Bristol’s March Festival of Black Women’s Film is Back!

Watch the wonderful offerings of Sheba Soul Ensemble, as they are back on ‘a laptop near you’ this month!

FLY! runs from the 5th until the 21st of March, connecting filmmakers, artists, academics, and audiences across the South West with black women filmmakers and their histories from Britain and around the globe. 

 

The highly anticipated second edition of the creative and interactive, live and online FLY! Festival of Black Women’s Art is here in recognition of International Women’s Day – for the whole month!

The Sheba Soul Ensemble birthed their first festival in the online event conditions that many are now navigating Performers and theatre-makers by trade, the ensemble have carried their co-creative, interactive, and “deep communication” into the virtual cinema sphere.

Akulah Agbami, Festival Director reflects as Sheba Soul embarks on the 2nd virtual edition of FLY!

 

What is wonderful about online work is our ability to bring together women from around the world – with spectators in Africa, the U.S., Canada – which makes for an immensely enriched viewing and sharing experience. How issues touched upon by a film-maker in one part of the world chime with concerns, perhaps at a completely different moment in time, elsewhere.

 

As theatre performers, we approach each production seeking to ‘co-create’ with the audience. That means that nurturing and encouraging audiences to share, and translating their experience makes every performance unique. We wanted to replicate that as much as possible with FLY! – our theatre performances always include an element of the unknown and unexpected – and this is linked to our ideas about living in the moment. 

 

Beyond Boundaries 360 provided amazing training for switching from performance-based event festival delivery to film festival delivery. Really, everything I needed to know to move forward with our ideas was supplied along with lashings of support and encouragement. We could have done FLY! Festival of Black Women’s Film without it… but it would not have been so fully fleshed out or thought through.

 

Building on last year’s experience with our audiences, we have a real sense of getting to know each other. We created a space that supported deep communication in a very supportive way, and we would like that to be a permanent feature of what we do. 

 

 

Suwi + Rafiki

The Immortal Henrietta Lacks

Here are just a few of the highlights from Fly! 2021

  • Live and direct from Zambia 

Musola Cathrine Kaseketi will be joining from Zambia for 5 of the events. Musola is Zambia’s foremost film-maker and a disability rights activist. She joins for a Q&A and creative writing workshop, alongside a double bill of her 2010 feature Suwi.

Sheba has paired Kaseketi’s work with Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki (2018). While Suwi follows an orphan’s precarious existence in Zambia, the latter is a celebration of love between two women in Kenya, a country where homophobic laws are entrenched as a result of British colonisation. 

 

  • Archival Short films

Sheba Soul Ensemble presents a selection of short films from two of the most revered filmmakers in the UK – Maureen Blackwood and Ngozi Onwurah. Ahead of their time, the urgency and beauty of their respective works were not realised by largely white audiences and organisations at the time, but years later their work still encourages us to interrogate the contemporary experience of Black people in Britain.

 

  • Exploring our DNA

South West based artist Helen Wilson-Roe presents her documentary A Brush With Immortality which narrates the story of Henrietta Lacks, her family, and her posthumous contribution to medical science. Wilson-Roe is from Bristol and based in Stroud, where she has been researching this story for over 20 years.

 

As theatre performers, we approach each production seeking to 'co-create' with the audience. That means that nurturing and encouraging audiences to share, and translating their experience makes every performance unique Akulah Agbami

Sheba Soul Ensemble

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