Launch of the Journal of African Cinemas

Launch of the Journal of African Cinemas

‘African people should not see themselves ... in the sensationalist pictures shot for the consumption of outsiders’ – Obed Nkunzimana, Journal of African Cinemas

Intellect are delighted to announce the launch of the Journal of African Cinemas at the African Film in the Digital Era Conference, on Sunday 29 November at the University of Westminster.

The inaugural issue of the Journal of African Cinemas explores African film from an African and international perspective. The articles examine cinemas in countries including Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Rwanda and Congo, exploring a range of genres and media including videos, documentaries and musicals.

 Articles focus on African-made films for African audiences, while also examining the colonial legacy of sensationalist representations of Africa and Africans made by western directors for western consumption (still a feature of many western-made films about Africa). In his article, ‘Beyond colonial stereotypes: reflections on postcolonial cinema in the African Great Lakes region’, Obed Nkunzimana refers to the number of films made about the Rwandan genocide, observing that ‘never before had Rwanda’s five-century-long history attracted so much attention from European and North American film-makers’. Nkunzimana argues that ‘the problem is that some western funding agencies, which remain the major and often only African cinema sponsors, still impose topics which are to be treated in the films they financially support’. Nkunzimana expounds the need for political, financial and echnical support for African cinemas which is not dependent on western tastes for sensationalist cinema, and the usual depictions of misery, poverty and violence, but rather on providing support for films which show characters and situations African audiences can identify with.

This first issue also shows that specific genres are not limited to particular themes. Genres like popular video or musicals, which are usually associated with entertainment, may serve political purposes such as combating corruption or exposing gender inequality. Other articles address the difficulties of distribution and reception of films in Africa, given lack of funding, the vast number of languages in Africa and the difficulties of subtitling in areas with low
literacy rates as well as the scarcity of movie theatres.

Explore the first issue FREE online on: