The films of John Akomfrah and Lina Gopaul, founders of the influential Black Audio Film Collective, are the catalyst for an exploration of the overarching theme of “cinematic migrations.”
During visits spanning two academic years, British filmmakers John Akomfrah and Lina Gopaul lead workshops, screenings, lectures and panels on documentary filmmaking, focusing upon one topic per semester: cinema and social activism; cinema in local and global contexts; cinema as art installation; and cinema and technological change. The residency culminates in a symposium in Spring 2014 that integrates the four perspectives on cinema.
The pathbreaking Black Audio Film Collective (BAFC) provided a medium for artists, writers and filmmakers to express their views on the tension and politics in Britain during the period of 1982-1998. Their collaborative and long-standing partnership has won them over thirty-five international awards and over one hundred official film festival selections. The documentaries, feature films, experimental videos and gallery installations produced through the BAFC and later Smoking Dog Films transformed filmmaking, both technically and culturally, exploring the many facets of European migrants and the human experience.
Lina Gopaul, founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective, produced scores of award-winning feature and documentary films through Smoking Dogs Films, and is a pioneer for Black British film within mainstream TV and cinema. Learn more about Lina Gopaul.
Active from 1982 to 1998, the groundbreaking seven-person Black Audio Film Collective (BAFC) won major film awards with their first film Handsworth Songs and went on to produce a distinctive body of work. Learn more about the BAFC.
Join Us At This Public Event
Considering the Stuart Hall Project
A discussion with John Akomfrah and Lina Gopaul
7:00pm | Monday, March 4, 2013
ACT Cube, E15-001
20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA
The Stuart Hall Project (2012) is a film on the cultural theorist and
sociologist Stuart Hall. Directed by John Akomfrah and produced by
Lina Gopaul, the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January
of 2013. Through archival footage, television excerpts, family
photographs, and music, Akomfrah’s portrayal of Hall’s life, work, and
cultural impact explores issues of identity, cultural acceptance,
immigration, and assimilation. In their lecture, the filmmakerswill
reflect on the film’s cultural and technological context.
John Akomfrah, OBE, and Lina Gopaul co-founded the seminal film and
video group Black Audio Film Collective and the more recent production
company Smoking Dogs Films. Their collaborative and long-standing
partnership has won them over thirty-five international awards and
over one hundred official film festival selections. Exploring the
fertile grounds of film, television, and newtechnologies, their work
challenges and redefines traditional modes of documentary filmmaking.
This event is a part of Cinematic Migrations, a two-year collaborative research project co-presented by the MIT Visiting Artist Program and initiated by Renée Green (Free Agent Media), the MIT Program in Art Culture and Technology, Comparative Media Studies and the Open Documentary Lab.
Work by John Akomfrah and Lina Gopaul
Handsworth Songs (1986), an essayistic documentary film, explores the history of the contemporary British black experience through the riots and racial disturbances that broke out in 1985 Britain. As the first major film of the Black Audio Film Collective, the film altered documentary filmmaking, combining actual footage of street fighting, archival material, personal confessions and poetic voice-overs to portray a profound moment in the struggle for social justice. This film is on view through March 3, 2013 in the exhibition This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s at the ICA Boston.
The Nine Muses
Structured as an allegorical fable and loosely inspired by existential science fiction, The Nine Muses is a stylised, unusual and idiosyncratic retelling of the history of mass migration to post-war Britain through the suggestive lens of Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey. Divided into nine overlapping musical chapters and mixing a vast array of archival material, The Nine Muses is a modern recasting of Homer’s epic as a tone poem about journeys, migration, memory and the power of elegy. The Nine Muses is a feast for the eyes and the ears, a virtuoso exercise in montage and sound.