SCREENING & IN CONVERSATION | JOHN AKOMFRAH

The Stuart Hall Project: Excerpts
Moderated by Ruti Talmor
Friday, September 20, 4:30 – 6:00 pm
George C.S. Benson Auditorium, Pitzer College

John Akomfrah. Still from The Stuart Hall Project, 2013. Produced by Smoking Dogs Films. Courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films. John Akomfrah. Still from The Stuart Hall Project, 2013. Produced by Smoking Dogs Films. Courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films.

From award-winning filmmaker John Akomfrah comes a new film, a sensitive, emotionally charged portrait of cultural theorist Stuart Hall. Venerated in academia for his knowledge of subjects as diverse as Miles Davis, Marxist methodology, the European Union, and American hippies, the now 82-year-old Jamaican-born Stuart Hall is regarded as one of the most inspiring voices of the post-war Left. Combining extensive archival imagery with specially filmed material and a Miles Davis soundtrack, Akomfrah’s filmmaking approach matches the agility of Hall’s intellect, its intimate play with memory, identity and scholarly impulse traversing the changing historical landscape of the second half of the 20th century. John Akomfrah will screen excerpts from The Stuart Hall Project (2013). Following the screening, Pitzer College Media Studies professor Ruti Talmor will moderate a conversation with the artist.

For the last 30 years John Akomfrah has been committed to giving a voice and a presence to the legacy of the African Diaspora in Europe; to filling in the voids in history by digging into historical archives to create film essays and speculative fictional stories about past lives. His poetic and polyphonic films create sensual visual and audio experiences while developing a filmic language to understand the trauma and sense of alienation of displaced subjects; one that moves away from the rhetoric of resentment to propose new agents and perspectives. His extensive body of critically acclaimed work is among the most distinctive in the contemporary British art world. An artist, lecturer, and writer as well as a filmmaker, Akomfrah is well known for his work with the London-based media workshop Black Audio Film Collective, which he co-founded in 1982. Since 1998, Akomfrah has worked primarily within the independent film and television production companies Smoking Dogs Films (London) and Creation Rebel Films (Accra). Alongside Akomfrah’s successful career in cinema and television, his work has been shown widely in major international museums, galleries, and film festivals. In 2008, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and in March 2012 he was awarded the European Cultural Foundation’s Princess Margriet Award.

Written and directed by John Akomfrah, 2013, 103 min.  A Smoking Dogs Films production.  This event is funded by the Endowed Fund for Media Studies.