of views are unique, they have such a different way to tell stories.

“Women are always the first suffering from a situation, they are at the frontline of any conflicts or fights,” Coulibaly said.

The festival will screen 15 films, with a range of documentaries, short films, dramas, comedies and features.

The festival has run in Auckland since 2015, and Wellington since 2017.

One film, Women Hold up the Sky, looks at how women have been the first affected by the pollution, loss of land and displacement in Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa.

South-African producer, Connie Nagiah, said the film was made with a mainly female team.

“This film shares the stories of the often silenced, ignored and erased perspectives of African women, whose experiences and struggles are part of a global story of rebellion and resistance against an unworkable, unjust, unsustainable economic, social and development paradigm,” Nagiah said.

“It was a challenging exercise from the outset as there are not many films on this subject made by and for Africans, or tells a story from the perspective of grassroots African women.

“Women are slowly getting more access to spaces, funding opportunities, and gaining recognition for their contributions to the arts and filmmaking. As African women filmmakers, we have many stories to tell about our continent in all its rich diversity.”

Another film, Dhalinyaro, was the first movie directed by a woman in Djibouti, on the African east coast.

Coulibaly was not able to pick his favourite but said ‘Musa’, screening on the opening night, particularly touched him.

“She is a rebellious young woman, breaking the rules and tradition in Cameroon, she fights for what she believes,” he said.

last updated: 2020-11-04@09:11