By Ogova Ondego
Published August 26, 2010
A seven-day audiovisual media festival to celebrate African women filmmakers takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa, September 2-9, 2010.The event, Women of the Sun Film Festival, is set to showcase 25 films by women from 15 African Countries. It is said to be the first of its kind to take place in South Africa.
Among the women participatng in the festival are Jyoti Mistry with her film THE BULL ON THE ROOF (South Africa), Tagreed Elsanhouri’s MOTHER UNKNOWN and ALL ABOUT DARFUR (Sudan), Hawa Essuman’s SOUL BOY (Germany/Kenya), Fanta Nacro’s NIGHT OF TRUTH (Burkina Faso), Djamila Sahraoui’s BARAKAT (Algeria), Maria Joao Ganga’s (HOLLOW CITY (Angola) and Zimbabwean Tsitsi Dangarembga who runs a women’s festival in Harare. Ganga is the first Angolan woman to ever make a feature film.
“The festival offers a unique opportunity to see great films and to meet the exceptional women behind them,” says Eve Rantseli, Executive Officer of Women Of the Sun and Vice Chairperson of The South African Screen Federation (SASFED).”It’s open to all and there’s something for everyone. The selection will showcase some of the best examples of the filmmaking craft, crossing a diverse range of genres and styles, from family drama to social justice documentaries and to experimental films.”
Saying “The time is ripe to change the widely held belief that filmmaking is a male domain,” Rantseli adds, “Women in film have much to say and are saying it with unique vision and flair. The launch of this annual women’s film festival will be the start of getting women filmmakers and their works part of the mainstream.”
Rantseli says WoS Film Festival “will challenge the notion that only certain people make films and that only certain places/countries have a film industry. It will open our eyes and ears to distinct female voices from far-flung places across the continent and highlight emerging industry and talent.”
The Women of the Sun Film Festival runs alongside the 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.
Rantseli says this African Women Filmmaker’s Forum “is a platform for Africa women filmmakers to assess the situation and develop strategies to strengthen their presence in the industry. It’s all about creating inspiration and supporting women in the industry to make more films, and once films are made, getting work widely distributed to audiences.”
Among those invited to the African Women Filmmaker’s Forum are world-renowned women filmmakers and festival programmers, distributors and local and international directors, producers and academics.
The festival’s red carpet launch takes place at Arts on Main on the evening of the September 2 and is expected to attract “some of the biggest names associated with women and film. Among them are renowned professor of media, culture and gender theory, Dr Christina von Braun (Germany), Berlinale Forum for International Cinema Programme Director, filmmaker and journalist Dorothee Wenner and Director of New York-based film distribution company, Women Make Movies, Debra Zimmerman.”
With the Opening Night on Thursday, September 2, at Arts on Main, the festival runs from Friday, September 3, to Thursday, September 9, at the Bioscope Cinema on Fox Street. The African Women Filmmaker’s Forum, on the other hand, September 1-4 at the Goethe-Institut. Day 4 of the Forum is open to members of the public and all filmmakers, Rantseli says.
The festival is put together by Women of the Sun in conjunction with Goethe-Institut, the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC) and the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC).