Africa in Motion

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Africa's Lost Classics

In 2017 Africa in Motion collaborates with Glasgow University on an AHRC-funded year-long project entitled Africa's Lost Classics. We aim to bring back to UK screens some of the greatest African films that have been neglected or forgotten, or that have simply been lost to the archives. This project follows on from a previous AHRC-project which brought African film classics to AiM in 2006; a special issue of the journal Screen that focused on some of the most legendary films; and the edited book collection by Dr. Lizelle Bisschoff and Prof. David Murphy on Africa's Lost Classics, published by Legenda.

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Our definition of what constitutes a ‘lost classic’ is consciously open-ended: although it generally refers to works that have fallen into undeserved obscurity, it encompasses works by both ‘major’ and ‘minor’ directors, films that are not (or were not until very recently) commercially available on VHS/DVD, others that are now rarely screened in cinemas or film festivals, or that are generally neglected in African film scholarship for ideological, aesthetic or reasons of accessibility. 

The project consists of three main elements:

  • Film screenings of a selection of classic films, around the UK at the five African film festivals (Africa in Motion in Scotland, Film Africa in London, Africa Eye in Bristol, CAFF in Cambridge and Watch Africa in Wales), in cinemas and in other appropriate venues
  • An exhibition in Glasgow entitled "African Art: Looking Back Through the Lens": an exhibition inspired by the idea of lost histories, spaces and times, including 15 central films accompanied with posters, contextual information and film clips
  • Workshops with experts and practical experiences, on Britain's history of race relations; on the independence movements throughout the African continent; and on African animation

If you would like to find out more about the project and its people, please contact project coordinator Dr. Stefanie Van de Peer.


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