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Michael T. Martin
IU Black Film Center/Archive

Marissa Moorman
IU Department of History

Eileen Julien
IU Department of Comparative Literature

George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010

IU Black Film Center to host week of events involving African and Caribbean filmmakers and scholars

Film lovers invited to screenings of more than a dozen Francophone films, March 1-5

Feb. 25, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University Bloomington will welcome four acclaimed film directors for a week of free screenings and engagement with students, faculty and the community, starting Monday (March 1).

Most events for "From the Post Colonial to the Global Postmodern? African and Caribbean Francophone Filmmakers and Scholars in Conversation" will take place March 1-5 at the center's new home in suite 044B of the Wells Library, 1320 E. Tenth St.

Filmmakers Gaston Kaboré, from Burkina Faso, Euzhan Palcy, from Martinique, Joseph Gaï Ramaka, from Senegal, and Jean-Marie Teno, from Cameroon, will screen and discuss their films in workshops throughout the week. Several of their films are being shown in Indiana for the first time.

All of the screenings, which will be from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. most days, are free and open to the public. A complete schedule is available at paid parking garages are located nearby.

The final event, a forum with all of the filmmakers and four film scholars, will take place at 3 p.m., March 5, in room A201 of the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave. Joining the directors are film scholars Francoise Pfaff of Howard University, Kenneth Harrow of Michigan State University, and Akin Adesokan of IU.

The week-long conversation about Francophone film will focus on a series of questions:

  • How useful are the concepts postmodernism, globalization and postcoloniality to African filmmaking practices and diasporic experiences?
  • Is the political engagement so fundamental to early African cinema still manifest today?
  • Should we view cinematic practice and cinema cultures with a wider lens -- one that includes other forms of cultural production and consumption?
  • How do theory and practice in African cinema intersect today?

"The forum will help establish our presence since relocation to a new site, and it was out of personal connections with some of the filmmakers that we thought we could organize something that highlights the global scope of our collections," said Michael T. Martin, director of the Black Film Center/Archive and a professor of African American and African Diaspora studies.

Marissa Moorman, IU assistant professor of history, added, "We decided that we wanted to put these filmmakers in conversation with film scholars to explore the terms that scholars often use -- such as globalization, postcoloniality and postmodernism -- to try and see if these filmmakers find these ideas useful or relevant to what they're doing, whether they shape the films that they're making and the world they're living in."

Eileen Julien, professor and chair of the IU Department of Comparative Literature, said she hopes that film lovers from beyond the Bloomington campus and across Indiana will come for the week's events. "There are films morning, afternoon and evening on most days, and we hope that anyone who has an interest will find time to come and see some wonderful films for free and to meet the filmmakers," she said.

More about the directors:

Kaboré directed the Centre National du Cinéma in Burkina Faso and taught at the Institut African d'Education Cinématographique before making his film, Je Reviens De Bokin (I Come From Bokin). His first feature, Wend Kuuni (1982) was the second feature film produced in Burkina Faso and has been described as a breakthrough for the way it translated African oral tradition to the screen. His subsequent work has received numerous international awards, including a French César award and the grand prize at the 15th Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) for his 1997 film Buud Yam.

Martinican filmmaker Palcy is best known for her internationally acclaimed 1983 drama Rue cases nègres (Sugar Cane Alley). The praise for this film led her to Hollywood where she became the first black woman to direct a film for a major studio. The film, A Dry White Season was based on the novel by South African Andre Brink. Palcy's many awards include the Venice Film Festival's Silver Lion Award for Best First Work (1983), the César Award for Best New Director of a Feature Film (1984), the U.S.-based Political Film Society Award for A Dry White Season (1990), and the Silver Raven Award for Siméon at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film (1993).

Senegalese director Ramaka's short film Ainsi soit-il (So Be It) won the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 1997. His first feature film, Karmen Geï (2001), an adaptation of the Georges Bizet opera Carmen, set in contemporary Senegal, has been screened at Cannes, Sundance and the Los Angeles Film Festival where it won the Best Feature Award. His recent documentary, Et si Latif avait raison? (What if Latif Were Right?), on the culture of autocracy under current Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, was awarded Best Documentary Film at the Festival Vues D'Afriques (Montreal) in 2006.

Cameroonian Teno has lived in France since 1977 and in 1985 began working as a television editor and as a film critic for Buana Magazine. His second short film, Hommage (1987), won him the short-film award of the Festival Vues dAfriques in Montréal. His first full-length feature film, Clando, was nominated in the same year for the category "best film" at the International French-language Film Festival in Namur, Belgium. His documentaries Afrique, je te plumerai (Africa, I'll Fleece You) and Le Malentendu Colonial (The Colonial Misunderstanding) are widely taught in African Studies classrooms.

The project is supported by the IU African Studies Program, Black Film Center/Archive, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College Arts and Humanities Institute, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, the IU departments of Comparative Literature and Communication and Culture, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and the Sound and Video Analysis and Instruction Laboratory in the IU Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology.

More information about the Black Film Center/Archive is available at