Featured people: John Akomfrah

As "The Stuart Hall Project" has been listed in the Cinema Documentary category for the 2014 Grierson Trust Awards, we take the opportunity to highlight director John Akomfrah in our featured people.  

Akomfrah has received the 2012 ECF Princess Margriet Award for his ground-breaking film oeuvre woven from perspectives that are often hidden from the mainstream narratives of European history.

Born in Accra, Ghana and living and working in London, Akomfrah makes films that are at once poetic and essayistic - creative dialogues that pose intriguing questions about culture, migration, integration and intercultural exchange. He explores both urban and rural landscapes, using diverse perspectives to challenge accepted narratives of history and giving prominence to its unheralded change-makers.

The 2012 ECF Princess Margriet Award jury praised the development of Akomfrah’s oeuvre from his earliest film, the ground-breaking 'Handsworth Songs' (1986) to 'Nine Muses' (2010), an artistic meditation on migration, myth and memory that creatively weaves together layers of original footage, archival clips, sound and poetry.

Akomfrah’s long-standing body of work is a profound and multi-layered creation, championing voices that are often hidden from the mainstream discourse of European pasts. 

In 1982 Akomfrah was a founding member of the seminal British film-making collective, Black Audio Film Collective and produced a broad range of work - fictional films, tape slide installations, gallery installations, experimental videos and creative documentaries. Since 1998, Akomfrah has been Director of the film and television production companies, Smoking Dogs Films (London) and Creation Rebel Films (Accra). His most recent film, 'The Stuart Hall Project' (2013), is a deeply moving intimate and engaging portrait of Stuart Hall, British public intellectual, co-founder of the New Left Review and a founding figure of British cultural studies, whose work in cultural theory has profoundly influenced the British political landscape. Seamlessly using Hall’s radio and television archive, events from Hall’s life, rare, long since seen archival footage and a discourse on the major social, historical and political events that shaped the twentieth century. Set with a mesmerizing soundtrack featuring Miles Davis the film takes you through a kaleidoscopic journey through Hall’s life.

Stuart Hall, who passed away earlier this year, has received the first ECF Princess Margriet Award in 2008, and director John Akomfrah the 2012 ECF Princess Margriet Award.