A total of 10 short films, including two from South Africa, have been selected for the African Women in the Time of Covid-19 Short Film Competition - which is being held by the Ladima Foundation, in partnership with DW Akademie. The 10 selected films will premiere via a live stream on 10 July 2020 and then be available for viewing on various platforms from 11 July.
The short film competition invited African women to share their stories about the personal, economic, and social impact of Covid-19 in Africa. The brave and powerful films that were submitted sadly have reflected the extremely difficult circumstances that many African women are facing. The stories have shown how in too many cases that the pandemic has indeed impacted women harder and in different ways than on their male counterparts.
An overwhelming response saw just under 200 women from 18 African countries sharing their moving and honest stories on a diversity of topics with dominant themes of domestic violence, altered access to opportunities, increased burden of care, although also of resilience and hope.
The following films and filmmakers were selected:
'Being' - Malak El Araby (Egypt)
Malak is a 21-year-old film major graduating senior at The American University in Cairo. Malak is passionate about filmmaking and photography, winning third place UIFF in South Korea and working on multiple movies in Egyptian cinema. Malak’s short films are always inspired by women empowerment, portraying their struggles and stories.
'Being' is about how everyone took everything for granted before the pandemic. How the little things in life are what matters most. How we never realise what we have until it is lost. What we miss and what we should appreciate in life after all of this is over.
'Blunder' - Fezeka Tholakele (South Africa)
Fezeka Shandu is a 26-year-old aspiring filmmaker who grew up in the dusty streets of Umlazi, KZN South Africa. Growing up she always had a love for films and theatre. She has always wanted to tell stories in a simple way, but meaningfully and realistically.
'Blunder' is about a couple who planned to get married before the lockdown was introduced, with all the rules and regulations everything has paused, however, the girlfriend's (Naledi) uncles decided to show up for lobola negotiations because they believe that culturally such things can't be postponed as it will upset the ancestors.
'Moyo' - Hellen Samina Ochieng (Kenya)
Hellen Samina Ochieng is a 22-year-old creative based in Nairobi Kenya and an undergraduate student at Taita University. She has always had a strong passion for the feminist cause as she has seen first-hand how the inherently patriarchal Kenyan society affects women and young girls.
Moyo tells the story of Achieng, a young single mother working as an underpaid nurse in Mbagathi Hospital, Nairobi. She struggles with the grim financial, mental and physical realities of being a single mother and the pressures of being a front-line, essential worker in a country crippled by a pandemic. When Achieng is called into the hospital at midnight to attend to a Covid-19 emergency, she must turn to Mike, her abusive ex-boyfriend, to take care of her daughter Waridi.
Chioma Divine Favour Mathias is a writer, cinematographer/filmmaker, and actor. She is a graduate of statistics and the last of four kids.
This short story is about the struggle of a single mother with a disabled child, trying to fend for herself and her baby at the same time surviving the effect of the pandemic. She did all she can to stay strong and sharp even in the face of tribulations. This story depicts the true strength of an African woman.
'I’ll Call You Later' - Aurelie Stratton (South Africa)
Aurelie Stratton is an actress, writer, director and producer who graduated from Wits Drama School and moved to the United Kingdom shortly after graduation to further her study, career and experiences. After her return, she then co-founded a production company, You Kicked My Dog Productions with Emmanuel Castis and they produced the acclaimed short film ‘Sides of a Horn’, which qualified for the 2020 Oscars.
In 'I’ll Call You Later', Jo and Bec are sisters and can only communicate through video calls during the lockdown. Jo has not been taking Bec's calls because she is hiding something. Lockdown has been more dangerous for Job than Bec realises
Love, Zawadi - Wambui Gathee (Kenya)
Wambui Gathee is an emerging director/producer rising steadily in the African film scene. She is a firm believer of artistic visual storytelling and her work voices and represents the true African narrator.
With the lockdown measures being enforced, vulnerable women and young girls are put in a position where the life-threatening outside is safer than their own homes and at times forced to make difficult choices.
‘Worlds Apart’ - Yehoda Hammond (Ghana)
Yehoda Adukwei Hammond is a 19-year-old and third-year film directing student at the National Film and Television Institute in Ghana. She is currently interning as a second assistant director with Esse Productions. Growing up in Ghana and Accra, she gained a keen interest in social issues occurring in her country, with a soft spot for girl child education.
Rhema and Erica are junior high school students whose education has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The differences in their economic situations have directly altered the course of their education and how they cope with the current times.
‘The Tempest’ - Skinnor Davillah Agello (Kenya)
Davillah is a professional dancer and choreographer and a filmmaker based in Nairobi Kenya. Born in K’ogello Siaya county, an area rich in culture and dance, which played a major part in her love for dance and storytelling. She has taken part in numerous dance performances i.e. One Africa Music Fest in Dubai, Dance for Sale in Germany, ‘I Can Dance’ finalist aired on KTN. She was nominated at the Sondeka Awards 2018 in the story through dance category. Safaricom Twaweza, Chapa Dimba.
‘The Tempest’ is a short film about a dancer Davillah_S expressing how Covid -19 has changed her family and personal life, as well as millions of other lives across the globe. The dance performance is devised to reflect Davillah's challenges and solutions for coping with the pandemic while encouraging those who view the piece to stay positive and safe.
‘Face Mask for Sale’ - Neha Manoj Shah (Kenya)
Neha is from Nairobi and has worked in film and advertising since 2006. She is a skilled communicator who specialises in production design and has written and directed seven short films. Neha’s stories revolve around challenging social constructs and bringing awareness to the audience through film. Neha has won two awards in media (Kalasha International Film and TV and Oshwal Award) and three of her short films have been showcased in film festivals in Kenya and the UK.
They say this is the new norm, that things will be okay. At first, it's all fun and games, but time has a way of draining you. This is the story of a single mother in the time of corona, stuck, with no choice but to survive.
‘Loop: Every End Has a Beginning’ - Faith Ilevbare (Nigeria)
Faith is a visual artist, using film as her medium of expression, and is passionate about creating films for social justice, especially telling stories of social issues affecting women globally. She wants to use film to start a narrative that will bring about change and conversations surrounding those issues. Born in and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Faith’s first degree is in a medical-related field, but her passion for storytelling couldn't be held back: she graduated top in her class in Digital Film Production SAE Institute, Cape Town and currently works in Lagos, Nigeria, as a video journalist with the BBC.
‘Loop’ is a short film highlighting the negative effect of domestic violence on children exposed to such violence during the lockdown.
The 10 selected films were chosen by a panel of expert judges including Cornélia Glele, a journalist, blogger and filmmaker from Benin, Lizelle Bisschoff, a researcher and curator of African film and founder of Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival in Scotland; Nse Ikpe-Etim, a multiple-award-winning Nigerian actor with over a decade of active years on stage and screen; Professor Martin Mhando, a research fellow with Murdoch University, Western Australia and an award-winning filmmaker and experienced festival director; as well as Philippa Ndisi-Herrmannwho makes both short and long films, both fiction and documentary and whose prior work includes a mélange of essayist documentary, photography and poetry, the majority of which she shot, directed, produced, and recorded sound for herself.
For more information on the films, filmmakers and viewing opportunities visit www.ladima.africa.
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