A scene from “Les Gracieuses”, a documentary by the Algerian-French filmmaker Fatima Sissani. The film, about the lives of six young women of migrant origin who grew up together in a Paris suburb, will be screened in Cologne/ @ 24IMAGES

Cologne festival spotlights African women’s filmmaking exploits | 15-25 September

The 14th Afrika Film Festival in Cologne, the biggest of its kind in Germany, will present 83 films from 25 African countries and play host to 30 international filmmakers on 15-25 September.

The theme of the biennial event this year is “Sisters in African Cinema” giving an insight into the current filmmaking exploits of women in 13 African countries and from the African diaspora.

Among the 33 feature films, documentaries and short films to be screened are Les Gracieuses, Inhebbek Hedi, Starve Your Dog and May Allah Bless France, all from North Africa and its Diaspora; Aya Of Yop City, an animated feature film from Côte d’Ivoire; and Zambezia, a South African children’s film.

The German-Sierra Leonean author, filmmaker and fashion designer Mallence Bart-Williams and her brother, the internationally renowned musician Patrice, are the patrons of the festival this year. To kick off the festival, they will show a short film, The rising of the son, they shot in Sierra Leone.

The Afro-American writer and filmmaker Beti Ellerson, who writes a blog on the role of women in African cinema, will introduce this year’s theme of Sisters in African Cinema, and the band Sisters will provide the accompanying soundtrack with a live performance.

A podium discussion, featuring directors from Tunisia, Cameroon, Kenya and South Africa, will debate the current standing of women in the African filmmaking world. The festival will also feature screenings for schoolchildren.

Other highlights of the 14th Afrika Film Festival include an arts exhibition, book readings and live music acts.

FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. has organised the festival themed Jenseits von Europa – Filme aus Afrika (Out of Europe – Films from Africa) since 1992. More than 500 films from 40 African countries have been shown in Cologne at the biennial festival and the film specials held during the years in between. // Kwame Appiah

More information at: www.filme-aus-afrika.de

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