PANEL: Reframing the Lens – Progress and Challenges of LGBTQIA+ Cinema in Africa

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In the face of legal restrictions and societal prejudices, how do LGBTQIA+ filmmakers in Africa navigate the delicate balance between artistic expression and the potential consequences of their work? In the vast expanse of Africa, LGBTQIA+ films have long remained marginalized, largely due to the prevailing intolerance within the continent’s diverse film industries. However, the past decade has witnessed a remarkable shift. Spearheaded by independent filmmakers across various African countries, these cinematic achievements signify progress and resilience.


With Babatunde Apalowo, Mohammad Shawky Hassan, Gabriel Bihina Arrahnio, Yvan Hervé Butera

Language : English


Apalowo Babatunde

Born in Ogbagi-Akoko, Nigeria, Babatunde Apalowo is a director and screenwriter currently based in the UK. He won the Homevida competition sponsored by the United Nations, and his short film A PLACE OF HAPPINESS has been screened at several international festivals. In 2022, he won the African Magic Viewers' Choice Award for Best Editor and was nominated for an African Movie Academy Award for his work as a screenwriter. His first feature film, ALL THE COLOURS OF THE WORLD ARE BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE, had its world premiere at Berlinale 2023 and won the Teddy Award.

Mohammad Shawky Hassan

Mohammad Shawky Hassan is an Egyptian filmmaker and video artist who has been living and working in Berlin since 2019. His film AND ON A DIFFERENT NOTE premiered at the Berlinale in 2015 and was acquired by the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for its collection. BASHTAALAK SA’AT is Hassan’s first feature film. Mohammad Shawky Hassan says about his film: “The men in these films aren’t victims. They are strong and confident despite their vulnerability. They don’t apologise for being gay and practising their sexuality. They tell their stories in different ways, such as narration, song and conversations, offering an alternative to the prevailing narrative of the gay Arab suffering from repressed sexuality. ”


Gabriel Bihina Arrahnio

Born in Cameroon, Gabriel Bihina Arrahnio immigrated to Germany with his family at age 13. Soon after he discovered the power of filmmaking, and taught himself what he needed to know about writing, creating and visualising films. After moving to Berlin and doing internships at small film production companies, the agency Jung von Matt hired Gabriel where he worked for almost 3 years. He then decided to pursue his studies at the Film University Babelsberg. Gabriel is an all-round talent on a mission to tell stories that have a deep emotional impact. His special interest is in giving marginalised people a voice to empower them.

Yvan Hervé Butera

Yvan Hervé Butera is a versatile Art, Diversity, and Inclusion consultant and facilitator. He is a curator,cinephile, installation artist, playwright, and theater director.