Self made filmmaker Berni Goldblat directs, edits, produces and distributes films since 1999 in West Africa. In 2000 he created CINOMADE (www.cinomade.org), an organization based in Burkina Faso, which specializes in intervention cinema through awareness films and debates.
In 2006 Berni established the independent film production company LES FILMS DU DJABADJAH also based in Burkina Faso. After MOKILI, his first fiction feature film, he released a feature documentary The hillside crowd, selected at 50 International Film Festivals, winning 5 awards in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and USA. Berni is currently working on an animation film co-directed with Gilles Palenfo.
A member of the prestigious AMAA Jury since 2007, Berni was in 2011 appointed a member of the jury of the International Francophone Film Festival of Namur (FIFF Namur) in Belgium.
A journalist, author and a newspaper administrator, Steve Ayorinde is one of Nigeria's best known film and art critics. He has served on the Jury of International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) at major film festivals like Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Stocholm, Cairo and Mumbai International Film Festival and is a foundation juror of AMAA since 2005. He's the country representative and contributor to the influential International Film Guide (IFG).
A multiple award-winning journalist/editor, Steve is the author of Masterpieces: A Critic's Timeless Report (Spectrum Books, 2008) and Abokede: A Cultural Biography (ArtPillar Books, 2011). Steve who reckons that film appreciation is in his DNA is the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of National Mirror newspapers.
JOHN AKOMFRAH, O.B.E
A Super 8 maker and enthusiast in his teenage years, Akomfrah became an avid fan of the art-house cinemas of post-war Europe, India and Japan during the late 1970s. In the early 1980s Akomfrah began to explore the militant cinemas of African and Latin America and from the mid eighties influences of these multiple cinematic strands begun to appear in his work. Lyrical, poetic and essayistic, his work has always traversed the worlds of fiction and non-fiction, cinema and television, the art gallery and the film festival, the community centres and the cultural institutions, conferences, symposiums and academic institutions.
With a body of work, which is considered among the most distinctive, innovative and exciting to be produced in Britain over the last 25 years John Akomfrah’s documentaries; feature films and gallery installations have won him prizes and critical acclaim across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. Known principally as one of the founders of Black British Cinema - and latterly as a trailblazer for British digital cinematography. John’s projects have received over thirty-five international film awards as well as a string of Honours and Life Time Achievement Awards.
In 1982 Akomfrah was a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective, the seminal British filmmaking collective and produced a broad range of work within this critically acclaimed group. His work has been theatrically exhibited and screened on multi platforms around the world. It was his 1986 film essay documentary, Handsworth Songs – a film that explored the riots and racial disturbances that had broken out in inner city areas in United Kingdom in Liverpool, Tottenham and Brixton, in 1985 that brought Akomfrah to international prominence. The film won seven international prizes, including the prestigious John Grierson Award For Documentary (UK) in 1987.
John has since directed twenty-five critically acclaimed and award winning creative documentary films, four feature films and several short films. These productions have been presented at over one hundred official film festival selections, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Sundance, Mumbai, Amsterdam, New York, FESPACO, Malian, Sidney, Locarno, Rotterdam, Bombay, Chicago, Edinburgh, Rio, Oberhausen, Images Caribes Film Festival, Telluride, Calcutta, Montréal, San Francisco, Sundance, San Sebastian, Rome, New York, Dubai, Durban and London. His first feature film, Testament (1988), premiered at Cannes Film Festival in the Semaine De La Critique section and was also the film that first took him back to Ghana and the African continent. john has written numerous articles and presented keynote papers to major cultural institutions and public bodies, national cultural forums, national and international conferences and symposiums. He has served on numerous film festival juries including the Accra, Mumbai and Marseille International Documentary Festivals. And he is a member of many documentary festival committees including, The Sheffield International Documentary Festival. John has also sat on a number of panels for a range of film industry organisations and awards juries including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Royal Television Society (RTS) and the British Film Institute (BFI). He was in 2011 Chair of the Jury for the African Movie Academy Awards annually held in Nigeria.
In January 2008 John was awarded an (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year Honour’s List in recognition for his “contribution to the Film Industry “. John is a director of the film and television production companies, Smoking Dogs Films (London) and Creation Rebel Films (Accra). The Nine Muses, John’s latest film has currently enjoyed a successful film festival run opening in Venice, attending London, Sundance, FESPACO and winning Silver Award for documentary at Dubai 2010.
Keith Shiri is an international film curator and writer on African cinema. He is also programme advisor to the London Film Festival and has also served in that position for the Venice Film Festival. He was a member of the World Cinema Fund from 2004 – 2007 and has been an expert advisor for the EU-ACP Films.
