The man probably has a basement full of these awards by now; here’s another to add to his stash.
The European Cultural Foundation (ECF) has awarded its Princess Margriet Award to British/Ghanaian filmmaker John Akomfrah – a name I hope most of you are aware of given how much we’ve written about him over the years.
The prize which is given annually “to European artists, intellectuals and activists who envisage a truly intercultural landscape and strive for societal change,” comes with a €25,000 cash prize (about $33,000).
A little background on Akomfrah for those unaware… originally from Accra, Ghana, Akomfrah moved to the UK as a child. He studied art and sociology in college. At 28, he made his seminal film, Handsworth (1986), about racial and civil strife of 1980s Britain, and has since made 16 other films, including Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993), Martin Luther King: Days of Hope (1997) and The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong (1999).
In 1982, he co-founded the Black Audio Film Collective, with the objectives of addressing issues of Black British identity.
His last work, which screened in limited release last year was The Nine Muses, discussed and reviewed it on the old S&A site HERE.
But his latest work, which I’m only just now learning about, is a film titled Peripeteia. It was screened during the awards ceremony for the attending 350 guests who were said to be delighted by it.
A Google search revealed practically nothing about this new project; his IMDB page doesn’t list it. And a search os S&A came up empty, so we’ve never written about it.
I suppose we’ll learn more in coming weeks/months. I can’t even tell you whether it’s a short or feature; it’s likely experimental, since that’s the milieu in which he commonly works.
But what I can share is a description of the film which reads:
A moving visualization of two characters drawn in the 16th century by Albrecht Dürer – a black male and female whose stories have been ‘lost to the winds of history’.
Things that make you hmmm…
So I went digging some more…
First, Albrecht Dürer was a German artist and mathematician of the 15th and 16th centuries, and is regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance, with a vast body of work that includes religious works, portraits and copper engravings. Can’t say I’m familiar, but now you know if you didn’t. Although I couldn’t immediately identify what drawing of his that Akomfrah might be appropriating for his film.
Secondly, the word “Peripeteia” is defined as a sudden reversal of fortune or change in circumstances, especially in reference to fictional narratives.
Third, as the description of the project states, the story centers on a black man and woman whose stories have been “lost to the winds of history.”
Alright you code crackers, get cracking; put it all together and whomever comes up with the best guess for what the film is all about wins… nothing! :)