Film materials from Africa and its diaspora provide an essential transmission of history, culture, art, and community. Film is a crucial tool for cultural preservation; for perpetuating the narratives that tie the fabric of diasporic communities together. Film is a fragile technology of time travel. In an increasingly complex world of technological innovation and mediated messaging, the preservation of film rises to a position of paramount importance to African cultural preservation.
Through this collaborative interdisciplinary research project, we are collecting and archiving African film materials that have been produced or directed by women filmmakers in the 20th and 21st centuries. The larger purpose of our project to is articulate an intervention which redefines the masculine narrative that characterizes African film history. We aim to represent the African film industry for what it truly is: a multi-dimensional, creative body of work produced by women as well. At the same time, this project does not intend to delineate female filmmaking as a foil to its masculine counterpart. Rather, the work of women in film stands as a collection entirely of its own.
The voices of women filmmakers from Africa and its diaspora are at an unprecedented crescendo. This does not mean that this is a new phenomenon, nor that the work around archiving these pieces is just beginning. This is a growing movement whose history must be housed and cherished by a collaborative, world-wide team of guardians. In this way, the future of these critical voices will continue to rise.