Florence Ayisi known as Florence Ayisi
Certificate in Higher Education (Cert Ed) (1997) – School of Education, University of Sunderland, U.K.
MA in Film Production (1992) Northern School of Film and Television, Leeds Metropolitan University, U.K.
MA in Theatre and Media Production (1989) – The University of Hull, U.K
Diploma in Television Production and Journalism (1987), Television Training Centre, Fulham Studios, London
Bachelor of Arts in English (1986) - Faculty of Modern Letters and Social Sciences – University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, Central Africa.
Florence is Professor of International Documentary Film. She teaches film history, theory, creative documentary film practice, transnational cinemas, cultural representations. She is also an award winning documentary filmmaker, presenting rare insights and affirmative aspects of African people and their culture from a Woman-centred and Pan-African perspective. She has made films in Cameroon and Tanzania, including films such as Sisters in Law (co-directed with Kim Longinotto, 2005), Zanzibar Soccer Queens (2007), Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (co-directed with Catalin Brylla, 2016). Her films have won numerous prestigious film awards including PRIX ART ET ESSAI at Cannes film festival; Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Issue; Audience Award at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA); and Peabody Award in USA.
Sisters in Law was long-listed for Oscar Nominations in 2006. Florence’s films have been screened on major television channels and film festivals world-wide including Channel 4 Television, More4 TV, Canal+, TV5 Monde Afrique, RFO (France), PBS (USA) and Swedish Television (SVT), Qatar TV, Cannes film festival, Toronto Int’L film festival, Hawaii Int’l film festival, London Film festival, African Diaspora film festival, Canadian Sport film festival, Zanzibar Int’l film festival, Reel Sisters of the Diaspora festival, Goteborg Int’l film festival, Kenya Int’l film festival, FESPACO, and The Sunny Side of Doc.
Florence has taught film and media studies at several Higher Education institutions (HEIs) in the U.K. for over 20 years, including University of Sunderland, Coventry University, University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport.
Florence also has extensive experience of working with Third Sector Organisations such as International Development Agencies and Government Departments, including The World Bank Group (Cameroon), The National Programme for Participatory Development (PNDP – Cameroon), The Ministry of Arts and Culture (Cameroon), The International Centre for Research and Documentation on African Traditions and Languages, CERDOTOLA Cameroon, The Limbe City Council (Cameroon). She has produced and directed commissioned documentary projects as part of communication for development, and evaluating the impact of development initiatives within rural community settings.
In 2008, Florence was awarded the UK Film Council Breakthrough Brits Award for Film Talent – she was one of thirteen (13) filmmakers who was honoured with this prestigious award at a ceremony in Hollywood – during the Black Film Festival.
In September 2017 Florence’s film, Zanzibar Soccer Dreams was shortlisted for the prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council Research in Film Awards = for the International Development Award: Mobilising Global Voices category.
Jury Member at the following film festivals and media events:
BAFTA CYMRU – for Best Director, Factual
International Documentary Festival Madrid (DOCUMENTAMADRID), Spain
Kenyan International film festival – Nairobi, Kenya
Evora International Short Film Festival – FIKE – Portugal
Zanzibar International film festival – ZIFF
One World Broadcasting Trust ‘Television Awards – London
First Films – a Community Arts initiative for Young People in Newport (Wales) – run by Pilipala Films, and funded by Newport Arts Development
Teaching, Research, Curriculum Development, Pastoral Care and PhD Supervision
Publications: Public Exhibitions, Film Screenings, Book Chapters and Journal Articles
‘Ayisi, F. (2016) ‘Making Waves on International Women’s Day: Cameroonian Women’s Dynamism’ in Home/Land: Women Citizenship, Photographies (Eds: Marsha Meskimmon and Marion Arnold) – Liverpool University Press – http://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/73646
F. Ayisi (Assistant Editor, 2014) ‘For An African being proud of African Tradition/Pour un Homme africaine fier de sa Tradition Africaine’. This is a Report and Photo-book based on the proceedings and activities of an international conference entitled “CERDOTOLA Communication Days/ CERDOTOLA Journées de Communication". Editor: Professor Charles Binam Bikoi. Published by Editions du CERDOTOLA, 2014
F. Ayisi, C. Brylla. (2014) See Me, Know Me: Cultural Expressions of Cameroonian Women_. Stimulus Respond – Africa. ISSUU. Jack Boulton. No. 25. Autumn 2014.
