Amandine Gay Speak Up

Amandine Gay

January 30, 2019
The Great Hall

Reflection | Podcast | VideoPhotos

Speak Up: Documentary Film-making as a Tool to Reclaim the Narrative

Amandine Gay is a Montreal-based Afrofeminist filmmaker, activist, and journalist. Following her graduation from the Institute of Political Science in Lyon with a masters in communication, Amandine Gay joined the Conservatory of Dramatic Art in Paris 16 and began performing in theatre, film and television. Since 2012, Amandine has been working as a screenwriter, making her directorial debut with her documentary, Speak Up/Make Your Way, a feature-length Afrofeminist documentary on European Black francophone women. She is also a contributor to the information website, Most recently, Amandine authored the preface of the first French translation of bell hooks' seminal, Ain't I A Woman. Amandine is currently living in Montreal, completing her second master's degree in sociology, focusing on transracial adoption. You can follow her in French and English as @OrpheoNegra



On Wednesday, January 30th French director, afro-feminist, and activist Amandine Gay’s documentary Speak Up was screened. The film showed the discrimination and racism that black women face in France. You were able to hear stories and experiences from several black women which showed the similarities and differences to the experiences in the United States.

Following the film, Gay opened a question and answer to the audience. She described her journey to becoming a director and the efforts that were put into creating her documentary. She explained that it was not an easy process, especially creating an all black cast for a film. The making of Speak Up took about three years due to the lack of funding for the film. Gay also explained the reasoning for the documentary and why it was necessary. She expressed that France is about 20-30 years behind the United States when it comes to civil rights. Many French black people look up to African-Americans and their movements and successes when it comes to civil rights.

During her A.P.E.X. talk on Thursday, January 31st Amandine Gay focused on her process to becoming who she is today. She talked about the setbacks and struggles that she faced trying to create the documentary but how her role models were influential. Gay also mentioned how she is an activists and afro-feminist herself, but does not take the light of those who became before her by doing and saying the same exact things. Instead, she acknowledges the influential people before her.

Following the A.P.E.X. talk, Gay attended a lunch with students from the language department, Black Student Union, and key faculty and staff members. Students, faculty, and staff had the opportunity to discuss various topics with Gay. Many questions were asked about her film work, activism, experience in France compared to the United States, and more. She is interested in future film work outside of documentaries, although the costs are high. Her experiences in France compared to the United States are completely different as she explained she is viewed as French in other countries before she is black.

Lastly, Gay attended a group discussion with students in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Gay was interested in the student’s experiences in the United States when it comes to racism and discrimination. She was able to relate to almost everything that the students had experienced and expressed her ideas for change. Change will happen when people are recognized for who they are and negative stereotypes are broken down.

by Sunny Sims


Audio Transcript