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MARIE-MADELENE: A FEMALE CHIEF @ IIFF 2018

A woman is to be enthroned as chief in Nkol Ngock I, a small village in Cameroon. This is a rare occurrence in most African societies where the position of chief is customarily handed down from father to son. This documentary presents a rare glimpse into a community undergoing change. Social attitudes towards gender equality are changing, as men openly acknowledge and speak about the importance of women in development. One man says "women are doing more to encourage development than men. I believe a female chief will bring new things."

Even though some villagers consider Marie-Madeleine a 'stranger' because she lives in the capital city of Yaoundé, she is determined to learn about her culture and integrate into village life.

As Marie-Madeleine beats the real African drum on her enthronement day, the gentle sounds signal a break with tradition. It is the dawn of a new era in the village of Nkol Ngock I; a Woman will be their traditional leader. Residents are optimistic that she will bring much needed development to the village.

Director Florence AYISI is an award-winning professor of International Documentary Film at the University of South Wales, UK. She has taught film and media studies at various universities in the UK for over 20 years.

The main focus and vision of Florence's film-making is constructing and presenting counter cinematic narratives from a woman-centred and Pan-African perspective - telling African stories in which the subjects have 'agency' and a 'voice'. Her work refocuses the cinematic lens to not only decolonize the African gaze and image, but to also redefine how African people and their cultures are perceived and imagined.

Florence has made several films in Cameroon and Tanzania. Her first feature-length documentary film, Sisters in Law (Co-directed with Kim Longinotto, 2005) has won over 30 prestigious film awards including Cannes Film Festival - Prix Art et Essai, Audience Award at International Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), The Peabody Award (USA) for Outstanding Achievement in Electronic Media. In 2006, Sisters in Law was long-listed for Academy Award nomination - Oscars.

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