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Transnational Frontline Cinema in Southern Africa 1977-2001 - a buried history

4:00pm - 5:30pm / Tuesday 13th April 2021 / Online event
Type: Seminar / Category: Research
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Simon Bright, University of the West of England, Bristol, with
Keyan G Tomaselli, University of Johannesburg (discussant)

This presentation raises questions about how cultural histories are written, and how transcultural collaborations and aesthetic exchanges between the Frontline States need to be considered alongside national studies of Southern African cinema history. Transnational organisation within the Frontline states played a very significant role in the resistance to apartheid. Not only liberation movements and soldiers, but also cultural workers, including filmmakers, were at the heart of that struggle. With the growth of populist nationalism and violent xenophobia within Southern Africa, memories of transnational collaborations during the fight against apartheid seem to be disappearing from the histories.
This presentation will use clips from the transnational work of Simon Bright’s Zimbabwean film company in the 1980s, to demonstrate the emergence of a distinctive frontline cinematic tradition, which is now in danger of being forgotten.
We have invited filmmakers and writers from Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to contribute to the discussion.

Simon Bright is carrying out doctoral work on the untold history of the creative collaboration between filmmakers in Southern Africa from 1982. His work reflects on the growth and the role of film festivals in stimulating film production and distribution. He is a member of FEPACI the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers, was one of the founders of the First Frontline Film Festival, and produced the first Southern African co-production to be selected for the Cannes Film Festival.

Keyan G Tomaselli is Distinguished Professor at the University of Johannesburg and emeritus professor at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, where he established and was Director of UKZN's Centre for Communications, Media & Society 1985-2013. He is author of The Cinema of Apartheid (1988) and Encountering Modernity: 20th Century South African Cinemas (2007), edits Critical Arts and is co-editor and founder of Journal of African Cinemas.