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Conference at Illinois to explore African films, filmmaking

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — African films and filmmaking, including Nollywood, the burgeoning film industry in Nigeria, will be the focus of an international conference at the University of Illinois Nov. 8-10.

Most of the conference events will take place in the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana; all events are free and open to the public. A program schedule is on the Center for African Studies Web site.

More than 35 scholars and film producers and distributors from Africa, Canada, Europe and the United States will participate. A screening of African films will conclude the conference.

African cinema has been a strong art phenomenon since the 1970s, said Mahir Saul, a professor of anthropology at Illinois and the organizer of the conference.

“In the 1990s, the emergence of a popular home video industry in Nigeria has added another dimension to African cinema,” Saul said. “Today, Nigeria is the third-largest film producer in the world, after Hollywood and Bollywood.”

Conference participants will explore the cinematic production of Africa as both artistic expression and as a popular cultural phenomenon, Saul said.

Among the presenters and their talks:

Abdalla Uba Adamu, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria: “Islam, Shari’a and Censorship in Hausa Video Film.”

Lizelle Bisschoff, University of Stirling, United Kingdom: “Women Making Movies: The Female Pioneers of African Cinema.”

For more information about the conference, e-mail Saul: