Contemporary expressions of ‘African cinema’ showcase a diversity of trends, aesthetic preferences, and audience experiences. This symposium will delve into films being produced at this historical moment, reflecting on how the aspirations of the ‘pioneers of African cinema’ are being contested, reinforced, or realized. The discussants analyze and compare the films’ aesthetic approaches, storytelling techniques, and a diverse range of contemporary concerns for filmmakers.

The symposium ‘Continuity and Change’ will consider the ways in which the archetypes and expressions of the past remain relevant to the historical continuum of African cinema, and will address questions like, ‘what is emerging as “new” around the idea of the ‘decolonizing principle’?’.

In focusing on the reframing of contemporary debates, with aim of opening the conversation to allow for new perspectives, the discussion will also highlight issues of national and Pan-African cinema, the significance of the prevailing media economy including Netflix, ‘donor films’, ‘auteur cinema’, Nollywood, the established institutional sources of production finance and support, ‘new technology’ and its potential and challenge for contemporary African film production and cinema.

The films will be made available for free streaming via the Africa Institute website between 17 – 19 November. And on November 19, 2021 at 6 pm (Gulf Standard Time), Dr. Samantha Iwowo will moderate a discussion between filmmaker Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda and Dr. Boukary Sawadogo, in which they will be exploring the theme of continuity and change.

 

Films

Hyenas

One of the treasures of African cinema, Senegalese master Djibril Diop Mambéty’s long-delayed follow-up to his canonical Touki Bouki is a hallucinatory comic adaptation of Swiss avant-garde writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s play The Visit, which in Mambéty’s imagining follows a now-rich woman returning to her poor desert hometown to propose a deal to the populace: her fortune, in exchange for the death of the man who years earlier abandoned her and left her with his child. Per its title, Hyenas is a film of sinister, mocking laughter, and a biting satire of a contemporary Senegal whose post-colonial dreams are faced with erosion by western materialism.

Director: Djibril Diop Mambéty | 110 mins | 1992

Arugba

The story of a king who brays against corruption while rigorously prosecuting economic reform and handily welcoming foreign investors.

Director: Tunde Kelani | 95 mins | 2008

 

Moderator

Samantha Iwowo

Samantha Iwowo is a screenwriter, director and researcher, who commenced her career as a commissioned screenwriter with South Africa’s largest cable network, M-Net. Iwowo is also a senior lecturer in Directing Drama for Film and Television at Bournemouth University, UK. Iwowo wrote several episodes of the daily drama series, Tinsel (2008 – present), from 2013 to 2014. She has also written fifty published screenplays. These include the internationally celebrated feature Oloibiri (2016), made in collaboration with director, Curtis Graham, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. Her forthcoming screenplay, The Tyrant, is a biography based on Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, commissioned by Theatron Media Inc. (Canada) and starring British-Nigerian actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim. Iwowo has also directed four other films. Her works often focus on themes of post-colonialism and transnational cinema.

 

Discussants

Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda

Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda is an award-winning writer, producer and director from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Bakupa-Kanyinda is currently working on a feature film based on his hero, Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the Congo who was brutally assassinated in January 1961.

Bakupa-Kanyinda studied sociology, history and philosophy in Brussels, Belgium, and took filmmaking courses in France, the UK and the US. In 1991 he made his first documentary, Dix mille ans de cinéma, and in 1993 released a second documentary about Thomas Sankara. His first fiction film was Le Damier: Papa National Oyé! (The Draughtsmen Clash) made in 1996. He was a member of the board of short films at CNC in France from 1999 to 2001, and was a member of the Input 2000 (International Public Television) in Cape Town, South Africa and a member of CreaTV–UNESCO’s program for televisions in the South–between 2000 and 2003. Bakupa-Kanyinda is a founding member of the Guild of African film makers and producers, and the creator of the Thomas Sankara Prize, which awards a short film from the official selection of Fespaco. Currently, the government of Congo has charged Bakupa-Kanyinda with the organization of the repatriation of the remains of Patrice Lumumba, held in Belgium since his assassination in 1961, and who will finally be buried in his country in January 2022. His company, Bakupa Kanyinda et Associés (BK&A), based in Kinshasa, develops film and documentary projects on the history of Congo and contemporary Africa.

Boukary Sawadogo

Boukary Sawadogo is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at City College-City University of New York and the author of three books and several articles on African cinema. These books include West African Screen Media: Comedy, TV Series, and Transnationalization (Michigan State University Press, 2019), African Film Studies: An Introduction (Routledge, 2018) and Les Cinémas Francophones ouest Africains, 1990-2005 (Harmattan, 2013). His research and teaching interests center on African cinema and African American cinema. As a specialist in African cinema, he has served as jury member in several film festivals in the US, Canada, Europe and Africa. Dr Sawadogo is the director of a documentary film Salut Y’all: African Teachers on the Bayou (2013) and a web-series, Aventure africaine à New York (2016-2018). He is the founding director of the Harlem African Animation Festival in New York City, the first film festival in the US to be exclusively devoted to African animated films and series.

 

Further viewing

Darratt (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun | 2006), Tey (Alain Gomis | 2012), Atlantics (Mati Diop | 2019), Mirror Boy (Obi Emelonye | 2011 | The Gambia/UK/Nigeria), Frontières/Borders (Apolline Traore | 2017), 76’ (Izu Ojukwu | 2016), Le Damier (Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda | 1996), 10,000 Years of Cinema (Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda | 1993), Juju Factory (Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda).

Contemporary expressions of ‘African cinema’ showcase a diversity of trends, aesthetic preferences, and audience experiences. This symposium will delve into films being produced at this historical moment, reflecting on how the aspirations of the ‘pioneers of African cinema’ are being contested, reinforced, or realized. The discussants analyze and compare the films’ aesthetic approaches, storytelling techniques, and a diverse range of contemporary concerns for filmmakers.

