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Eight Women Directors Creating Films with Insightful Narratives

Katya Abedian is a self-taught South-African Iranian director, writer and photographer whose works are driven by a passion to shed light on stories of the human spirit and the power of resilience. 

Katya’s directorial debut was in 2018 with a short film titled, Skin Diver which premiered in Cape Town.

Her latest film Growing Pains is a short film that she created in forty-eight hours in 2018. 

It was awarded by the Forty-Eight Hour Film Festival for Best Original Score, Editing, Art Direction and Cinematography. With nuanced depictions of pain, the film leaves it up to interpretation and perspective which growing pains it is making reference to. Beautifully styled and cathartic to watch as it brings light into shadowy realities.

Keziah Quarcoo is a London-based photographer and director who specialises in creating engaging, emotive and honest stories. She has a passion for empowering people through visibility.

Her film Joy as an Act of Resistance created with Nadine Ijewere for i-D Magazine has a carefree energy that can resonates in these trying times where joy and being present can be an act of resistance. Keziah was recognised in 2019 by the British Fashion Council as a nominee in "NEW WAVE: Creatives" – a list of 100 of the most innovative and inspiring young creative talents from around the world.

Onyinyechukwu Akametalu is a Nigerian American director, writer, and content creator based in Los Angeles, California who aims to represent the underrepresented, expand narratives, bridge gaps and educate through entertainment. Her directorial debut was in 2018 with short film “Wild Gyal”, a coming of age story inspired by her experiences growing up in the Nigerian American community.

Her follow up Dear Dark-Skinned Black Girl is a love letter to dark-skinned women who have dealt with colourism for generations; it is an ode to self love. Colourism is a global issue for women of colour across different cultures, Onyinyechukwu's message is love yourself in spite of colourism.

Amirah Tajdin is a Kenyan artist and filmmaker. She graduated from Rhodes University in South Africa with a Bachelor of Fine Art and Goucher College Maryland (USA). She currently splits her time between Africa and the Middle East balancing freelance commercial directing work both locally and internationally.

Her content film Sisterhood: Action created for Girls Who Code was a Tribeca X Award 2019 finalist. The film tells the story of group of teenage girls on the eve of their sixteenth birthday who get stuck on a cruise ship, as they wait for dawn to break they play a game - where each of them projects what they see themselves doing to change the world sixteen years from now, when they’re 32, by reflecting on the change that want to see in the world.

Gale Maimane is Johannesburg based director and photographer. Her approach to both film and photography is eclectic, offbeat and considered. Her raw approach to directing and stills comes through in her candid and in-the-moment approach to documenting unforgettable moments that hold an incredible depth.

Her short film, titled Me, is a collaboration between fashion designer Nao Serati, musician Zoe Modiga and herself.  Me is a song off Modiga's debut album, Yellow: The Novel.

The film is a tender expression on how the process of clothing yourself is firstly to please yourself. The film was shown at the Bokeh South African Fashion Film Festival.

Olivia Lifungula is a Belgian- Congolese photographer and filmmaker based in London. Her work explores themes of intimacy, beauty and the construction and depiction of black femininity in art and the media.

At Dawn You Leave, Olivia's directorial debut, is a tale of love, from initial nonchalance to desire, love and obsession. The film finds melancholic visions and rhythm in explaining the layers of love and obsession in this short experimental, poetic film. Leading its way is an inspiration by Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali.

Ng’endo Mukii is a Kenyan film director, most well known for Yellow Fever, her graduate project from RCA, the film exploring Western influences on African women’s ideals of beauty. Her work focuses on relationships, the separation between perception and reality, and the use of moving image to represent unspoken truths.

Yellow Fever weaves together her memories and interviews with family members and mixes drawing, painting and real footage. It investigates colourism, an effect of Western and mainstream media beauty ideals and the impact it has on African women, in fact women across the globe.

The title of the film is inspired by a Fela Kuti song, Yellow Fever, that criticizes women who use skin-bleaching products (with the reduction of melanin, the skin turns a yellowy tone). The film has won several awards.

Zandile Tisani known as Zandi T is a Johannesburg-based filmmaker with a background in the production of fine art, styling and photography and maintains a strong focus on screenwriting and directing.

Zandi's documentray film Highlands is about Johannesburg's relationship with water. The film is an intriguing personal perspective of Johannesburg, a contemporary megalopolis shaped by its human and political history. Zandi combines a strong understanding of narrative with a commitment to powerful imagery.


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