*CALL FOR PAPERS* Documenting Africa: Creating Fact or Fiction through the Lens.

*CALL FOR PAPERS* Documenting Africa: Creating Fact or Fiction through the Lens.

Film Africa is proud to partner with the University of Westminster’s Africa Media Centre to support the 6th annual African Film Conference.

This year’s conference will discuss contemporary issues around how Africans portray themselves and how they are portrayed by others. Pedro Pimenta, one of the most notable figures in the Southern African film scene, will be delivering the keynote speech.


Pedro has become one of the major players in film co-production in Southern Africa. He started his film career with the National Film Institute of Mozambique in 1977, and co-founded EBANO Multimedia, the first independent production company in Mozambique, which established itself as a significant entity in audio-visual production in the region.

Since then, he has produced, co-produced and line produced numerous shorts, documentaries and feature films in Mozambique as well as in Angola, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and South Africa. Amongst them are “Marracuene, two banks of a river”, “The tree of our forefathers”, “Fools”, Africa Dreaming”, “A Tempestade da Terra”, “Zulu Love Letter”, “Teza”, “Memories of Dreams”, “Island of the Spirits” and “Virgin Margarida”. Between 1997 and 2003, Pedro was the Chief Technical Adviser of the UNESCO-Zimbabwe Film & Video Training Project for Southern Africa in Harare. Pedro also consulted with the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) on the program dealing with African Film Archives and has served as a jury member on various international film festivals.


The 6th African Film Conference organised by the Africa Media Centre will bring together academic scholars and practitioners from around the world to discuss contemporary issues around how Africans portray themselves and
how they are portrayed by others. With an explosion of new media and a further diversification of television landscapes over the last ten years, alongside a revival of documentary productions, this conference will critically engage with the realities of documentary filmmaking in and about Africa.

How has a form that is often criticized as a ‘Western version’ of re-creating reality evolved across the African continent? What are the problems and concerns of practitioners? Is the documentary form a useful and adequate format for educating the public? What are the specific themes and subject matters of African documentary? What roles have the digitisation of film and television archives played in the self-understanding of the African countries whose memories and visual histories have been frequently stored abroad? How does an up and coming generation deal with new possibilities in film and video making?


Papers may focus on, among other topics, the following:

Documentary, docu-drama and narratives based on fact. Which is more honest?

The role of funders in telling the story, i.e. NGOs, Governments or Religious organisations

Community group ‘ground up’ Documentary making

Experimental/Art documentaries from Africa

Heritage and the Arts in documentaries (Music, Art and Performance)

The role of memory and personal histories in Documentary

Aestheticising or manipulating suffering. Can the Filmmaker ever be a neutral presence when filming images of violence and suffering?

Censorship and restrictions

Exhibition and Distribution. Film Festivals, the Internet, Education, Television and DVD


Transnational productions and global media corporations

Ethnographic films and Colonial legacies

Film and television archives


The deadline for submission of abstracts is Thursday 31 July, 2014. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 15 August, 2014. Abstracts should not be more than 300 words long. They must include the title of the conference, presenter’s name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the title of the paper. Please ensure when saving your abstract that your name is part of the file name and it is a word document. Please email your abstract to Helen Cohen, Events Administrator at: journalism@westminster.ac.uk


This two day conference will take place on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 November 2014. The fee for registration (which applies to all participants, including presenters) will be £150, with a concessionary rate of £75 for students, to cover all conference documentation, refreshments, lunches and administration costs. Registration will open in September 2014.