He is founder and director of Africa at the Pictures and the London African Film Festival and Visiting Research Fellow for Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) University of Westminster, London.
Shiri has served as a jury on a number of festivals including the Berlin International Film Festival, the Dubai International Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), Tampere Film Festival and many others. He is a trainer for the ESODOC programme that offers workshops in documentary filmmaking.
He is currently on the advisory board of New York’s Focus Features Africa First, a programme that supports and mentors young African filmmakers. His latest publication, 50 Great African Films; Sub Sahara Cinematic History is to published in 2012 by C.Hurst & Co Publishers, London.
June Givanni is an international film curator who ran the African Caribbean Film Unit and edited the Black Film Bulletin at the British Film Institute. She also programmed “Planet Africa” at The Toronto International Film Festival for 4 years. She has worked as a film curator in the Caribbean, the USA, in Africa (AFRIFF) and with festivals in India (International Film Festival of Kerala and Samsung Women’s International Film Festival).
She is an Adviser on Focus Features ‘Africa First’ scheme; and she is currently developing a Pan African Film Archive based on collections from 3 decades of working in the field. She is Editor of the book ‘Symbolic Narratives: Africa Cinema’.
HYGINUS OZOEMEN EKWUAZI, PhD
Nigerian, Enugu state indigene, born in Jos, Plateau State. Married with three children. Attended: the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1975/78; 1980/84); the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA (Links Programme: 1982/84); and Temple University, Phila., USA (1983). Obtained the following qualifications: PhD Theatre Arts (specialization: Film) 1984; MA Theatre Arts (specialization: Media Arts: – Film/TV) 1981; and BA Hons (English) Second Class Upper, 1978.. Appointed Asst Lecturer, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 02 Jan 1984; promoted Lecturer II, 02 Oct 1984; Lecturer I, 08 Oct 1987; and Senior Lecturer, 01 Oct 1991. Appointed Ag Head, Department of Theatre Arts (wef 01 March, 2009).
In 1996, left the University of Ibadan, on national assignment, as (Consulting) Director, to establish the National Film Institute, Jos, Nigeria. Headed the NFI till 1999. from 1999-2004, was the MD/Director General, Nigeria Film Corporation, Jos – a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Information & National Orientation and the parent body of the National film Institute. Following the expiration of tenure and terminal leave, returned to substantive/current position (Senior Lecturer) at Ibadan in 2007. Have supervised over 19 successful MA/PhD dissertations/theses. Currently supervising 5 PhD students. Publications profile comprises: 3 published plays; 1 published novelette adapted from a personally scripted feature film; 1 published novel; 4 published collections of poetry; 12 published books (2 co-authored, 3 edited); 4 chapters in published books; and 20 published journal articles. Have earned 15 major screen credits.
As the pioneer Director, National Film Institute, established the NFI, designed the professional and degree programmes and saw the Institute through the process of affiliation & accreditation. As the MD/Director General, Nigeria Film Corporation: implemented and advised government on film policies; diversified the Corporation’s sources of funding and areas of operation; convened the 2nd National Film festival, etc.
Academic appointments outside the University of Ibadan include: External Examiner, University of Benin; External Examiner, University of Uyo; External Examiner, University of Port Harcourt. External Examiner, University of Lagos; External Examiner, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. Currently, Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Media & Communication, Pan African University, Lagos.
Husseini Shaibu, Performing Artiste, journalist and film critic writes for Nigeria’s flagship newspaper-The Guardian. Reputed to be one of the most consistent documentarist of the Nigerian movie industry dubbed Nollywood, Shaibu, an alumnus of the Berlinale Talent Campus press; the International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) of the United States Department of State; erstwhile National Chairman of the Dance Guild of Nigeria, Pioneer member of the National Dance Company of Nigeria and current Secretary General of the Nigerian section of the Federation of International Film Critics (FIPRESCI) and Federation of African Film Critic (FAFC), is an astute commentator on arts and film development.
Shaibu who has covered several film festivals and have attended several seminars and workshops including sitting on a number of local and international panels on film and allied matters has written extensively on the state of the performance arts and runs columns on film/video industry in several newspapers and journals. The Chair, for four years running now, of the College of Screeners of Africa’s premier film award-the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) and a member of the prestigious AMAA jury, Shaibu is author of Moviedom…the Nollywood Narratives- Clips on the Pioneers.
His other books Moviedom: the story of the new wave African cinema and Nollywood Celebs—a book of interviews are currently in the press.
