Culture, Globe, Screen, United Kingdom

Cinema capture and celebrates Black girlhood

A year-long touring programme featuring films exploring the childhoods of Black girls, made by Black filmmakers, began last 11 May. Called “Snapshot”, it will be shown in 30 venues across the UK and will end in April 2025.


It is a series of four features and five short films featuring radical archive and critical contemporary offerings, which capture and celebrate the multi-faceted experiences of Black girlhood.

In a world where black girls are too often relegated to sidekick or trauma narratives, the films – all made by Black female filmmakers – bring to the fore the audacious, the hilarious and the beguiling – stories which have long sought to redress this balance.

The programme started at the ICA, London on 11 May with Cauleen Smith’s “Drylongso” (1998), a celebration of Black female creativity which captures the vibrant community spirit of Oakland in the 1990s. The screening included an introduction by filmmaker, programmer, curator, and DJ Rabz Lansiquot from Languid Hands.

From the lands of Brooklyn, NY to South Africa, across the ground-breaking work of Cauleen Smith, Ayoka Chenzira, Milisuthando Bongela, and Leslie Harris, “Snapshot” turns the spotlight to Black girls who are coming of age on their own terms.

The organisers of this tour, Tape, explain that “through these intimate explorations of their interior lives, we find joy in their adventures, in the refreshing variety of perspectives they have to offer, and in storytelling that simply lets Black girls be girls.

With support from the BFI Audience Projects Fund, the 30-venue tour, will take place over 12 months from May, 2024 to April, 2025. and includes the ICA, Glasgow Film Theatre, Showroom (Sheffield) and Chapter (Cardiff). Also included in the year-long tour are Ayoka Chenzira’s “Alma’s rainbow” (1994) (4K restoration, Kino Lorber), and Milisuthando Bongela’s new documentary ”Milisuthando” (2023), set in past, present and future South Africa and Leslie Harris’s “Just another girl on the IRT”  (1992) (4K restoration as part of Park Circus’ theatrical release in 2025

The programme of shorts includes two films produced by Tape Collective co-founder Angela Moneke and her producing partner Simon Hatton including BIFA nominated “Muna” (Berlinale) written & directed by Warda Mohamed starring Kosar Ali, and BAFTA longlisted “Essex girls” (Sundance) written by Busayo Ige, directed by Yero Timi-Biu and starring Busao Ige, Maisie Smith, and Corinna Brown.

There are also two archive titles by UK filmmakers Maureen Blackwood’s “Home away from home” (Sankofa Collective, 1993) and Ngozi Onwurah’s “Flight of the swan” (1992), and from the US, S. Pearl Sharp’s “Picking tribes” (1984).

Angie Moneke says that “on the wise words of our girl Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ‘The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.’ With an eye that is at once nostalgic and critical, we take a deep dive into films by Black female filmmakers across the decades, platforming cinema which allows its subjects to be powerful, complicated, vulnerable, and the main character in their own stories”.

For more information about the programme and screening venues, click here. (All films will be provided with descriptive subtitles, and audio description and introductions will come with closed captions.)

(Information and photos provided by Sarah Harvey)

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