African Perspectives - Contemporary African Cinema in Windhoek
In 2007 AfricAvenir Windhoek initiated "African Perspectives", a monthly African filmseries in Windhoek in cooperation with various cultural institutions, such as Studio 77, Goethe Centre Windhoek, Katutura Community and Arts Centre. Since then, more then 150 African films have been screened. The series provides a platform for critical African perspectives on social, cultural and historical issues, which we deem relevant for the Namibian society. As such, it attracts more and more attention from the media and the public in- and outside Namibia. Since July 2012 the films are regularly being screened at the Goethe-Centre and at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC).
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Background to African Perspectives
In 2007 AfricAvenir Windhoek initiated "African Perspectives", a monthly African filmseries in Windhoek, which has by now screened more than 150 films and attracts more and more attention from the public.
Being committed to the goals of an African Renaissance, "African Perspectives" is a corner stone of AfricAvenir's work in Namibia, since filmmakers are today's story tellers (griots), giving us access to unknown or forgotten African history, cultures, customs, languages, needs, and stories told by the ancestors.
AfricAvenir’s screenings in Namibia provide platforms for critical African perspectives on issues of social sciences, culture, daily life, history, memory, consciousness, morality, attitude and creativity, relevant for the Namibian society. A challenge one faces is to avoid being overwhelmed by the powerful cultural imperialism that seeks to penetrate African societies through films, TV, the internet and other mass media.
A response to this challenge is to support and to cultivate African value systems through the sharing of literature, films, the products of creative art, that portray Africa more “authentically” and different from the dominant eurocentristic cultures conveyed by today's mass media.
By screening African films, we enhance cultural exchange, develop storytelling skills and encourage Namibians to tell their own stories, create discussions on arts-/cultural related topics in Namibia, and herewith we actively support audience development, educational activities, and cultural exchange within the African continent.
In the specific Namibian context, one also has to realize, that by buying foreign films and not having ones own products to sell nationally and internationally the national economy looses revenues. In addition foreign films have a negative impact on the Namibian society, since they continue to cause an effect, which can best be described as cultural alienation and social disorientation.
Hence, the aim of “African Perspectives” is to counteract the dwindling socio-political examination of Africa and its increasing ahistorical and apolitical perception, and to provide new inputs for the work of civil society groups, arts- and educational bodies, non-governmental organisations, cultural associations, cultural centres and foundations in Windhoek. More specifically, “African Perspectives” wants to overcome the marginalization of the audience and to contribute creating an audience and screening culture of cinema from Africa.
If this was not motivation enough, we also just want to showcase and celebrate great cinema originating from Africa and share this cultural product with Namibian audiences.
All in all, by doing so, we want to support a vibrant and sustainable film industry in Namibia that can tell a Namibian and an African story in the right perspective.
Furthermore we want to support the cultural exchange between African societies. Since we are screening cinematic products from all over Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, so to say, we envision, that this will contribute to the cultural exchange between Namibia and other African countries. Through the medium of film, the filmmakers tell their local stories and depict their environment and beliefs. Hence, the Namibian audience learns about different African cultures, customs, languages etc.