Institute of African American Affairs
Department of Cinema Studies
“Women Filmmakers in the African Diasporic World”
Series of films by African and African diaspora women
exploring new approaches to film, gender and society.


Women Filmmakers Photos and Videos






Women Filmmakers in the African Diasporic World

These series of films by African and African diaspora women represent NYU’s Institute of African American Affairs and Cinema Studies’ continuing exploration of new approaches to film, gender and society.  The screenings present a rare opportunity to have rich discussions with women directors Nadia El Fani, Pascale Obolo, and Hind Meddeb as they offer insight on the ways in which they engage the medium. Their films cast a new look at religion, sexuality, education, and music in areas of the world as diverse as Egypt, Tunisia, and Tobago. Through the contemporary social issues they address, they reframe/reflect on history and offer possibilities of the future.


Nadia El Fani

Neither Allah, Nor Master!

Directed by Nadia El Fani  (71 min. / 2011)
Date: Monday, November 2, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Silver Center of Arts and Science
Jurow Lecture Hall,  1st floor, Rm 101A
100 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10012
Discussion with director Nadia El Fani

Photos and Videos


Nadia_combo_thumbnailABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Nadia El Fani is a Franco-Tunisian filmmaker. She makes documentary and fiction films that can be described as activists. After being assistant director in particular with Roman Polanski, Nouri Bouzid, Romain Goupil, Franco Zeffirelli, El Fani directed her first short film "POUR LE PLAISIR" in 1990 and founded her own production company Z'YEUX NOIRS MOVIES in Tunisia. Being very close to groups of women activists she made in 1993 her first documentary "MAGHREB WOMEN LEADER" then "TANITEZ MOI." She moved to Paris in 2002 for the postproduction of her first feature fiction film "BEDWIN HACKER." In 2011 her documentary "LAÏCITÉ, INCH'ALLAH!" ("NEITHER ALLAH NOR MASTER!"), made in Tunisia before and after the revolution, earned her death threats from Islamic extremists and six criminal complaints, one for sacred infringements. She risked five years jail. In 2012 she released "NOT EVEN HURT," Grand Prize 2013 FESPACO, a film made with Alina Isabel Pérez, a cinematic answer to the campaign of hatred she had suffered. Then in 2013 she signed with Caroline Fourest “NOS SEINS, NOS ARMES!,” a documentary made during the first six months of installation of the movement Femen in Paris.

Tunisian-Franco filmmaker Nadia El Fani takes a personal approach to this cinematic exploration of secularism in the Muslim country of Tunisia made at the height of the 2010-2011 revolutions in North Africa.



Pascale Obolo

Calypso Rose, The Lioness of the Jungle

Directed by Pascale Obolo 
(Trinidad & Tobago/France/US, 2011, 85 minutes)
Date: Friday, November 13, 2015 
Time:  6:30 pm
Location: Tisch School of the Arts
NYU, Dept. of Cinema Studies,
721 Broadway, 6th floor Michelson Theater
New York, NY 10012
Discussion with director Pascale Obolo

Photos and Videos



Pascale Obolo was born in Yaounde, Cameroon. At an early age, already involved in various artistic expressions, she studied directing at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français in Paris and then obtained her master’s degree in cinema at the University of Paris VIII (experimental cinema section). A pioneer of urban culture, she filmed the early hip-hop scene and Parisian graffiti painters, self-producing several films about rap, street culture and taggers. As a feminist, she concentrated her gaze on gender with the Hip Hop women's movement in the French suburbs and on the place of women in the contemporary art world.

Passionate about visual arts, Obolo produced and directed "the filmic objects" because she refuses to be catalogued in a cinematographic genre. She has collaborated with artists such as: Jayone, Shuck, Samuel Fosso, Jean-Pierre Bekolo. Her artistic approach is based on filming paintings and digital arts in order to allow her to break away from the traditional narrative codes. Her main focus is on the concept African Futurism as he explains: "In my artistic work, I question my story through a contemporary reinterpretation of memories. Being rooted in ones traditions allows rethinking the concept of alienation in creating avant-garde art. I questioned in my work the legacy of memories to better understand our present and future society. As an activist, the themes that lead my reflection are exile, identity, invisibility and memory traces." Some of her works have been exhibited at the Halle de la Villette in 2009, the Musée du Montparnasse, the Quai Branly Museum, The Bienale of Dakar in 2011.

Fascinated by the world music phenomenon, Obolo has specialized in musical documentaries. Her first feature film was Calypso at Dirty Jim's (2005), a tribute to the last big stars of calypso, the soul of Trinidad, and, by extension, Caribbean culture. The film was selected and awarded in many festivals around the world, among them FESPACO, Vues D’Afrique 2006 in Montreal (Special Jury Prize), International Pan-African Film Festival of Cannes, France 2006 (Dikalo prize), Africa in the Picture (Amsterdam), World Music Expo and the African Diaspora Film Festival (New York).

Pascale Obolo is also co-founder of AFRIKADAA: a contemporary art magazine, an intellectual and artistic laboratory that aims to create a dynamic setting in Paris and the African diaspora. It is also a media tool that produces a better visibility of artistic works, which offers artists establishment of a curatorial process, the establishment of an area of visual stimulation, visual and photographic creation open experiences that strengthens the role of artists from the diaspora in the global artistic agenda. 


Hind Meddeb

Electro Chaabi – A musical revolution
on the banks of the Nile

Directed by Hind Meddeb (77 minutes / 2013 / Egypt/France)
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm
Location:  Kimmel Center – NYU, 60 Washington Square South,
Room 802-Shorin, New York, NY 10012
Discussion with director Hind Meddeb

Photos and Videos


Documentary filmmaker Hind Meddeb hasn’t stopped moving between France, North Africa and the Middle East. A citizen of both sides of the Mediterranean, Hind’s duality frees her opinions of typecasts and common judgements. She shot her films in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon showing the complexity of a situation usually beyond any stereotypes.  In her first film “Casablanca. One way ticket to Paradise,” she followed the destiny of the 14 Moroccan suicide bombers in Casablanca in May 2003. Released in the London Film Festival in 2013, her film “electro chaabi” made the world discover a new musical scene born in the slums of Cairo. She writes of that experience:

“Born of an Algerian/Moroccan mother and a Tunisian father, in my childhood, even before learning French, I speak Tunisian and the Moroccan ‘darija’ dialectal. I grew up in France but I stayed more than two months a year at my respective grandmothers in Rabat and in Tunis, maintaining a tenuous link with my two country of origin. It is thus a Tunisian and Moroccan settled young woman in France who lands in this man’s world, camera in hand, addressing them in Arabic with an unusual freedom of speech and which places me as an observer of an artistic movement, with the simple idea that it is necessary to give them the opportunity to express themselves.”