Here’s an old review of The Witches of Gambaga I’ve just come across. It’s well worth a read because the blogger has visited Gambaga and antagonised the chief while she was there!
Thanks for the great review planet dissi
It seems one of the motives behind the recent spate of ‘witch’ burnings in Papua New Guinea is a desire to usurp women from their land.
This article in the New York Times is very enlightening:
I’ve just returned to London after attending Afrikamera in Berlin. The theme of this year’s festival was women in front and behind the camera. Here’s a report on the festival by African-American academic, Beti Ellerson:
Here’s an interview with Collective Eye, the new distributors of DVDs of The Witches of Gambaga in the USA
Check out these incredible photos of ‘witches’ at the Gambaga camp and Kpatinga taken by Ghanaian photographer, Nyani Quarmyne. They are very good indeed.
I was invited to show The Witches of Gambaga at a Women’s Things seminar in Orkney to celebrate International Women’s Day. I had a great time with my old school friend, now county archeoleogist of Orkney, Julie Gibson, who organised the seminar. About 50 of us spent the day mulling over folk tales – From Goddess to Witch: the Declining Fortunes of Women in Orkney Folk Tradition, women magicians and shamans among the Vikings and then Orkney Witchcraft Trails of the 17th century. A veritable feast of gender and justice over the ages! Below is a link to Radio Orkney’s feature on the seminar. It’s the second item in:
Amina Mama will be presenting and discussing The Witches of Gambaga at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco on Saturday 10th March at 10am.
Here’s an interesting review of The Witches of Gambaga by Kathy Stewart.
I was a keynote speaker at the conference on Women and Film in Africa, which was held at the University of Westminster at the end of last year.
The screening of the Witches of Gambaga at the British Film Institute on Saturday afternoon was fantastic. The documentary played to a full house and ‘Delwande’, a film from Burkino Faso about a woman accused of witchcraft that followed the screening, made for a great programme and an excellent discussion afterwards. Thank you every one who came and made the afternoon such a success.
I’ve now been in Ghana for 3 weeks at my job as Visiting Scholar at the Institute of African Studies. The Institute and it’s former Director, Professor Takyiwaa Manuh, were extremely supportive and instrumental in helping us complete The Witches of Gambaga. Imagine my shock when a young Lecturer came up to me the other day, and told me that watching The Witches of Gambaga is now part of the Gender and African Studies course. Every student at the University of Ghana has to take this course. They watch the documentary and then discuss it, which means that by the end of the academic year over 2500 of Ghana’s future movers and shakers will have seen it. I call that a successful outcome!
I arrived in Ghana late on Monday evening, in time to take part in the final day of the 6th Annual Real Life Documentary Festival in Accra on Tuesday. Festival director, Lydie Diakhate, invited me to give a Master class in documentary film making, which I did, using The Witches of Gambaga as a case study. Researching, directing and then completing a documentary film is all about building relationships: working with subjects, forging a team and then creating alliances, political and personal, to obtain funding. The film would never have been made without the incredible support and commitment of my co-producer, Amina Mama, and the women’s movement in Ghana – not to mention the many friends and NGOs, who in their various ways, contributed. The audience at the Maison Francaise at the University of Ghana, where the Masterclass took place, was too big to workshop ideas in pairs. There were about 70 students in the audience altogether. However, I was able to show clips from some of my favourite, award-winning documentaries: Pray The Devil Back to Hell, Fork Films’ amazing celebration of the women’s peace movement in Liberia and Somewhere Special, directed and filmed by Darren Hercher, who also did the camera work on The Witches. I really enjoyed giving the Master class and the Q & A session with the students after the screening of The Witches of Gambaga, went well. Thank you, Lydie, for inviting me to take part in your festival. And warm congratulations to Leymah Gobwee, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Tawakul Karman of Yemen for being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace today for your non-violent activism.
Check out Beti Ellerson’s interview with me on her Facebook blog. Thank you, Beti!
I’ve just heard that The Witches of Gambaga has been selected for the Rio International Film Festival (6th -11th October) the Reel Sisters Film Festival in New York (15 – 16th October) & Film Africa 2011, in London this November.
It’s also been chosen to be part of the British Film Institute’s African Odyessy series and is penciled in for a screening in London on Saturday 21st January, 2012.
I’ll let you know the times and dates of the screenings as soon as I get the details
The Witches of Gambaga has just been shown at Warsaw in Poland as part of Afrykamera, the only African Film Festival in Eastern Europe. Zimbawean novelist and filmmaker, Tstsi Dangaremba, recommended the film to the Afrykamera team, and they selected it for this year’s festival from 26th May- 2nd June.
The documentary went down very well with audiences at the festival. It received an audience rating of 4.33 out of 5, was voted best new documentary out of the 13 shown at Afrykamera, and was the overall 3rd favourite documentary. 1st and 2nd place went to two ‘classic ‘documentaries made in 1999 & 2000 respectively. Finally, The Witches came 6th in the audience rating of everything screened at the festival – 11 documentaries and 27 feature films – which is a tremendous accolade.
Thank you Shamek Stepien of Afrykamera for sharing this information with us!
