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Indigo: towards a pan-African fund to support women in film and audiovisual

The economic resilience of women working in the film and audiovisual sectors in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries remains precarious. To date, they cannot make a living from their art alone – despite their personal investment of time and money – and are often forced to combine different professional activities to ensure their livelihood. In addition, their access to quality training and funding sources remains problematic.

In the framework of the 14th edition of the ‘Elles Tournent-Dames Draaien’ Festival held in Brussels from 17 to 25 May 2022, the ACP-EU Culture Programme organised a round table on the issue of entrepreneurship for women in the film industry. This meeting, which took place at the headquarters of the Organisation of ACP States and online, brought together women directors and producers from the African continent, Asia and Europe. The aim of the meeting was to continue the exchanges initiated at previous international film festivals – notably the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) and the Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) – with a view to taking stock of the situation and identifying concrete measures to support women operators in the sector.

Opening the discussion, Aya Kasasa, OACPS expert in charge of Culture, recalled the importance of “strengthening the creative ecosystem to enable women to operate and prosper effectively and sustainably”.

For her part, Annica Floren, Deputy Head of Unit in charge of Youth, Culture and Education at the European Commission, stated that: “Creative ecosystems must be encouraged if the cultural and creative sectors are to be full drivers of sustainable development.

During the discussions, the speakers presented the realities they face on a daily basis, and outlined the contours of a fund that would support them financially in the face of precariousness and the impossibility of specialising in the audiovisual or film sectors. Called the “Indigo Fund”, this pan-African fund dedicated to women active in the film and audiovisual sector could intervene at different levels of the value chain, from training and access to the profession to production and distribution. It would also help to create a community of women professionals sharing similar experiences and values.

“We are not aiming for an approach based on development aid, but rather for effective collaborations and partnerships that will allow us to practice our profession under better conditions and to occupy our rightful place in the film and audiovisual industry,” concluded Rama Thiaw, a director and producer based in Senegal who coordinated this reflection and moderated the debate in Brussels.

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