Ayisi, F. & Brylla, C. (2013). ‘The Politics of Representation and Audience Reception: Alternative Visions of Africa’. Journal article in Research in African Literatures (E-ISSN:1527-2044).
Ayisi, F. (2013) ‘How We Live Today’ – Florence Ayisi in dialogue with Mo White’ – In Women, the Arts and Globalization: Eccentric Experience. Eds: Marsha Meskimmon and Dorothy C. Rowe. (Rethinking Art’s Histories) (ISBN: 978-719-0-8875-9)
F. Ayisi, C. Brylla. (2013) Impact Study of Creative Intervention through Documentary Film Practice – This study documents the individual and community Impact of Zanzibar Soccer Queens (Florence Ayisi, 2007). Data collected through fieldwork presents evidence of the personal benefits and societal impact of the film; the result is a short film and a dedicated website http://zanzibarsoccerdreams.com/home.html
Photographic Exhibition – in Cameroon – October 2013
Visions of African Traditions
Photographic exhibition entitled Visions of African Traditions – as part of a 3-day international conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon – Journées de Communication, organised by the International Centre for Research and Documentation on African Traditions and Languages (CERDOTOLA). The photographs printed onto A1 (841 × 594 mm) boards; 18 of the photographs are now permanently displayed at the CERDOTOLA Head Quarters and its annex office in the capital city of Yaoundé.
Filmography – Research in Film – Practice Research Outputs include:
1 Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (Florence Ayisi & Catalin Brylla, 2016, 65 mins) -
2 Transforming Lives: PNDP and Rural Development in Cameroon (2014, 35 mins)
*3 Zanzibar Soccer Queens: Impact Case Study (in collaboration with Catalin Brylla, 2013, 23 mins)
4 Handing Down Time – Cameroon (2012, 55 mins)
5 Cameroonian Women in Motion (2012, 10 mins)
6 Art of this Place: Women Artists in Cameroon (2011, 40 mins)
7 Zanzibar Soccer Queens (2007/2008, 87 & 52 mins)
8 Our World in Zanzibar (2007, 35 mins)
9 My Mother: Isange (2005, 7 minutes)
10 Sisters in Law (Florence Ayisi & Kim Longinotto, 2005, 104 mins)
*The above case study highlights an example of my Research in Film – ‘Zanzibar Soccer Queens (2007) – and its impact on Civil Society and Cultural Life in Africa and Europe’. Zanzibar Soccer Queens has had a series of cultural, social and policy impacts which include an increased visibility and emancipation of the female footballers, ‘Women Fighters’, improved respect an understanding of the women within Zanzibar, better health and well-being of women, and equal opportunities for girls, which is a result of a change in government policy to allow girls in Zanzibar to play football in schools.
The film’s screenings have also been used to discuss and raise issues from racism in football to health matters such as HIV/AIDS
Selected Festival Screenings
Zanzibar Soccer Dreams
Festival Screenings for Zanzibar Soccer Dreams*
1. Canadian Sport Film Festival – Toronto – World Premiere & Closing Night Film – May 2016
2. Zanzibar International Film Festival – (ZIFF), July 2016 – Africa Premiere
3. Official Selection, Lisbon International Film Festival – 2016 Summer Edition
4. Arusha African Film Festival in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda – November 2016
5. Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series – New York – October 2016
6. TrueDoc Documentary Festival, Ukraine – September 2016
7. Cambridge African Film Festival – CAFF at the Arts Picture House Cambridge – Oct. 2016
8. Watch-Africa: Wales African Film Festival. – Oct & Nov. 2016; Touring across Wales
9. Magic Lantern Cinema, Tywyn (Mid Wales – October 2016
10. Chaplaincy, University of South Wales – Screened as part of Black History Month, October 2016
11. Special Screening for the Swansea Ladies Football Club – November 2016
12. The Pickle Factory, Bristol – November 2016 – Screening for Easton Cowboys & Cowgirls Football Clubs
13. King’s College London – 7th November 2016 – Special screening for the British Tanzania Society
14. Africa in Motion, Edinburgh and Glasgow – October & November 2016
15. Silver Theatre and Cultural Center – American Film Institute (AFI) Washington DC – March 2017
16. Deptford Cinema, London – August 2017
17. Women Of The Lens Festival of Film, Digital and Broadcast – London – November 2017
