A selection of films by the acclaimed British director John Akomfrah will screen at the 2013 trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff), which runs from 17 September to 01 October.
Known as one of the founders of black British cinema, Akomfrah, who will attend the ttff/13, has made dozens of films in a career stretching back almost 30 years. He has earned scores of international film awards and prizes and other honours, including an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. He is also a governor of the British Film Institute.
Of Ghanaian heritage, Akomfrah was a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective in 1982. He produced a broad range of work within this critically lauded group, including his provocative feature debut, Handsworth Songs (1986), a documentary about race riots in Britain.
Lyrical, poetic and essayistic, Akomfrah’s films have always traversed the worlds of cinema and television, the art gallery and the film festival, community centres and cultural institutions, conferences, symposiums and academic institutions. All the while, he has maintained a concern for documenting and interrogating the Afro-Caribbean and the African experiences in the UK.
Akomfrah’s documentary The Nine Muses (2010), which used Homer’s Odyssey as a framing device to explore Caribbean and African migration to post-war Britain, was screened at the ttff/11. His film The Stuart Hall Project (2013)—a portrait of the seminal left-wing Jamaican-British intellectual, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival—will screen at the ttff/13 as part of the Festival’s tribute to him.
Four other films will screen as part of the tribute: Handsworth Songs; Who Needs a Heart (1991, a fictionalised history of the Black Power movement in Britain); The Last Angel of History (1996, an exploration of the pop-culture phenomenon known as Afrofuturism); and Peripeteia (2012, a haunting work of dialogue-free fiction inspired by portraits of black figures by the sixteenth-century German artist Albrecht Dürer).
“John Akomfrah has made a significant, original and influential contribution to cinema, providing a much-needed channel for black British voices,” said ttff editorial director Jonathan Ali. “We are proud to be hosting this tribute to him, and honoured that he will be a guest of the ttff/13.”
In addition to Akomfrah’s films playing throughout the Festival’s programme, there will be a day dedicated to him at the University of the West Indies (30 September), on which all his films in the ttff/13 programme will be shown and he will engage in a conversation about his work.
Image: A still from Peripeteia