Arts & Culture

#IWD: Sheba Soul Ensemble presents FLY! Festival of Black Women’s Film

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm | 05 March 2021
Online | Free

Three distinct programmes, two celebrating work created in the UK, the other exploring two Afrikan filmmakers. 8 dates connecting with communities across the South West between 5th and 21st March. Each event is crammed full of shorts, features, illuminating director’s talks, scintillating workshops and a welcoming space to share our responses to this great work.

We’ve been celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March for over a century, yet Black women filmmakers are pitifully under-represented in the filmmaking arena. So, join us in supporting the Black women who have come through against all the odds and are exhibiting their work to the world.

We are extremely honoured that Musola Cathrine Kaseketi will be joining us from Zambia for 4 of the events. Musola is Zambia’s foremost filmmaker and a disability rights activist. Not only does she not let being a Black woman with a lifelong disability impede her, but she also uses it to propel herself and others forward, embedding dialogues of equality and dignity wherever she goes. Her approach to life and to filmmaking are indelibly inspiring. We are also delighted to host and welcome Helen Wilson-Roe and Ros Martin.

Register to attend here

Programme line up and dates:

5th, 6th, 13th, 21st FLY! Intersectionality:

Shorts / features /Director Q&A /creative writing reflective response workshop

Suwi (2010) – A life-changing accident and an orphan living a precarious existence on the streets are the ingredients for this riveting portrayal of life for the many in Zambia. Musola Cathrine Kaseketi’s first major feature film allows us to put our own challenges into perspective.

Rafiki (2018) Wanuri Kahiu’s celebration of love between two women is a timely, upbeat film. But to appreciate just how audacious it is, we need to grasp how deeply entrenched homophobic laws are in Kenya (and numerous other former British colonies).  Come along and prepare to be incensed, spurred into action, and moved.

11th, 18th FLY! Our DNA:

Helen-Wilson Roe feature length documentary ‘A Brush with Immortality – Henrietta Lacks’ Followed by Q&A

Henrietta Lacks by Helen Wilson-Roe

Painting of Henrietta Lacks by Helen Wilson-Roe

From Bristol but based in Stroud, Helen addresses social and cultural issues that are particular concerns to disenfranchised and culturally diverse communities whose voices and stories are rarely told in mainstream art spaces, though they have universal significance.

A Brush with Immortality narrates the story of Henrietta Lacks, her family and her posthumous contribution to medical science. Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951 at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Just before her death, a sample of her cancerous cells was taken and developed into the first immortal human cell line to be used in medical research. Known as HeLa, this cell line has since been involved in many scientific advances, including the development of the first polio vaccine by Jonas Salk.

Henrietta, an impoverished African American woman from Clover, Virginia, unknowingly donated her cancerous tissue for research purposes. While pharmaceutical companies have profited from their use of HeLa, the Lacks family have struggled with access to basic healthcare and remained unaware of Henrietta’s contribution for some twenty years after her death. Helen has been interested in and researching this story for over 20 years.

Shorts including work by Ngozi Onwurah & The Afrikan Queens Project

Creative dance reflective response workshop

12th, 19th FLY! Memory Rites:

Films by Ros Martin including DAUGHTERS OF IGBO WOMAN: a trilogy of digital films, raised as a memorial tribute to African ancestors, created and shot in landscapes of Eastern Nigeria, Nevis and Bristol UK. Bringing archives to life, the separated, 18th century worlds of Igbo woman, Black Polly & Fanny Coker are brought into present day.

Thus, FANNY COKER 1767-1820, maidservant of the Georgian House Bristol and her matriarchal lineage in voice and presence are rendered visible by 3 African women writers, in Eastern Nigeria, St Kitts & Nevis and Bristol UK, respectively. Followed by Q&A.

Ros Martin is an award-winning playwright, artist, author, cultural activist and producer of African heritage. Her work frequently interrogates British colonial history and its legacies.

“Much of my work and thinking stems from curiosity, posing questions about the world around me, its’ structural inequalities and the position of people of colour within it. In creativity I seek to counter the marginalisation, & invisibility of black people’s histories, lives and culture.”

Shorts including work by Maureen Blackwood and The Afrikan Queens Project

Creative dance reflective response workshop

With support from the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) awarding funds from The National Lottery. With thanks to Stroud Brewhouse, Falmouth University, Exeter Phoenix, FilmKitchen Downderry & Film Soc Portsmouth.

Header image: courtesy of Zuri News

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