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Sisters in Law
A film by Kim Longinotto, Co-directed by Florence Ayisi
Cameroon/UK, 2005, 104 minutes, Color, 35mm/DVD, Pidgin English, Subtitled
Order No. W06894
Winner of the Prix Art et Essai at the Cannes Film Festival and screened to acclaim at more than 120 festivals around the world, SISTERS IN LAW is the bestselling documentary from internationally renowned director Kim Longinotto, co-directed by Florence Ayisi.

In the little town of Kumba, Cameroon, there have been no convictions in spousal abuse cases for 17 years. But two women determined to change their community are making progress that could change their country. This fascinating, often hilarious doc follows the work of State Prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba as they help women fight often-difficult cases of abuse, despite pressures from family and their community to remain silent. Six-year-old Manka is covered in scars and has run away from an abusive aunt, Amina is seeking a divorce to put an end to brutal beatings by her husband, the pre-teen Sonita has daringly accused her neighbor of rape.

With fierce compassion, the two feisty and progressive-minded women dispense wisdom, wisecracks and justice in fair measure, handing down stiff sentences to those convicted. A cross between “Judge Judy” and “The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” SISTERS IN LAW has audiences cheering when justice is served.


Peabody Award
Cannes Film Festival, Prix Art et Essai
Cannes Film Festival, Special Mention Europa Cinemas
Int'l Documentary and Film Festival, Amsterdam, Audience Award
British Independent Film Awards, Best Doc Nominee
Women’s Film Critics Circle, Adrienne Shelly Award
The Royal TV Programme Awards, Best Single Doc
Hawaii Int'l Film Festival, Best Documentary
Royal Anthropological Institute FF, Audience Award
Santa Barbara Film Festival, Social Justice Award
RAI Film Festival, Oxford, Basil Wright Award
Grierson Award, Best Doc on Contemporary Issue, UK
Al-Jazeera TV Festival, Silver Award
Belfast Film Festival, 1st Maysles Award
The Tel-Aviv Intl Documentary FF, Best Int'l Film
Human Rights Nights FF, Italy, Jury Prize
Commonwealth Film Festival, Audience Award
Munich Documentary FF, Special Documentary Prize
4th Lisbon Int'l Doc FF, "Pobreza Zero" Prize
Batumi Int’l Film Festival, Best Documentary
DOCUSUR, Special Jury Mention
2008 PBS Independent Lens Audience Award Runner-Up

  • Reykjavik Shorts&Docs Festival
  • Toronto Int'l Film Festival
  • Telluride Film Festival
  • Bahamas International Film Festival
  • Denver International Film Festival
  • Hamptons International Film Festival
  • Montreal International Festival of New Cinema
  • Puerto Vallarta Film Festival
  • St. Louis International Film Festival
  • Virginia Film Festival
  • Broadcast on Emmy Award®-winning PBS series, Independent Lens

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    "**** Highly Recommended. Editor's Choice."
    Video Librarian

    “Highly Recommended. Multi-faceted. Refreshing to see [African women] portrayed as powerful, confident and in control of their own destinies.”
    Educational Media Reviews Online

    “Knocked me flat and earned my tears of shock and joy.”
    Vancouver International Film Festival

    “One of the best documentaries of all time.”
    Telluride Film Festival

    "POSITIVELY SOARS…Who are these women, and can they please take over the world soon?"
    Nathan Lee
    The New York Times

    "Illuminating, entertaining... you might start to seriously wonder if there's a way to get [Vera Ngassa] to run for office here in America."
    Gene Seymour

    "A triumphal portrait of women taking matters into their own hands."
    Joshua Land
    Time Out

    "The women are so compelling – and the sense of justice so satisfying, I can’t imagine any audience resisting SISTERS IN LAW."
    Stuart Klawans
    The Nation

    "This is a story of real heroism that will leave you weeping, laughing and singing...My early candidate for breakout feel-good documentary of the year."
    Andrew O'Hehir

    "INSPIRATIONAL...A family-court western in which a pair of tart-talking gunslingers...bring justice."
    J. Hoberman
    The Village Voice

    “A well-crafted, focused film …plays like a quiet miracle.”
    Film Quarterly

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    Sisters in Law is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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© Women Make Movies, 2005
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us