1hr 30mins

In the 1980s, against a backdrop of divisive national politics and civil unrest, a series of radical filmmaking collectives emerged, led by Black British artists and activists. During this movement, several prominent female filmmakers emerged, using the workshop model to create films explicitly discussing issues of black feminism, intersectionality and the post-colonial experience.

As part of our International Women's Day Season, championing and showcasing female voices, talent and stories; we're showing two rarely screened and recently digitised movies from this movement.

D. Elmina Davis / Martina Attille

Dreaming Rivers
Marttina Attile, 1988 (30 mins)

Dreaming Rivers illustrates the spirit of modern families touched by the experience of migration. Awarded a prestigious Filmdukaten at the XXXVII Internationale Filmwoche Mannheim in 1988, the film evocatively weaves together the ambition-fuelled dreams and memories of Caribbean-born Miss T and her family.

Sankofa Film and Video was set up in 1983 by Martina Attille, Maureen Blackwood, Robert Crusz, Isaac Julien and Nadine Marsh-Edwards. Supported by the then-new Channel 4, the Association of Cinematograph, Television & Allied Technicians (ACTT) and the Greater London Council (GLC); their work has a dedicated focus on their interest in politics, gender, sexuality and Black British history.


Omega Rising women of Rastafari
D. Elmina Davis, 1988 (50 mins)

This ground-breaking documentary was the first film to explore and challenge the myths and stereotypes surrounding the Rastafarian movement. It gave voice to women of Rastafari who speak about their relationship to the movement and its development.

A self-taught camerawoman who began her career documenting community issues in Tottenham, D. Elmina Davis was a Rastafarian herself and travelled extensively in Africa and the Caribbean. Poetry, mythology, archive footage, interviews, music and dance, are skilfully folded into her film’s narrative, revealing the journey to higher consciousness for Jamaican and British Rastafarian women. Interviewees include Judy Mowatt, reggae solo artist and a member of Bob Marley’s backing trio, The I Three.

Davis was a member of the Ceddo Film and Video Workshop, set up in the 1980s with support from Channel 4, ACTT and the GLC. Original members included Menelik Shabazz, Milton Bryan, Imruh Bakari Caesar, Glenn Ujebe Masokoane and Roy Cornwall with Davis and Valerie Thomas joining the collective later on. The characterisation of their work came from a radical left-wing critique of British society’s treatment of Black British people, and an interest in African and Caribbean politics and history.

Find our full International Women’s Day Season here.

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