18. Screening & Workshop at Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, Germany – November 2017
Art of this Place: Women Artists in Cameroon
1. Art the Moderna Museét, as part of CINEMAFRICA, Stockholm, Sweden
2. Images of Black Women film festival, London
3. Kenya International Film Festival, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct/Nov
4. International Images Film Festival for Women, Zimbabwe
5. CinemAfrica Film festival, Stockholm, Sweden
6. Festival International du Cinéma Indépendant de Bafoussam (FICIB), Cameroun (2013)
7. Initiative Africa- Addis International Film Festival, Ethiopia (2014)
Cameroonian Women in Motion
1. Shoe Shop Cultural and Media Event, Braamfontein, South Africa, May 2012
2. FIKE 2013 – International Short Film Festival, Portugal (2013)
3. International Images Film Festival for Women, Zimbabwe (2013)
4. Images of Black Women Film Festival, London (2013)
5. Initiative Africa- Addis International Film Festival, Ethiopia (2014)
Handing Down Time – Cameroon (Selected Screenings, Awards and Recognitions)
• Kenya International Film Festival, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct/Nov. 2012
• Festival International du Cinéma Indépendant de Bafoussam, Cameroon, March 2013
Zanzibar Soccer Queens (Selected Screenings)
Kino im U Cinema, Dortmund, Germany
SVT – (Swedish Television)
RFO Television, France
TV5 Monde Afrique, France
The Community Channel Television, UK
Goteborg International Film Festival, Sweden
Canadian Sports Film Festival
FESPACO, Burkina Faso
Zanzibar International Film Festival, ZIFF
ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts), London
Women Make Waves Film Festival, Taiwan
Chapter Arts Cinema, Cardiff, Wales
Hawaii International Film Festival, (HIFF)
Films from the South Festival, Oslo, Norway
Cambridge African Film Festival, UK
Regent Park Film Festival, Toronto, Canada
International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul (IWFFIS), South Korea
Africa Diaspora Film Festival, (ADFF), New York, USA
CinemAfrica, Stockholm, Sweden
Africa on Screen Film Festival, South Africa
NatFilm Festival, Denmark
Ankara International Film festival, Turkey
Pink Apple Film festival, Zurich, Switzerland
Women’s film festival in Chennai, India
CINEMARKT Brunnenpassage in Vienna, Austria
Sunny Side of the Doc, France
FilmInitiativ Köln, Germany
Our World in Zanzibar (Selected Screenings)
Chapter Arts Cinema, Cardiff, Wales, U.K.
Cambridge African Film Festival, U.K.
The New Face of Africa Film Series (SLC Film Center), Utah, USA
Zanzibar International Film Festival, (ZIFF)
Awards & Recognition
• Special Jury Award at the Zanzibar International Film Festival
• Audience Award for Best Documentary Film, Pink Apple Film Festival, Zurich, Switzerland.
• African Studies Association, 2008
• Middle East Studies Association, 2009
Selected Film Awards and Screenings for Sisters in Law
Cannes Film Festival – Prix Art et Essai
Peabody Award, USA – for outstanding achievement in Electronic Media
Hawaii International Film Festival, USA – Golden Maile for Best Documentary
International Documentary Festival, Amsterdam (IDFA) – Opening Night Film & Winner Audience Award
Grierson Award, U.K. – Best Documentary on a Contemporary Issue
The Peabody Award, USA – for Outstanding Achievement in Electronic Media
Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival (UK) – Audience Award
Real Life on Film Festival, Melbourne (Australia) – Best International Documentary
Belfast Film Festival – First Maysles Award
Al-Jazeera TV Festival – Silver Award
Commonwealth Film Festival – Audience Award
Munich Documentary Film Festival – Special Documentary Prize
DocAviv Film Festival, Israel – Best International Film
Bologna Human Rights Film Festival, Italy – Best Long Film
Commonwealth Film Festival, Manchester, UK – Audience Award for Best Documentary Film
Dokfest, Munich, Germany – Winner of “The Special Documentary Award”
Message to Man, St Petersburg, Russia – Golden Centaur, Grand Prix
Broadcast Awards, London – Best Factual Programme
Royal Television Society Awards UK, Winner Best Single Documentary.
Nuremberg Human Rights Film Festival, Germany – Audience Award,
Santa Barbara International Film Festival (USA) – Social Justice Award for Documentary Film
Channel 4 TV, U.K.
