Tuesday, April 12, 2011

FIAF Symposium: Indigenous Film Collections in Africa and the World (Day 2)

The second day of the 67th FIAF Congress in Pretoria continued in an inspired atmosphere. 

Restitution / Repatriation / History and the future for Indigenous collections

Session 4
Repatriation. Colonial perspectives, Practicalities and the return of control over indigenous filmed records
Chair: Mr. Éric Le Roy, AFF /CNC, Paris-Bois d'Arcy
1. Mr. Paolo Cherchi Usai, Haghefilm Foundation, Amsterdam
“Concept Theory and Practicalities of Repatriation” - Deeper into matters of repatriation, analyzing its meanings, tracking down its history in the arts and in the FIAF tradition, paying attention to film's character as a reproducible object, and the conditions of repatriation.
2. Mr. Dennis Maake, National Film Video and Sound Archives, Pretoria
“Repatriation of filmed collections held elsewhere: projects done and future projects” - Aspects of approaching objects of indigenous culture taken away from its original possessors such as information, visiting, consultation, formal requests, repatriation, and access.
Also present on the panel: Ms. Seipati Bulane-Hopa, Federation of Pan African Filmmakers, Ouagadougou
- José Manuel Costa introduced the concept of common heritage. - Seipati Bulane-Hopa emphasized the aspect of spirituality. - Karl Griep discussed the problem of the right to one's own image, and questioned the concept of the nation, as African borders are based on colonial borders.

Session 5
Indigenous collections today to outline the challenges in Africa – film versus digital, etc.
Chair: Ms. Melisia Shinners, National Film Video and Sound Archives, Pretoria
1. Mr. Karl Griep, Bundesararchiv - Filmarchiv, Berlin
“Challenges in Africa: Surveys and ideas for the future” - Projects realized in Cameroon, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ghana.
2. Ms. Eva Orbanz, Berlin
“Africa Holdings / Collections around the world” - A survey on African film holdings in FIAF archives.
3. Prof. Herbert Vilakazi, Representative of South Africa, Pretoria
“Indigenous Cultures, Film, and Problems of the 21st Century” - The spiritual crisis of the Western world and the destruction of the traditional rural communities.
4. Mr. Clarence Hamilton
“Indigenous Film Funding” - In South Africa, of 147 films 8 were directed by black artists and 3 by women. Who's telling our story?
Discussion: Mandy Gilder brought up the concept of Nollywood, films produced on minimal budgets.

Session 6
Access to Indigenous collections. How do archives deal with traditional rights / sensitive material / commercial / academic demand for such footage etc.
Chair: Mr. Patrick Loughney, Library of Congress, Washington-Culpeper
1. Professor John Botha, North West University, Potchefstroom (SA) - Case study of the film A Reasonable Man (ZA/FR 1999) - introducing the concept of the Tokoloshe (the evil spirit).
2. Mr. Adrian Wood, Independent Film Researcher and Archival Expert, Beds (UK) - Presenting a documentary film about India's independence struggle with devastating footage of the carnage of the mass emigration between India and Pakistan. The moral responsibility of the film-maker. - Adrian's suggestion: share resources in Africa.
3. Ms. Meg Labrum, NFSA, Canberra. - Culturally restricted materials in Australia: the indigenous collections branch includes 20.000 - 30.000 films. They include irreplaceable, hidden, and forbidden films. There are special restrictions, and community relations are cultivated with formal agreements with several communities.
4. Mr. Devin Herd and Mr. Greg Matthew, Doxa Productions – Visual History Explorer (VHX), Cape Town - The liberation struggle of South Africa produced as an interactive VHX online video.

Session 7
Summary session and discussion about FIAF’s role in supporting indigenous film collections. What is the role of FIAF and audiovisual archives overall in supporting, collecting, preserving and accessing indigenous film collections? Is repatriation a genuine opportunity? How can we support both the principles of archives which have traditionally collected and used this material and the needs and moral rights of Indigenous communities and their associated archives?
Chair: Ms. Mandy Gilder, Acting National Archivist of South Africa, Pretoria
1 Mr. Hisashi Okajima, FIAF President, Tokyo. - Repatriation is a spiritual journey.
2. Professor John Botha, North West University, Potchefstroom (ZA). - Err on the side of caution. Repatriate when people are ready.
3. Ms. Huia Kopua, New Zealand Film Archives, Wellington - Don't be too judgemental with colonial films, they may be precious for the people although they may be embarrassing for the film-makers today.
4. Mr. Jon-Arild Olsen, National Library of Norway, Oslo. - The Sami collection can be more easily accessible via digitization, and Sami films can be prioritized in digitization.
5. Mr. Paolo Cherchi Usai, Haghefilm Foundation, Amsterdam. - Cinema is a colonial form. We cannot change history.
6. Ms. Silja Sombay, Sami Film Center, Oslo. - "The modern family consists of mother, father, and a French anthropologist".
7. Mr. Karl Griep, Bundesarchiv, Berlin. - The Chile archives were kept in Berlin during Pinochet and repatriated to Santiago. Palestinian collections are deposited in Berlin since preservation in Palestine is impossible today.

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