Pioneering African film curator June Givanni to get BAFTA award

June Givanni, the pioneering film curator, writer, programmer of African and African diaspora cinema, and founder of the June Givanni PanAfrican Archive, will be presented with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ (BAFTA) award for ‘Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema’ at the EE BAFTA Film Awards next month.

This Special Award, one of BAFTA’s highest accolades, is presented to an individual or organisation that has made a significant and inspiring contribution to film through a particular project or work – with focus on recognising work that might not otherwise be eligible in BAFTA’s competitive awards’ categories.

It will be presented to June Givanni during the EE BAFTAs’ ceremony at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, as part of a commemoration of her work to-date including that of The June Givanni PanAfrican Archive (JGPACA).

Based in London, the JGPACA is a volunteer-run archive founded and amassed by June Givanni over forty years as part of her wider curatorial work and is dedicated to preserving the history of pan-African and Black British cinema and culture.

It comprises over 10,000 rare and unique artefacts documenting the development of filmmaking across Africa and the African diaspora, including in Britain that might otherwise not have been preserved – and has grown to become one of the largest independent archives in the UK.

“I was shocked and am honoured to receive such recognition from BAFTA for work that I have been privileged to be able to do with some of the most inspired and inspiring people in the world of cinema generally and Pan African cinema and culture in particular; especially with the energies of the younger generation of thinkers, curators and artists who bring dynamic energies to working with, and discovering, the archives of the moving image from a pre-digital age,” said June Givanni.

“We are also grateful for the support of the Freelands Foundation who have given us some crucial Space to Dream. Thank-you.”

Givanni began her career as the co-ordinator of Third Eye London’s first Festival of Third World Cinema and part of the organising team led by Parminder Vir, based at the Greater London Council’s Ethnic Minorities Unit at a significant moment in the history of Black British culture, and the development of Black British Independent Cinema.

She went onto set up and run the African Caribbean Film Unit at the BFI and was co-founding editor with Gaylene Gould of the quarterly Black Film Bulletin they created there. She also programmed Planet Africa at The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) over four years.

She has worked as a film curator on five continents programming for TV channels and festivals from Martinique to Kerala – helping to progress the study of pan-African cinema globally.

Givanni has also published a number of books including the edited volumes Remote Control: ‘Dilemmas of Black Intervention in British Film and TV and Symbolic Narratives/African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image.’

The JGPACA was developed on the collective energies of the 1980s, and has grown to become a world-renowned collection and essential source of information about the development of pan-African film.

It includes films, publications, audio recordings, manuscripts, posters, photography and stills, collections of documents related to the devleopment of Pan African Cinema, w which alongside use by scholars, have for formed the basis of or contributed to public exhibitions, including at Tate Britain, Nottingham Contemporary and most recently part of the archive was showcased and celebrated in the 8 galleries that comprise the Raven Row Gallery in east London.

June Givanni oversees the JGPACA alongside her co-directors, filmmaker Imruh Bakari and Dr. Emma Sandon, and is supported by a core team of three, as well as a network of committed volunteers, interns and patrons.

“June has been a pioneering force in the preservation, study and celebration of African and African Diaspora cinema and Black British cultural heritage. The June Givanni PanAfrican Cinema Archive, developed over forty years, is now one of the world’s most important time capsules of the ideas, stories and creative output of an essential part of British and global film history, and a valuable resource for inspiring future generations,” said Jane Millichip, CEO of BAFTA.

“We are so pleased to be able to shine a light on June’s work at the EE BAFTA Film Awards next month, including her extraordinary archive and the filmmakers and stories within it.”

BAFTA is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally.

Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration.

BAFTA presents Fellowships and Special Awards to individuals who have made a significant and inspiring contribution to the screen arts year-round.

Recent Special Award recipients include: Meera Syal, David Olusoga, Shonda Rhimes, Alison Barnett, Shuhei Yoshida, Sandy Powell, Triple C and Sir Billy Connolly. Previous Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema recipients, first awarded in 1979, include Andy Serkis, Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlson, the National Film and Television School, Curzon, Angels Costumes and BBC Films.

The EE BAFTA Film Awards will be hosted by David Tennant and broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, and syndicated internationally via Britbox International in nine countries including the US and Canada, and a host of other territories to be confirmed.

Source: BAFTA

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