African Film Institute Film Series: Amelia Umuhire

African Film Institute Film Series: Amelia Umuhire

Amelia Umuhire, Mugabo (still), 2016.

The African Film Institute

African Film Institute Film Series: Amelia Umuhire
Curated by Natacha Nsabimana

Admission starts at $5

January 23, 2024, 7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

The African Film Institute is pleased to inaugurate a new film series curated by Natacha Nsabimana with two works by Rwandan filmmaker Amelia Umuhire and a conversation between Umuhire and Nsabimana, at e-flux Screening Room on Tuesday, January 23, at 7pm.

Taking a cue from the practice of an evening school as proposed by Christian Nyampeta’s Ecole Du Soir, Nsabimana invites filmmakers, artists, and scholars for a meditation and conversations around “African Cinema,” unfolding at e-flux Screening Room over the course of twelve months. What does the formulation evoke for us today? Is it worth holding onto? For whom? Comprised of a series of viewings sometimes followed by conversations, the curation will include feature films, shorts, and documentaries.

Umuhire’s experimental short film Mugabo (2016) and her award-winning radio documentary Innocent (2020) are excellent points of entry into “African cinema.” Moving between Rwanda, Germany, and Belgium, and in multiple languages, her work invites us to expand our imagination. Umuhire shows us how to tell stories centered on a geography (Rwanda) while also moving across time, space, and tongues.

Mugabo (2016, 7 minutes)
Mugabo is a short experimental film about a young woman’s return to her homeland after decades of living abroad. What begins as a silent film slowly unravels into an exploration of what trauma—and the silence around trauma—does to our perception. 

Innocent (2020, 51 minutes)
In this radio documentary, Amelia Umuhire tells the story of Innocent Seminega—her father—as a young student, teacher, husband, and parent up until his death in 1994. Tracing her family history as she addresses him, Umuhire weaves together threads from his love of linguistics, his romance with her mother, his parenthood, and his life lived amidst a violent conflict—eventually unfurling her own story of her childhood and movement between countries. Innocent is an intimate portrait that resists the narrative canon imposed by the West on recent Rwandan history.

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Film, War & Conflict, Migration & Immigration
Experimental Film, Documentary, Africa, Family, History
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The African Film Institute

Amelia Umuhire (b. 1991, Kigali, Rwanda) is a filmmaker and artist living in Kigali and Berlin. In 2015, she wrote and directed the award-winning web-series Polyglot, in which she follows the lives of young, deracinated London- and Berlin-based Rwandese artists. Her short film Mugabo was awarded Best Experimental Film at the Blackstar Film Festival, and screened at MOCA Los Angeles and the Berlin Biennale among many other places. In 2018, Umuhire produced the Prix Europa-nominated radio feature Vaterland for the German radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur. She was a Villa Romana Fellow in 2020, and is currently working on her first feature film.

Natacha Nsabimana teaches in the anthropology department at the university of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests include postcolonial critique, musical movements, and the cultural and political worlds of African peoples on the continent and in the diaspora.

The African Film Institute aims to create a home and a place of intimacy with African cinema in New York, through developing gradually and organically a viewing program animated by fellowships; a growing library; an active writers’ room; and an expanding catalog of recorded dialogs. The African Film Institute draws from the visual cultures that view cinema as an evening school: a popular information system in the service of education, aesthetic experience, and public dissemination—employing a methodology concerning the use of cinema’s collective production, and investing in viewing methods informed by different uses of time, visual and textual histories, and social struggles and hopes in mutuality between their own locality and the world at large. The African Film Institute is convened by Christian Nyampeta and hosted by e-flux Screening Room.

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