‘Cinema Cultures’ in Africa focuses on the ways in which the moving image has been encountered and used by African people throughout time. Experiences that frame the first representations of Africa and Africans on film will be examined through the perspective of audiences, including the reception of ‘silent cinema’, ‘colonial films’ of the Bantu Education Kinema Experiment (BEKE) in east and central Africa, and the Kuxa Kanema national cinema movement in Mozambique. Noting the precedents in still photography and the use of the camera in the pseudo-discipline sciences of the ‘explorer’, the experience of the spread of ‘cinema’ in Africa will be given significance as a formative moment in the African experience of cinema.

At the core of this symposium is the question of ‘Africa’ and the notion of ‘national cinema’ emerging from colonialism into the post-independence era. Among the central concerns are the responses of African filmmakers as cultural producers to the historical ambiguities and challenges. It is in this regard that a pivotal question will be placed at the heart of the discussion: what might be the tradition or heritage informing cinema cultures in African societies?

On October 30, at 6 pm (Gulf Standard Time), film producer Pedro Pimenta will moderate a discussion between filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri and Dr. Jude Akudinobi, in which they will be exploring the theme of cinema cultures in Africa.

 

Films

Mapantsula

Mapantsula is a South African film that tells the story of Johannes ‘Panic’ Themba Mzolo, a small-time thief who gets involved in the growing anti-apartheid struggle. The film highlights some of the political rallies, police brutality and racial inequalities that impacted local communities and in particular black South Africans.

Director: Oliver Schmitz | 104 mins | 1987

Ali Zaoua: Prince de la Rue/Prince of the Streets

A group of children living on the street decide to leave their gang, prompting retribution from the gang’s leader. After one of the children dies, the group try to gather the resources to give their friend a proper burial.

Director: Nabil Ayouch | 99 mins | 2000

 

Moderator

Pedro Pimenta

Pedro Pimenta started his film career with the National Film Institute of Mozambique in 1977. Since then, he has produced, co-produced or line produced numerous short fiction, documentaries and feature films in his country as well as in other African countries. Between 1997 and 2003, Pimento was the chief technical advisor for the UNESCO Zimbabwe film and video training project for southern Africa in Harare, and conceived and managed various training programs. Pimenta is one of the founders of Audio Visual Entrepreneurs of Africa (AVEA), which runs an annual professional training program for producers in Southern Africa. Until December 2005, Pedro was a member of the Prince Claus Fund Awards Committee of the Netherlands, and he is the founder and Director of DOCKANEMA, a documentary film festival in Mozambique.

 

Discussants

Jihan El-Tahri

Jihan El Tahri is a Franco Egyptian award-winning film director, writer, visual artist and producer. She currently serves as the General Director of the Berlin based documentary support institution DOX BOX. El Tahri has been a member of The Academy (Oscars) since 2017 and is currently on the selection committee of the Locarno International Film Festival. She has directed more than 15 films and her visual art exhibitions have travelled to renowned museums and several Biennales around the world. Her writings include “Les Sept Vies de Yasser Arafat” (Grasset) and “Israel and the Arabs, The 50 Years war” (Penguin). She continues to mentor and direct various documentary and filmmaking labs. El Tahri has served on the boards of several African film organisations including the Federation of Pan African Cinema and The Guild of African Filmmakers in the Diaspora.

Jude Akudinobi

Jude G. Akudinobi earned his PhD in Cinema-Television from the University of Southern California and teaches in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His works on African cinema have appeared in Iris, The Black Scholar, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Social Identities, Third Text, Research in African Literatures, African Studies Review, Meridians, Cinema Journal, amongst other publications and anthologies. A board member of Silicon Valley African Film Festival, African Film Consortium, as well as the African Film & Arts Foundation, Akudinobi’s research interests span the complexities of cultural politics, postcolonial literatures, African diasporas, arts, popular cultures, media and cinemas.

 

Further viewing

Mueda, Memory and Massacre (Ruy Guerra | 1979)

Silences of the Palace (Moufida Tlatli | 1994)

‘Cinema Cultures’ in Africa focuses on the ways in which the moving image has been encountered and used by African people throughout time. Experiences that frame the first representations of Africa and Africans on film will be examined through the perspective of audiences, including the reception of ‘silent cinema’, ‘colonial films’ of the Bantu Education Kinema Experiment (BEKE) in east and central Africa, and the Kuxa Kanema national cinema movement in Mozambique. Noting the precedents in still photography and the use of the camera in the pseudo-discipline sciences of the ‘explorer’, the experience of the spread of ‘cinema’ in Africa will be given significance as a formative moment in the African experience of cinema.

