Heike Friesel, Director, Goethe Institute Ghana
Heike Friesel, Director, Goethe Institute Ghana

US holds Women in Motion Film festival

The United States (US) Embassy in Ghana has organised the Women in Motion Film Festival to portray the contributions of women in the movie industry.

The eight-day festival, which ended yesterday, screened various movies about women and produced by women to commemorate International Women’s Day.

The event was in partnership with the Goethe-Institut, Ghana, and Alliance Française, Accra. It screened short films from Ghana, the US, France, Germany and some African countries.

The opening screening showed films such as “Madame’s Cravings” and the “Consequences of Feminism” by Alice Guy from France in 1906 and “From the Reports of the Security Guards” and “Patrol Services” by Helke Sander from Germany in 1985.

Films made by Ghanaian American, Akosua Adoma Owusu, in 2009 “Me Broni Ba” and an animation by a Ghanaian British filmmaker, Comfort Arthur “Black Barbie” in 2016, also found their way onto the screens.

The last film shown as part of the festival was “The Woman King” by Gina Prince-Bythewood. It is a story about Agojie, an all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s

Some audience expressing their excitement at the Film Festival. Pictures: ERNEST KODZI

There was a panel discussion on the evolution of female representation in cinematic history headed by Ms Owusu, Aseye Tamakloe and Marion Astier; a film consultant who contributed in the selection of the films.

The Director of Goethe-Institut, Ghana, Heike Friesel, said the movies were about topics in Africa and also produced and directed by Africans.

She explained that Alice Guy was the first female director in France who made short funny silent films in 1906.

Subsequent films, she noted, would be documentaries such as “Among Us Women,” about midwifery in Ethiopia, fiction films, among others.

Ms Astier said the selection of films was to showcase female experiences in the industry.

“So there’s going to be different formats such as short films, documentaries, animations and extracts from TV shows,” she stated.

Me Broni Ba

Ms Owusu said: “Me Broni Ba” (My White Baby) is a lyrical portrait of hair salons in Kumasi. 

“The tangled legacy of European colonialism in Africa is evoked through images of women practising hair braiding on discarded white baby dolls from the West,” she added.

The film, she explained, unfolded through a series of vignettes, set against a child's story of migrating from Ghana to the United States.

Ms Owusu said she was taught to use filmmaking as a tool for making art and developing their own cinematic language.

She added that she always returned to black hair when developing a film because she was interested in the communal aspect of hair braiding.

“I always returned to black hair care, because I was very curious about the care and tenderness, multiple people washing someone's hair or braiding someone's hair. That was something that was a very personal experience, and I sort of wanted to translate that into film,” she added.

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