Sheba Soul Ensemble will be busy in June 2022 working with 20 special, primary and secondary schools throughout Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Our programme is all about co-creation and getting young people to devise theatre performances that look at urgent global problems and find solutions. Young people will be using hip hop, theatre, and music to bring their ideas and convictions to life. We are grateful to Somerset Community Foundation and Quartet for their support.
Black History Month is on our horizon. Thanks to a brilliant award from the BFI, we will be delivering in-person FLY! Festival of Black Women's Film at Derby Quad and Swansea Cinema and Co as well as an online version opening our programme to our followers across the UK and beyond. We are planning a riveting programme with lots of innovative add-on activities. More soon.
Sheba Soul Ensemble, as part of FLY! Festival of Black Women’s Film, welcomes Oscar-nominated documentary director Professor Florence Ayisi, for a screening of a mini-retrospective of her work followed by a Q & A
Florence AYISI was born in Cameroon. She is professor of International Documentary Film at the Faculty of Creative Industries, University of South Wales, U.K. (USW). She teaches diverse aspects of film theory and history, and documentary film practice. She has taught at several Higher Education Institutions in the U.K. including University of Sunderland, Coventry University, University of Glamorgan and University of Wales, Newport.
Florence is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker, whose main vision is to decolonise the image of Africa from Pan-African and woman-centred perspectives; offering rare, subtle and discerning insights, lived experiences and stories where African subjects have ‘agency’ and ‘voice’. Her documentary filmmaking is an important part of her critical practice research which is framed around diverse ideas related to post-colonial discourse, representation, feminism, transnational and African cinema, spectatorship, and ethnographic film. Her research in film contributes to the thriving research culture in the Faculty of Creative Industries.
Films on the evening will include:
A trailer of Handing Down Time, Zanzibar Soccer Queens and My Mother : Isange.
Zanzibar Soccer Queens: documents the lives and football activities of Women Fighters, a team of predominantly Muslim women. It presents a community of strong-willed women determined to better their lives and define new identities through playing soccer. Their involvement with soccer goes beyond the pitch; they travel, party on the beach, and play soccer with men. The film presents viewpoints from women determined to achieve personal goals beyond their prescribed traditional roles and expectations.
The very concept of Muslim women playing football is not only a novel idea, but it also challenges widely held negative perceptions about the role, image and status of women in Muslim countries where women have many restrictions such as concealing their bodies and not being in public with men who are not their relatives. What motivates these women to play football? How do they deal with society’s attitude towards Muslim women exposing their bodies?
2007. 52 mins
My Mother: Isange. A short film depicting a personal and affectionate tribute in memory of a mother and the'precious gift' she gave her 10 children.
2005. 7 mins
Equality. A social transformation catalyst using the arts of film and theatre.
Equality. Generating deep conversations with audience members. Seeing the overall framework for what it is....
Equality. The necessity to de-colonize. Re-vitalize.
With support from the BFI fund Film Feels Hopeful, Sheba Soul Ensemble is delighted to present a festival involving women film-makers from Cameroon, New Zealand and Canada. We are all too aware of the ways in which oppressions of various kinds play out, but, as each film reveals, there is plenty to feel hopeful about, plenty to restore our faith in humanity.
6 different programmes starting at 7pm and running on
Saturday 7th August Sunday 8th August Saturday 14th August Sunday 15th August Saturday 21 August Sunday 22 August. Each event involves one or two film s and a creative writing workshop in response to content and themes of each programme.
7 August Cameroonian film-maker Florence Ayisi introduces her documentary films Art of this Place and Handing Down Time. Women from Art of this Place will also be on hand to answer questions about their activities and to join us in a thought-provoking creative writing workshop facilitated by Akulah Agbami (leading to an end of festival anthology) following screenings and Q and A. A night not to be missed.
8 August Cameroonian film-maker Florence Ayisi introduces her award-winning film Sisters in Law which charts female judges in Cameroon tackling domestic violence in no uncertain terms. A challenging, moving and uplifting film that will be followed by a Q and A and a creative writing workshop facilitated by Akulah Agbami.