You can find out more about Afrykamera at this website:
Check out Shannon Effinger’s interview with me at the New York African Film Festival:
Shannon also wrote about ‘The Witches of Gambaga’ here:
Last night’s screening at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas was very well attended. Between 40 -50 Bahamians and friends turned up to watch an out-door viewing of ‘The Witches of Gambaga’ on a balmy Nassau night. Among the audience and well wishers was my old friend Audrey Roerts of Source International Development Consultants and Marion Bethel – poet, filmmaker, lawyer and the inspiration behind High Tide. High Tide and Source collaborated with Erica James of the National Gallery of the Bahamas to bring me to the Bahamas. The documentary was well-received and searching questions were asked after the screening. Chrissie Love, doyenne of morning talk radio came to the event, having invited Audrey and me to take part in her show on Wednesday morning. Tyronne Fergurson, an African-inspired metal artist was there as well as other well-wishers such as Maria Govan, director of the excellent Bahamian feature film, Rain. I’m really enjoying my stay in Nassau. I love the quaint candy-coloured houses here.
Excellent news. The Witches of Gambaga has just been selected for screening as part of the official comeptition at the DMVIFF – an International Film Festival that caters for the visual arts in the D.C/Maryland and Virginia areas of the Unites States. The Festival runs from June 15 – 17 in Washington D.C. I’ll let you know as soon as we have a date for the screening. Until then, I’m off to Nassau in the Bahamas for a screening of the film at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas on Thursday 26th May at 8pm. I’m really looking forward to it.
Great news! The Witches of Gambaga has just received the Audience Choice Award Honorable Mention from this year’s Davis Feminist Film Festival. Thank you to all those in the audience at UC Davis who engaged so powerfully with the film.
I’m in New Brunswick, New Jersey, at the moment, staying with my good friend, poet and academic, Professor Abena Busia. Thanks to Abe, I’m getting ready for a screening of ‘The Witches of Gambaga’ at Rutgers tomorrow. The sun has been out today and we went to see a fantatsic exhibition of photographs at Newark Museum – Posing Beauty – curated by Deborah Willis. I haven’t been to such an absorbing exhibition for ages. I thoroughly recommend it. The screening on the 14th at Africa House, Binghamton, was fun. Africa House is a great venue. Azucar, who runs the space, and her mother Nkiru Nzegwu, were excellent hosts. They made me feel at home and rustled up a good crowd to watch the film. All in all an excellent trip rounded off by a hearty breakfast at Joe’s Legacy Diner the next morning. Amazing. I’ll post photos in a day or so.
Last nights screening was very well attended and received. It also provoked some interesting questions and discussions about the relationship between economic poverty and cultural changes, including rising cultural and religious fundamentalism being part of neoliberal globalization. The number of witches in the various camps around Ghana is reported to have risen from the 1,000 that Yaba reports in the film, to over 3,000 at the last count. Meanwhile the lack of access to education, social and cultural development, as well as money, continues to create confusion and anxieties at community level, and more women are made into scapegoats for social ills and outbreaks of poverty-related diseases, stripped of their assets and driven out of their home communities.
The discussions being provoked in New York are of course different from those stimulated in Ghanaian and other African contexts, but the level of interest is still very high, and raises many additional issues about African culture in the world.
We were especially delighted to share last nights’ the screening and discussion with two exciting emergent and highly artistic film makers – Zina Saro Wiwa presented two colouful and surreal shorts ‘The Deliverance of Comfort’ – and ‘Phyllis’ (Nigeria), while Ekwa Msangi Omari presented an intense foretaste of Taharuki (‘Suspense’, Kenya) an excerpt from a thriller she is developing on child trafficking.
Mahen Bonetti and her team do an fantastic job curating this fabulous festival – now in its 18th year. A veritable visual feast of Africa and African film in this global era, featuring state of the art up-to-date works, and as full of new talent as it is of newly uncovered material and insights into the home of all humanity. For more info on tonight and other screenings in the US go to http://www.africanfilmny.org
Yaba is off to Sarah Lawrence College today, and then to Binghampton and Rutgers, before traveling across for the Bay Area to join me for a screening at Mills College in Oakland.
Yaba and I are both in New York for the screening at the 18th African Film Festival, a wonderful event featuring some fascinating new African and diasporan films, and attended by many exciting young filmmakers discussing a range of artistic, political and ethical issues in contemporary cinematography. More details can be found on their website http://www.africanfilmny.org
The screenings continue tomorrow 11th April and Tuesday 12th April, so if you are in NY come and join the delights of viewing, socializing and meeting the creative community gathered there!
Yaba and I will be at the screening Monday 11th April @ 8.00pm at the Walter Reade Theatre, the Lincoln Centre.
Fabulous news! The Witches of Gambaga just won Second Prize for Documentaries at Fespaco 2011 – Africa’s biggest film festival – in Ouagadougou last Saturday. Check out an article about the awards won by women at this year’s Fespaco in Ouagadougou here networkedblogs.com/f8eU3.
A 40 minute version of The Witches of Gambaga will be shown on GTV (Ghana National Televsion) on Friday night. Gifty Anti – a very well know Ghanaian broadcaster will be screening the documentary on her programme Standpoint at 8.15 on Friday March 4th.
Great review of The Witches of Gambaga was just posted on the New Internationalist blog. Thank you Sokari!
I shall be uploading pictures of the screening in Ouagadougou soon. We all had a blast and the film was well-received. More soon…
Had a great launch of The Witches of Gambaga at the British Council in Accra this morning. For those weren’t able to catch it, I’ll be showing the documentary at Ashesi University College, North Labone, (Lecture hall 2 in Building 2) at 4.15pm on Thu 17th of February. Then again on Friday 18th February at 6pm at the University of Ghana at the Institute of African Studies, Nketia Lecture Hall.
The audience’s reaction was fascinating. The men were strangely silent, while many women talked about incidents in their lives when they had been accused of witchcraft. One woman, a scientist, was labelled a ‘witch’ after she gave birth to physically challenged child. The question is – now that the film has moved people – what do we do now? All suggestions appreciated…