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.
Florence has made several documentary films in Cameroon and Tanzania and has won numerous prestigious film awards including PRIX ART ET ESSAI at Cannes film festival; Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Issue; and Peabody Award in USA. Her first feature documentary film, Sisters in Law (2005; Co-directed with Kim Longinotto) was also long-listed for an Academy Award nomination (Oscars) in 2006. Her films have been screened at numerous festivals and on television worldwide.
In 2017, Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (2016; Co-directed with Catalin Brylla) was shortlisted for the prestigious Research in Film Awards by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), U.K. Florence was presented with the ICON Award during Africa Week (2018), University of West of England, Bristol, U.K. The award recognises the "exceptional contributions by individuals in promoting Pan-Africanism on a personal, national and global scale".
REF 2014 - USW celebrates world leading research and impact
Research by Professor Florence Ayisi which was documented in a film on the lives of an all-female Muslim football team in Zanzibar has helped to improve respect and understanding, encouraged more women to get involved in sport and has been used to tackle racism in football and raise awareness of HIV and AIDS.
Film paves the way for women’s football in Africa.
Documentary research raises important questions about the status of Muslim women
Zanzibar Soccer Queens (2007) and its Impact on Civil Society and Cultural Life in Africa and Europe.
A documentary film on the lives of an all-female Muslim football team in Zanzibar has helped to improve respect and understanding, encouraged more women to get involved in sport and has been used to tackle racism in football and raise awareness of HIV and Aids.
The University of South Wales research by Florence Ayisi, Professor of International Documentary Film, used ‘first person’ documentary film practices and focused on members of the ‘Women Fighters’ football team, raising important questions about the role and status of Muslim women in Africa.
The resulting impact film, Zanzibar Soccer Dreams by Florence Ayisi and Catalin Brylla shows societal acceptance of women’s football and the team has gone from being marginalised as ‘soccer hooligans’ to becoming valued ambassadors for Zanzibar.
"Now when a woman plays football her parents are happy. They want girls to play football. We have come far and we are now moving on to another era," says Khatima, a player in the Women Fighters team.
The film has been shown in numerous film festivals across Europe, Africa, North America and Asia, and led to an increase in the numbers of women and girls in Zanzibar wanting to play football, even prompting a change of policy by the Zanzibar Government to allow Muslim girls to play football in schools as part of sports education.
More information about studying Film at USW.
Florence currently works at the prestigious University of South Wales as a Professor of International Documentary Film.