Monday, November 29, 2021


Courtesy of Icarus Films
Courtesy of Icarus Films
Courtesy of Icarus Films
Courtesy of Icarus Films
Courtesy of Icarus Films
Courtesy of Icarus Films
  • Prism Trailer

Prism Details

  • Year of Production: 2021
  • Length: 78 minutes
  • Color: Color
  • Screening Format: Digital
  • Language: English and French
  • Subtitle(s): Dutch, French, and English

About the Film

After a brief history of the “china girl,” an image of a white woman with color bars used by lab technicians to calibrate the color of the film, Prism blossoms into a provocative investigation into the inherent racism of film cameras and lens technology that is balanced for white skin tones. Each co-director is in charge of her own segment, with the triptych strung together with Skype conversations they have with each other about their work and what they’re thinking about. Each merges together conversations, re-stagings, and visual gestures into a sum greater than its parts, deftly skirting technological determinism while remaining attentive to the great restorative power of being seen.

The first segment is An van. Dienderen’s, who convenes the project and expands its scope, taking place in an abstracted but universalized film school, far from the particulars of lived experienced. Then, Rosine Mbakam, based in Brussels but from Cameroon, interviews white former film professors and photographers in Belgium about their relationship with their Black human subjects and with films from Black African directors. She also stages the Marie-Guillemine Benoist painting Portrait de négresse and films herself, her white husband, and their son together in one frame. Eléonore Yaméogo, based in Paris but from Burkina Faso, interviews Black members of the film industry on their struggles of being filmed or filming. Structured as a chain of letters, the larger project crucially, resolutely seeks to return power to the South, to the margins, and seeks to construct a true sense of co-creation between the three filmmakers across their differences. (AS)

World Premiere at the 2021 New York Film Festival. 

About the Filmmakers

Rosine Mbakam Director

Rosine Mbakam grew up in Cameroon. She chose cinema very early on and trained in Yaoundé thanks to the teams of the Italian NGO COE (Centro Orientamento Educativo) where she was introduced to image, editing, and directing in 2000. Driven by the desire to develop her cinematographic vision, she joined the Belgian INSAS (Institut National […] Read More

An van. Dienderen Director

An van. Dienderen is a filmmaker who graduated in audiovisual arts (Sint-Lukas, Brussels). She also obtained a PhD in Comparative Cultural Sciences (Ghent University) and was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. She’s made several documentaries screened worldwide and awarded international prizes. Films include Visitors of the Night (1998), Site (2000), Tu ne verras pas […] Read More

Eléonore Yaméogo Director

Originally from Burkina Faso, Eléonore Yameogo, belongs to a generation of female African directors, eager to tackle demanding film subjects. Her career began on the film sets of Ouagadougou, where she acquired field experience, before studying cinema in Burkina Faso, Belgium, and France where she currently lives. The Elephant Cemetery and Paris My Paradise are […] Read More
  • Writer
    Rosine Mbakam, An van. Dienderen, Eléonore Yameogo
  • Editor
    Geoffroy Cernaix, Nina de Vroome & Effi Weiss
  • Cinemtography
    Léo Lefèvre, Tristan Galand & Philippe Radoux