Contemporary expressions of ‘African cinema’ showcase a diversity of trends, aesthetic preferences, and audience experiences. This symposium will delve into films being produced at this historical moment, reflecting on how the aspirations of the ‘pioneers of African cinema’ are being contested, reinforced, or realized. The discussants analyze and compare the films’ aesthetic approaches, storytelling techniques, and a diverse range of contemporary concerns for filmmakers.

The symposium ‘Continuity and Change’ will consider the ways in which the archetypes and expressions of the past remain relevant to the historical continuum of African cinema, and will address questions like, ‘what is emerging as “new” around the idea of the ‘decolonizing principle’?’.

In focusing on the reframing of contemporary debates, with aim of opening the conversation to allow for new perspectives, the discussion will also highlight issues of national and Pan-African cinema, the significance of the prevailing media economy including Netflix, ‘donor films’, ‘auteur cinema’, Nollywood, the established institutional sources of production finance and support, ‘new technology’ and its potential and challenge for contemporary African film production and cinema.

The films will be made available for free streaming via the Africa Institute website between 17 – 19 November. And on November 19, 2021 at 6 pm (Gulf Standard Time), Dr. Samantha Iwowo will moderate a discussion between filmmaker Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda and Dr. Boukary Sawadogo, in which they will be exploring the theme of continuity and change.

 

Films

Hyenas

One of the treasures of African cinema, Senegalese master Djibril Diop Mambéty’s long-delayed follow-up to his canonical Touki Bouki is a hallucinatory comic adaptation of Swiss avant-garde writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s play The Visit, which in Mambéty’s imagining follows a now-rich woman returning to her poor desert hometown to propose a deal to the populace: her fortune, in exchange for the death of the man who years earlier abandoned her and left her with his child. Per its title, Hyenas is a film of sinister, mocking laughter, and a biting satire of a contemporary Senegal whose post-colonial dreams are faced with erosion by western materialism.

Director: Djibril Diop Mambéty | 110 mins | 1992

Arugba

The story of a king who brays against corruption while rigorously prosecuting economic reform and handily welcoming foreign investors.

Director: Tunde Kelani | 95 mins | 2008

 

Moderator

Samantha Iwowo

Samantha Iwowo is a screenwriter, director and researcher, who commenced her career as a commissioned screenwriter with South Africa’s largest cable network, M-Net. Iwowo is also a senior lecturer in Directing Drama for Film and Television at Bournemouth University, UK. Iwowo wrote several episodes of the daily drama series, Tinsel (2008 – present), from 2013 to 2014. She has also written fifty published screenplays. These include the internationally celebrated feature Oloibiri (2016), made in collaboration with director, Curtis Graham, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. Her forthcoming screenplay, The Tyrant, is a biography based on Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, commissioned by Theatron Media Inc. (Canada) and starring British-Nigerian actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim. Iwowo has also directed four other films. Her works often focus on themes of post-colonialism and transnational cinema.

 

Discussants

Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda

Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda is an award-winning writer, producer and director from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Bakupa-Kanyinda is currently working on a feature film based on his hero, Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the Congo who was brutally assassinated in January 1961.

Bakupa-Kanyinda studied sociology, history and philosophy in Brussels, Belgium, and took filmmaking courses in France, the UK and the US. In 1991 he made his first documentary, Dix mille ans de cinéma, and in 1993 released a second documentary about Thomas Sankara. His first fiction film was Le Damier: Papa National Oyé! (The Draughtsmen Clash) made in 1996. He was a member of the board of short films at CNC in France from 1999 to 2001, and was a member of the Input 2000 (International Public Television) in Cape Town, South Africa and a member of CreaTV–UNESCO’s program for televisions in the South–between 2000 and 2003. Bakupa-Kanyinda is a founding member of the Guild of African film makers and producers, and the creator of the Thomas Sankara Prize, which awards a short film from the official selection of Fespaco. Currently, the government of Congo has charged Bakupa-Kanyinda with the organization of the repatriation of the remains of Patrice Lumumba, held in Belgium since his assassination in 1961, and who will finally be buried in his country in January 2022. His company, Bakupa Kanyinda et Associés (BK&A), based in Kinshasa, develops film and documentary projects on the history of Congo and contemporary Africa.

Boukary Sawadogo

Boukary Sawadogo is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at City College-City University of New York and the author of three books and several articles on African cinema. These books include West African Screen Media: Comedy, TV Series, and Transnationalization (Michigan State University Press, 2019), African Film Studies: An Introduction (Routledge, 2018) and Les Cinémas Francophones ouest Africains, 1990-2005 (Harmattan, 2013). His research and teaching interests center on African cinema and African American cinema. As a specialist in African cinema, he has served as jury member in several film festivals in the US, Canada, Europe and Africa. Dr Sawadogo is the director of a documentary film Salut Y’all: African Teachers on the Bayou (2013) and a web-series, Aventure africaine à New York (2016-2018). He is the founding director of the Harlem African Animation Festival in New York City, the first film festival in the US to be exclusively devoted to African animated films and series.

 

Further viewing

Darratt (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun | 2006), Tey (Alain Gomis | 2012), Atlantics (Mati Diop | 2019), Mirror Boy (Obi Emelonye | 2011 | The Gambia/UK/Nigeria), Frontières/Borders (Apolline Traore | 2017), 76’ (Izu Ojukwu | 2016), Le Damier (Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda | 1996), 10,000 Years of Cinema (Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda | 1993), Juju Factory (Balufu Bakupa Kanyinda).

TALK

STAY IN TOUCH

Subscribe to our mailing list and get the latest news from The Africa Institute

    FOLLOW US