In Montreal-based Afro-feminist filmmaker, activist and journalist Amandine Gay's feature directorial debut, Ouvrir la voix (Speak Up), women of African descent converse about what it means to be women of African descent today, belonging to a global African community. By sharing their experiences and aspirations for the future, they aim to reclaim control of their own representation.
Per the filmmaker, the documentary was born out of her desire to "occupy public space and to explain why the intersection of discriminations faced by black women in France and Belgium is as problematic as it is political."
A celebration of the diversity of womanhood within the global African diaspora, Gay calls the film her response to the need for black francophone women to reclaim their narrative, and challenge the suppression of their voices, revealing the complexity and diversity of their lives and identities. Inspiring a conversation through intertwined narratives, Speak Up also exalts the history of black women's resistance - those who've fought to be heard, and a testimony to those who will continue to fight into the future.
A Bras de Fer production, French distribution and sales company MK2 Films has acquired international sales rights to Speak Up, which continues to travel internationally, with openings in France and Canada, and other primarily French speaking territories. But MK2 does plan to make the film available for an English-language release, although no specifics have been announced on that front at this time.
Most recently, Gay authored the preface of the first French translation of bell hooks' seminal work, Ain't I A Woman. She is currently living in Montreal, completing her second master's degree in sociology, focusing on trans-racial adoption. She is a director, writer, freelance journalist and speaker who is regularly asked to speak about Afro-feminism, intersectionality and adoption.
You can follow her adventures in French and English on her Twitter account @OrpheoNegra or blog.
Watch 3 clips from Speak Up (with English subtitles) and check out the poster below.