Udada International Women’s Film Festival

Developed and run by Dada Trust, the Udada International Women’s Film Festival was the first of its kind in Africa to feature the works of women in different genres: drama, comedy, fiction, documentary, animation and experimental films. Borne out of the need to recognize women’s participation, contribution, and support of cinema internationally, Udada’s desire is to create and foster sisterhood(s) in film around the world, from emerging to established filmmakers.

Link to the 2018 festival program.

With a newly introduced year-long program for the 2018 edition, the main festival event falls between the International Day of the Girl and Kenya’s Mashujaa Day (Heroes Day): October 11th – 20th, 2018. Featuring films by and about women from around the world, the 10 days are a celebration of female filmmakers’ in writing, directing, design, and production as well as innovation in the film-making sector

Since 2014, Udada has screened over 500 films from all genres, trained 300 filmmakers from all walks of life, run 30 workshops, supported at least 15 productions, and had an audience of over 3000 film enthusiasts.
Udada facilitates a platform for female film makers to exhibit their work, discuss and share their experiences and challenges, as well as network with professional filmmakers and interact with other major players in the industry, a veritable inter-generational sisterhood.

In developing this space, Udada excavates the histories of women in film that are often unspoken and/or erased. We screen to today’s filmmakers and general audiences narratives that break with the entrenched subordinate status of women to men. Our screening of films by and about women also disrupts the industry’s relegation of women filmmakers to support staff roles. And so, over Udada’s four years, the festival has developed a platform for filmmakers, and particularly female filmmakers, through:

  • Film screenings in various venues around Nairobi
  • Filmmakers’ forum
  • Skills development workshops (Sound Design, Screenwriting, Pitching)
  • Co-productions with other festivals in Africa and internationally: The Bronze Lens Film Festival, International Images Film Festival (IIFF), Slum Film Festival, and Lake Pan African Film Festival (LIPFF)

Udada’s purpose as a festival is to position women, their diverse and complex stories, and their contributions to film-making front and center internationally. We endeavour to disrupt how women are portrayed in cinema and to train more women in leadership positions, creating avenues for women and women’s stories to acquire funding and platforms for distribution. Udada breaks open more spaces for the empowerment of women filmmakers and production of female-oriented stories, changing the narratives.

In its fifth year, Udada is a festival of reflection, looking to our past successes and challenges to evolve a grander future. Our concentration is to develop an ecosystem of quality, accessibility and sustainability for our participating filmmakers and audiences.

Our theme for 2018 is:

“If We Ran The World…Then, We Need To Tell The Stories We Have Been Silent About”

We aim to have women from around the world, particularly Kenyan and African women to participate in this year’s theme by submitting a short video answering the question “IF WE RAN THE WORLD…”. A hashtag will also be created to engage women and men around the world via social media.
The theme of the festival merges a variety of ideas about leadership, with courageous storytelling at the core of them.


Having grown our participating filmmakers and audience numbers, Udada’s next evolutionary step is to link our work on the ground with a dedicated online presence, making use of various digital platforms to invigorate and support our film-making communities and audiences. This is going to be carried out through live-streaming on our various social media channels.


Again, new this year is the expansion of Udada outside of Nairobi and Kenya.
In partnership with the counties and our supporters, Udada will pitch up in different towns to screen a curated selection of participating films, run mobile film-making workshops, and screen films from the counties’ filmmakers. Our traveling festival activities will be well documented online as well as via traditional media, creating a link for filmmakers with different types of access to information.

With the support of our partners, Udada will be in Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, and Mombasa. FilmAid is working with Udada to curate programming in their communities.

Over the years, our strategic plan is to include other towns, in which to bolster emerging filmmakers and film cultures, telling the stories from all over Kenya. We are dedicated to expand storytelling opportunities and the languages they are in, moving away from a Nairobi-centric storytelling model. Furthermore, this is an excellent way of screening international films by and about women to different parts of the region, thus sharing our vision and values with diverse communities. Udada will also learn a lot along the way!