Last month at the opening of the Africa Hub at the European Film Market of the Berlinale, the Ladima Foundation announced a new initiative for 2019, the formation of a network of women-focused and managed film and cultural festivals from across Africa.
This network already includes the Udada International Film Festival in Nairobi Kenya, the Urusaro International Women's Festival from Rwanda, and the Celebrating Womanhood Festival and Conference in Uganda, and most recently the EcranBenin Festival from Benin.
The aims of this initiative are multi-fold, by being part of a larger whole, that will stretch across countries and borders, each festival is more able to customise their programming, leverage potential funders, sponsors, and partners as well as provide women filmmakers with viable platforms to promote and exhibit their films. This global-thinking network will also strengthen the local impact that each festival will have within its own regional industry.
As members of the network, the Festival Directors and management teams will receive training through intensive residency workshops in two areas that have been identified as strategically essential; those being curatorship and programming and the business of running a film festival.
Additionally, the Ladima Foundation team and its partners will provide on-going mentorship and support for these festivals in these areas along with publicity and marketing as well as, outreach to potential partners and funders.
The first of these training sessions and workshops will be taking place on March 5th in Kampala Uganda at the Celebrating Womanhood Festival, part of the Native Voices International event. Edima Otuokon, co-founder of the Ladima Foundation will be running a workshop for female filmmakers invited to the festival on the power of film to empower and uplift women across Africa.
The workshop will highlight the significant role film and media plays in changing individual, informal, formal and institutional structures in societies that impede the socio-economic development of women in Africa. Further showcasing how female filmmakers can utilize the power of film to affect social, cultural and economic change in their communities, country and continent.
Her workshop will form part of a five-day program that includes film screenings, panel discussions and interactive workshops, all focused on issues relevant to women and with an outcome and solution driven approach.
The Festival will screen a range of films from or focused on African women including Sisters-in-Law from Cameroon, directed by Florence Ayisi, and Kim Longinotto, Jordan Riber's Fatuma, the Ugandan short, Hibo and Hoden by Nikissi Serumaga, as well as the winner of the Ladima Foundation's 2018 Adiaha Award for Best Documentary by an African Woman, New Moon directed by Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann. These and all other film screenings will be followed by interactive discussions.
While in attendance at the event Edima will also work with the festival directors and management team to strengthen their skills in terms of marketing, curation, and business management.
Lennie Kleinen, Program Manager Native Voices International, has this to say on being part of the network, "Native Voices International is excited to be part of the Ladima Woman's Festival Network family, an initiative long overdue. We are optimistic for the opportunities that working with Ladima presents to our female filmmakers through providing them with platforms to promote and exhibit their works. Like any other festival particularly those in the south, Native Voices is struggling with funding challenges, sustainability and visibility. The training, publicity and marketing support among other opportunities that the Ladima Foundation provides offers growth potential, not only for Native Voices as an organization, but also for our members and filmmakers in the region. We are looking forward to Ladima's maiden visit to Uganda and for the workshop that has received overwhelming participant response."
Edima will also visit other festival partners in the region as a build up to the first residency program for the Festival Directors that will take place before the Urusaro Women's Film Festival in Kigali Rwanda with a focus on curation.
To find out more about the African Women Film Festival network and the Ladima Foundation visit: https://www.ladima.africa/ and to find out more about the Celebrating Womanhood Festival go to: www.Nativevoicesinternational.org or www.facebook.com/nativevoicesinternational