Florence Ayisi

Florence Ayisi


Willing to speak to media


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Teaching interests

Florence Ayisi is Professor of International Documentary Film. She teaches documentary film theory and practice, including producing, directing, ethics and representational issues. She has taught film and media studies at several Further Education (FE) and Higher Education institutions (HEIs) in the U.K. for over 23 years, including Rotherham College of Arts and Technology, University of Sunderland, Coventry University, University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport.

Florence is also an award winning documentary filmmaker, presenting rare insights and affirmative aspects of African people, their lived experiences and culture from Woman-centred and Pan-African perspectives. Issues of intersectionality such as gender are central to her documentary practice. She has made films in Cameroon and Tanzania, including films such as Sisters in Law (co-directed with Kim Longinotto, 2005), Zanzibar Soccer Queens (2007), Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (co-directed with Catalin Brylla, 2016). Her films have won numerous prestigious film awards including PRIX ART ET ESSAI at Cannes film festival; Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Issue; Audience Award at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA); and Peabody Award in USA.
Sisters in Law was long-listed for Academy Awards (Oscar Nominations) in 2006. Her films have been screened on major television channels and film festivals world-wide including Channel 4 Television, More4 TV, Canal+, TV5 Monde Afrique, RFO (France), PBS (USA) and Swedish Television (SVT), Qatar TV, Cannes film festival, Toronto Int’l film festival, Hawaii Int’l film festival, London Film festival, Silicon Valley African film festival in San Jose (USA), African Diaspora film festival in New York (USA), Canadian Sport film festival, Zanzibar Int’l film festival, Reel Sisters of the Diaspora film festival in New York (USA), Goteborg Int’l film festival, Twin Cities Black Film Festival, Minneapolis, (USA), FESPACO (Burkina Faso), Cape Town International Film Market & Festival (South Africa).

Florence also has extensive experience of working with Third Sector Organisations such as International Development Agencies and Government Departments, including The World Bank Group (Cameroon), The National Programme for Participatory Development (PNDP – Cameroon)The Ministry of Arts and Culture (Cameroon), The International Centre for Research and Documentation on African Traditions and Languages, CERDOTOLA Cameroon, The Limbe City Council (Cameroon, Women and Community groups in Zanzibar and Cameroon. She has produced and directed commissioned documentary projects as part of using film/video and photography to communicate socio-cultural and development issues and also engage diverse audiences. Her films have had social impact in diverse communities, positively influence government policy and transformed personal and social attitudes.

In 2018, Florence was presented with the ICON Award at the 2018 Africa Week; 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”.

In 2017, Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (2016) was shortlisted for the prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council Research in Film Awards = for the International Development Award: Mobilising Global Voices category.

In 2008, Florence was awarded the UK Film Council Breakthrough Brits Award for Film Talent – she was one of thirteen (13) filmmakers who was honoured with this prestigious award at a ceremony in Hollywood – during the Black Film Festival.

Research Website – https://www.florenceayisi.com/

Research interests

Florence's research focuses on using film as a method and research tool to explore, construct and disseminate knowledge in diverse contexts. Her research work is located within the broad agenda postcolonial revisionist dialogue and discourse on representations of African people; the ‘decolonisation’ of images circulated about Africa in a global media context. Her research draws on Postcolonial theory, Intersectionality, Media Representations, [African] Women in/and Film, Transnational Cinemas, Communication for Development, Film Audience and Spectatorship, and Social Impact Documentary.

She welcomes Postgraduate Candidates who wish to undertake research related to her research interests.

Research interests

Florence has worked with a variety of Third Sector organisations and Government Agencies on several projects within the broad context of Communication for Development, Women’s issues, Digitising Cultural Heritage, Film Education and Media Literacy, Film and Governance in a Transnational and Global Media context. Her main agenda is to use film to highlight development issues, expand Knowledge and Visibility, and to give a Voice to People/Communities who are often absent or under-represented in the media.

She has worked with:
International Centre for Research and Documentation on African Traditions and Languages (CERDOTOLA) – Cameroon.
Public Administration International (PAI) – London, U.K.
Limbe City Council – Local Government Authority – Cameroon
_ The World Bank Group, Cameroon _
Women’s Panorama at the Zanzibar International Film Festival
The Women’s Empowerment Centre, Limbe – Cameroon
The Ministry of Arts and culture – Cameroon
Women’s Fighters’ Football Club – Zanzibar

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Certificate in Higher Education (Cert Ed) , University of Sunderland

… → 1997

MA in Film Production, Leeds Metropolitan University

… → 1992

MA in Theatre and Media Production, University of Hull

… → 1989

Diploma in Television Production and Journalism, Television Training Centre, Fulham Studios, London

… → 1987

Bachelor of Arts in English, University of Yaoundé

… → 1986

External positions

External Examiner for BA (Hons) Film & Media Production, Sheffield Hallam University

Oct 2008Jun 2012

External Examiner for BA (Hons) Drama, Theatre and Television Studies, King Alfred’s College, Winchester (now University of Winchester)

Sept 1999Jul 2003

Jury Member, BAFTA CYMRU – for Best Director, Factual

Jury Member, Cardiff International Film Festival

Jury Member, Evora International Short Film Festival – FIKE – Portugal

External Panel Member – revalidation of BA (Hons) Media Technology, Farnborough College of Technology

… → Apr 2001

Jury Member, First Films – a Community Arts initiative for Young People in Newport (Wales) – run by Pilipala Films, and funded by Newport Arts Development

Jury Member, International Documentary Festival Madrid (DOCUMENTAMADRID), Spain

Jury Member, Kenyan International film festival – Nairobi, Kenya

Jury Member, One World Broadcasting Trust ‘Television Awards – London

External Panel Member – validation of a new degree programme: BA (Hons) Television Drama, Surrey Institute of Art and Design

… → Mar 2002

Jury Member, Zanzibar International film festival – ZIFF


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