African Filmmakers / American Filmmakers Panel 1996 | Arthur Jafa & Ayoka Chenzira

August 28, 2020 · Talk


In this 1996 panel titled, "African Filmmakers / American Filmmakers," which took place at the The Museum for African Art (now The Africa Center) during the 3rd New York African Film Festival, African and African-American filmmakers convened to speak about aspirations and challenges in African and diaspora filmmaking at the time. Panelists included Sidiki Bakaba, Larry Banks, Grace Blake, Ayoka Chenzira, Issa Serge Coelo, Kramo-Lanciné Fadika and Arthur Jafa.

In this segment, Arthur Jafa speaks at a time when his aesthetic practice is shifting to other artforms – painting, installations - and is increasingly inspired by the innovations and freedoms intrinsic to black art forms like jazz. "AJ," as he is known, voices an artistic manifesto: he no longer wants to pass through the gate keepers of cinema or jump through hoops to embody the African American experience. Ayoka Chenzira brings her prescient and incisive wit to the contradictions between prestige and profitability in the film industry, while managing to deliver a lesson for artists in the freedoms offered by creative play, experimentation and technology’s reproducibility.