Mr. Babu is an international legal, cultural and political consultant specializing in African affairs. Mr. Babu is currently the director of the Pan African Film Festival and has served on the Board of the Palais de la Culture in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Notably, he has worked as a consultant to the late Bishop H.H. Brookins, of the A.M.E. Church and the late Dick Griffey, President of the African Development Public Investment Corporation and SOLAR Records. In 1977, Babu worked as a consultant to Stevie Wonder and facilitated Mr. Wonder's participation at FESTAC held in Lagos, Nigeria where among other activities, Babu coordinated the satellite transmission of Mr. Wonder's GRAMMY appearance from Lagos. Highlights of his long and diverse career also include serving as a delegate to the 6th Pan African Congress in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1974, facilitating the performance of Les Ballets Africains de la Republique de Guinee at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 and serving as Co-Chair of the Program Committee for The Nelson Mandela Reception Committee at the Los Angeles Coliseum, in 1990.
Mr. Babu has sit on numerous film festival juries including FESPACO, the Cinema Africano Festival in Milan, Italy, and the Zanzibar International Film Festival. He has sat on numerous panels and forums discussing the production, distribution and marketing of African American and African films; served on the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Peer Grant Review Panel and the Los Angeles Arts Commission Grant Review Panel; been a member of the Los Angeles Arts Loan Fund review panel as well as serve as a presenter at the UNESCO Conference on Images of the South in Paris and the Nigerian film industry summit held in Los Angeles convened in 2005 to introduce "Nollywood" to the American film industry. Recently he was chosen as an official delegate to the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures in Dakar, Senegal for his contribution to Pan African Cinema.
He was named a "Living History Makers" by the business and economic magazine, Turning Point in 2002, and one of Los Angeles' most influential leaders by the Los Angeles Times and the L.A. Weekly.
Under Mr. Babu's leadership the Pan African Film Festival has established institutional ties with the Directors Guild of America, FESPACO, where he is currently a consultant, the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, the Cinema Africano Film Festival in Milan, Italy and the Zanzibar International Film Festival.
ASANTEWA OLATUNJI, Esq
Ms. Olatunji began her career as an entertainment lawyer on the staff of Paramount Pictures Entertainment Corporation. She has enjoyed a diversified legal career in the areas of entertainment law, civil litigation, immigration law and labor law. Besides managing a private law practice, Ms. Olatunji has been on the legal staff of Wausau Insurance Companies and was General Counsel for the Los Angeles Black Employees Association, where she currently sits on the Board of Directors. She has been involved in multiple community projects, including the Nelson Mandela Reception Committee, Les Ballets Africans de la République de Guinée performance at the 1984 Olympics Arts Festival, the Youth Program for the South Central People's Federal Credit Union and the South Central People's Coalition.
One of the founders of the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), Ms. Olatunji has been integrally involved with its management and programming since its inception in 1992. With an attendance of over 30,000 people and annually screening over 165 Black films from Africa and its Diaspora, as PAFF's general manager and director of programming, Ms. Olatunji has grown PAFF into the largest and most prestigious Black film festival in the United States.
She has served on several film festival juries and she was the chairperson for the 2012 AMAA jury. Also in 2012, she was the guest programmer for the Zanzibar International Film Festival. She has been consulted with for programming African and African Diaspora films by numerous museums, colleges and universities and arts organizations.
As a supporter of fine artists, Ms. Olatunji originated the annual fine arts show presented by PAFF. Annually attracting an estimated 75,000 people, the PAFF art show, presented every February in conjunction with PAFF during the US Black History Month has become one of the largest Black fine art markets and shows in the United States.
Ms. Olatunji holds a Bachelor's Degree in History from the University of Southern California and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Southwestern University, School of Law. She has been a member of the California State Bar since 1975.
Dorothee Wenner is a freelance filmmaker, writer and curator specialized on cross-cultural and women issues. She has been a programmer with the International Forum of New Cinema/Berlinale since 1990, she also curates Indian films for the Dubai International Film Festival. Her films include "DramaConsult" (2012) which documents the journey of five Nigerian entrepreneurs to Germany, "Peace Mission" (2008) - a documentary about the Nigerian film industry, „Germany Inside-Out - 10 experts from 10 countries and their view on German culture“, 2002, “Happy-end in Switzerland”, 2001, “Ladies Special - the ‘womens’-only train of Bombay”, 1999, “The Polish of Potsdamer Platz”, 1998. She has been member of the jury of the African Academy Movie Awards, based in Lagos/Nigeria since inception in 2005. In 2011, she headed a new training program - the "World Cinema Fund Factories" for Berlinale - in cooperation with DWA and partners in Burkina Faso and Burundi.