‘Cinema Cultures’ in Africa focuses on the ways in which the moving image has been encountered and used by African people throughout time. Experiences that frame the first representations of Africa and Africans on film will be examined through the perspective of audiences, including the reception of ‘silent cinema’, ‘colonial films’ of the Bantu Education Kinema Experiment (BEKE) in east and central Africa, and the Kuxa Kanema national cinema movement in Mozambique. Noting the precedents in still photography and the use of the camera in the pseudo-discipline sciences of the ‘explorer’, the experience of the spread of ‘cinema’ in Africa will be given significance as a formative moment in the African experience of cinema.

At the core of this symposium is the question of ‘Africa’ and the notion of ‘national cinema’ emerging from colonialism into the post-independence era. Among the central concerns are the responses of African filmmakers as cultural producers to the historical ambiguities and challenges. It is in this regard that a pivotal question will be placed at the heart of the discussion: what might be the tradition or heritage informing cinema cultures in African societies?

On October 30, at 6 pm (Gulf Standard Time), film producer Pedro Pimenta will moderate a discussion between filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri and Dr. Jude Akudinobi, in which they will be exploring the theme of cinema cultures in Africa.

 

Films

Mapantsula

Mapantsula is a South African film that tells the story of Johannes ‘Panic’ Themba Mzolo, a small-time thief who gets involved in the growing anti-apartheid struggle. The film highlights some of the political rallies, police brutality and racial inequalities that impacted local communities and in particular black South Africans.

Director: Oliver Schmitz | 104 mins | 1987

Ali Zaoua: Prince de la Rue/Prince of the Streets

A group of children living on the street decide to leave their gang, prompting retribution from the gang’s leader. After one of the children dies, the group try to gather the resources to give their friend a proper burial.

Director: Nabil Ayouch | 99 mins | 2000

 

Moderator

Pedro Pimenta

Pedro Pimenta started his film career with the National Film Institute of Mozambique in 1977. Since then, he has produced, co-produced or line produced numerous short fiction, documentaries and feature films in his country as well as in other African countries. Between 1997 and 2003, Pimento was the chief technical advisor for the UNESCO Zimbabwe film and video training project for southern Africa in Harare, and conceived and managed various training programs. Pimenta is one of the founders of Audio Visual Entrepreneurs of Africa (AVEA), which runs an annual professional training program for producers in Southern Africa. Until December 2005, Pedro was a member of the Prince Claus Fund Awards Committee of the Netherlands, and he is the founder and Director of DOCKANEMA, a documentary film festival in Mozambique.

 

Discussants

Jihan El-Tahri

Jihan El Tahri is a Franco Egyptian award-winning film director, writer, visual artist and producer. She currently serves as the General Director of the Berlin based documentary support institution DOX BOX. El Tahri has been a member of The Academy (Oscars) since 2017 and is currently on the selection committee of the Locarno International Film Festival. She has directed more than 15 films and her visual art exhibitions have travelled to renowned museums and several Biennales around the world. Her writings include “Les Sept Vies de Yasser Arafat” (Grasset) and “Israel and the Arabs, The 50 Years war” (Penguin). She continues to mentor and direct various documentary and filmmaking labs. El Tahri has served on the boards of several African film organisations including the Federation of Pan African Cinema and The Guild of African Filmmakers in the Diaspora.

Jude Akudinobi

Jude G. Akudinobi earned his PhD in Cinema-Television from the University of Southern California and teaches in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His works on African cinema have appeared in Iris, The Black Scholar, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Social Identities, Third Text, Research in African Literatures, African Studies Review, Meridians, Cinema Journal, amongst other publications and anthologies. A board member of Silicon Valley African Film Festival, African Film Consortium, as well as the African Film & Arts Foundation, Akudinobi’s research interests span the complexities of cultural politics, postcolonial literatures, African diasporas, arts, popular cultures, media and cinemas.

 

Further viewing

Mueda, Memory and Massacre (Ruy Guerra | 1979)

Silences of the Palace (Moufida Tlatli | 1994)

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