14 August Acclaimed Aoteroa film-maker Merata Mita was the first Maori woman to write and direct a dramatic feature film Mauri (which means life force) . The film and accompanying interview provide brilliant insight into the realities of life for Maori people. Merata comments :' It was a quietly satisfying moment to enter the theatre on the opening night of Mauri and see the pride of so many brown faces. I am very proud to have made something for us, so relentless and uncompromising, and for me it was another brief fulfilled.' The screening will be followed by a short discussion and a creative writing workshop facilitated by Akulah Agbami.
15 August Merata Mita's example has created a film industry in New Zealand where Maori women film-makers have the opportunity to have their voices and experiences heard. WARU is a feature film made up of eight 10 minute short films, each written and directed by Māori women film. Eight Māori women are confronted by guilt, pride and defeat but will ultimately risk everything for the greater good of their community. An unusual, yet poignant collaboration followed by a discussion and a creative writing workshop facilitated by Akulah Agbami. We expect to have one of the directors present to introduce the film.
21 August Doreen Manuel's film Unceded Chiefs is a documentary tracing the early activism of BC's First Nations leaders. Determined, resilient, the children of the Chiefs have dedicated their lives to the leadership and survival of their Aboriginal title and rights. At a time when Canada's role in mass genocide against First Nation people is in the global spotlight, this event will be deeply informative. Doreen Manuel will join us to introduce her film and answer questions. The session will conclude with a creative writing session.
22 August Our final selection of FLY! Hopefully focuses on the work of First Nation women film-makers living in Canada. Loretta Todd will present her film Hands of History. This very much connects with Florence Ayisi's film Art of this place since it accompanies four contemporary artists in the First Nations community as they reveal their approach to art and the history of indigenous peoples in Canada. The screening will be followed by a Q and A session and a creative writing workshop. Writings generated will be compiled into a FLY! Hopefully anthology.
FLY! Hopefully Festival of Black Women's Film
Date and time
Sat, 7 Aug 2021, 21:00 –
Sun, 8 Aug 2021, 00:00 EEST
FLY! Higher Festival of Black women's films
Following a successful FLY! Festival of Black Women’s film in May / June we are back for 2 weeks of mesmerizing films and impassioned directors from the UK and Latin America. These screenings are part of Film Feels: Connected, a UK-wide cinema season, supported by the National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network. Explore all films and events at
The full programme and links to the films will be shared at the festival - where we will watch films, participate in live talks, Q&A sessions and one creative workshop. Invited guest speakers include, Marianela Maldonado, Venezuelan screenwriter and filmmaker; Alejandra Jiménez, Colombian-British animation filmmaker and Dr Deborah Martin, specialist in Latin American cinema, with an interest in representations of gender, sexuality, childhood in cinema.
All films shown at the festival are in the public domain. However, we welcome donations to cover speakers' and workshop facilitators' fees and coordination expenses. Suggested contribution is £5. We are very grateful for your support.
Following FLY! Higher, which took place on 15 August and focused on films directed by UK-based BLACK* women, 1 participant commented : Thank you for organising a really stimulating and enjoyable evening. I appreciated hearing everyone's thoughts, insights...and having the chance to see and hear such incredible female talent. It's been very uplifting. I also want to thank you for asking me to contribute, usually i stay very quiet and listen as I feel I have a lot to unlearn as well as learn. I am excited about next time, thank you so so much for bringing to us all such light and love.
Join us over two nights for an incredible line up of mesmerizing films and impassioned directors from the UK and Latin America.
FLY! is the first ever festival of Black Women's Theatre taking place in Bristol between 20 -28 June. We are welcoming artists and workshop facilitators from all over the UK, and artists from the Caribbean and the US. The festival allows us to celebrate and explore the current preoccupations of Black Women artists. There will be spaces for debate and networking and for us to share our knowledge and experience. The workshops are open to all women and people identifying as female whilst performances are open to all. Events take place at the Bristol Old Vic and the Arnolfini. Come along and join us in these dizzy heights!
Click here for the programme.