“You learn something new every time you situate a piece of past knowledge in a new context.” (Professor Stuart Hall at the ICA screening of The Stuart Hall Project, 2013)
“To see this archive in an exhibition context, for me, is to bring forth a whole range of intimate experiences that are mixed with global significance”. June Givanni
The exhibition provides a panorama of geographically dispersed African voices, works and ideas, drawing on historical ideas such as Pan-Africanism and Négritude from wider liberation and post-colonial movements that have been central to Pan-African Cinema.
It is around such ‘movements’ where challenges to established conventional film practices were developed, such as ‘Third Cinema’ with its strong Latin American roots. The Argentinian filmmakers Fernando Solanas and Fernando Birri, amongst others articulated a global anti-colonial positioning that resonated around the world. London’s Third Eye Film Festival and Conference was based on these ideas. This was also evident in the Havana Film Festival in the 1980s, which featured the presence of African filmmakers: and in Thomas Sankara’s vision for the FESPACO Film Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Black-British film workshop collectives (Black Audio Film Collective, Ceddo, Retake and Sankofa Film and Video) were a significant development within the UK film scene in the 1980s and 1990s, and are significantly represented in the archive. The workshops were registered under the Film Workshop Declaration and supported by the industry union (which was then the ACTT), the Greater London Council and Channel Four Television. Early workshop films saw the ‘Black experience’ as a political one, expressed in collaboration with other migrant communities, notably from the Indian sub-continent. The filmmakers worked collectively and in an interdisciplinary manner, often sharing resources and even footage. The archive also holds films from an earlier period (Jemima and Johnny, 1966, Lionel Ngakane) and much later works by artists and filmmakers like Euzhan Palcy, a Patron of the archive.