London International film festival
Toronto International Film Festival
Sisters in Law – long-listed for Academy Awards – Oscar Nominations 2006
Sisters in Law – one of 6 best films selected by documentary Filmmaker Nick Broomfield:
Veteran British documentary filmmaker, selects Sisters in Law on his list of 6 best documentary films. The Times, Saturday June 4, 2011, page 6. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/film/article3048352.ece
My Mother: Isange (Selected Screenings)
National Museum and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff
Riverfront Cinema, Newport
Real Life Documentary Film Festival, Ghana
Chapter Arts Cinema, Cardiff
Pontardawe Arts Centre, Wales
2017 – Ayisi, F. ‘Can the African Woman Speak? Shifting the Cinematic gaze to affirm African Women’s Agency’ Paper presented at an International Symposium on African Women in the Media – A Trans-African Outlook – Birmingham City University, UK – July 2017
2015 – Ayisi, F. ‘Women’s Soccer in Zanzibar: Documenting Resistance to Cultural Norms’ Paper presented at the international conference on “Communication, Postcoloniality, and Social Justice: Decolonizing Imaginations” at Villanova University, Villanova PA, USA – 26th-29th March 2015.
2014 – Ayisi, F. & Brylla, C. ‘Zanzibar Soccer Queens: Documentary Practice and the Resistance to Cultural Norms’. Paper presented at the 3rd annual Conference – Centre for the Study of Football and its Communities (CSFC) – Manchester Metropolitan University – Conference on “Football and Communities of Resistance” -12th June 2014
2013 – Ayisi, F. & Brylla, C. ‘Representing and Transforming Real Lives through Documentary Film’. International Development Dialogue Day Symposium on Evidence Based Development, organised by Network for Development Researchers in Wales – NDR) – Llandrindod Wells, UK. May 2013
2012 – Ayisi, F. ‘See Me, Know Me: Faces of Cameroonian Women’. Paper given at
International Conference, Home/Land: Women, Citizenship and Photographies.
Loughborough University. July 2012
2011 – Ayisi, F. ‘Challenging Ideas and Assumptions about Life in Africa’. Paper given at symposium organised by the Network for Development Researchers, Wales – NDR, Llandrindod Wells, UK May 2011
Ayisi, F. & Brylla, C. ‘A Cognitive-hermeneutical approach to Audience Reception of
Sisters in Law, in Cameroon.’ Paper given at International Conference, Women and
Film in Africa: Overcoming Social Barriers, University of Westminster.
2010 – Guest Speaker at AFRICA DAY Event in Dublin – Africa Centre’s Annual Lecture (May 2010)
- ‘Sports as a Catalyst for Development in Africa.’
Ayisi, F. ‘The Politics of Representation: Alternatives Visions of Africa’. A paper presented at an International conference, (In)Visibility in African Cultures, University of Oxford. September 2010
WIRAD – Welsh Institute of Research in Art and Design – Member
CIRI – Creative Industry Research Institute – University of South Wales – Member
MeCCSA – Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association -Member
EDN: European Documentary Network – Member
WAA – Women’s Arts Association, Wales, U.K. – Member
NDR Wales – Member – Network of Development Researchers in Wales, U.K.
Directors U.K. – Film and Television Industry professional body – Member
External Examiner for BA (Hons) Film & Media Production at Sheffield Hallam University
October 2008 to June 2012
External Panel Member – validation of a new degree programme: BA (Hons) Television Drama, at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design, U.K. – March 2002
The International Centre for Research and Documentation on African Traditions and Languages_, (_CERDOTOLA), Cameroon.
Public Administration International (PAI) – London, U.K.
Limbe City Council – Local Government Authority in Cameroon
_ The World Bank Group, Cameroon _
*Ayisi’s research focuses on using film as research tool to disseminate scholarly knowledge in diverse contexts. Her research interests include and, draw on Postcolonial theory, Cultural Representations and Realism, [African] Women in/and Film, Transnational Cinema, Film Audience, and Ethnographic Film. Her research work is located within the broad agenda and revisionist dialogue of renaissance and ‘decolonising cultural representations’ about African people and offering an increased visibility in a global media context.
She welcomes Postgraduate Candidates who wish to undertake research projects that relate to her area of research.
Areas of Expertise
Communication for Development, Visual Ethnographic Research, Social Documentary and Development, Media Education & Training, Women in/and Media Representations, Digitising [African] Cultural Heritage
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