An innovative individual who curates, writes, and programs African films will be honored with Bafta’s award for outstanding British contribution to cinema.
June Givanni established a London-based collection consisting of over 10,000 pieces, such as films, ephemera, manuscripts, audio recordings, photographs, and posters, that chronicle the history of Pan-African cinema for four decades.
The archive, managed by volunteers, is a crucial collection that chronicles the visual media of Africa and its diaspora. It houses valuable artifacts that may have otherwise been lost or destroyed.
The June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive (JGPACA) has also been utilized for public exhibitions, such as the most recent one at Raven Row in east London.
“I am 73-year-old Givanni, and I shared with the Guardian that receiving this award allows us to share our goals with others. This is important because there are many different perceptions of archives. Our ultimate objective is to enhance the knowledge and appreciation of Pan-African cinema’s role in the cultural industry, its creative influence, and its global legacy.”
She was born in the former British Guiana and relocated to the United Kingdom at the age of seven. She initiated her professional journey by organizing the initial Third World Cinema Festival for Third Eye London in London, and later worked as a film programmer at the ethnic minorities unit of the Greater London Council.
She proceeded to manage the BFI’s African-Caribbean division and created the initial thorough list of black and Asian films in the UK. She also co-edited the BFI’s Black Film Bulletin, which was recently relaunched in partnership with Sight and Sound magazine as a quarterly publication.
She has experience as a film curator across five different continents. Her written works consist of Remote Control: Ethical Dilemmas in Black Representation in British Film and TV, as well as Symbolic Narratives/African Cinema: Viewers, Theories, and Motion Pictures.
Bafta’s CEO, Jane Millichip, praised Givanni for being a trailblazer in the protection, examination, and honoring of African and African diaspora film and the cultural heritage of Black British people.
Givanni will receive the special award at the Baftas ceremony in the coming month. Past honorees have included Derek Jarman, Ken Loach, Elizabeth Karlsen, Tessa Ross, Ridley Scott, and Curzon Cinemas.
Givanni stressed the significance of archives, stating that they are not only informative but also contribute to cultural enrichment.
She stated that many young individuals are impressed by our collection. This is due to growing up in the digital era, where they believe all information is readily available on the internet. However, upon visiting our archive, they are astounded by the physical nature of our resources and the vast amount of knowledge they were previously unaware of.
The idea is to broaden individuals’ perspectives on what constitutes information, its location, and its connection to the present. This is a fundamental belief in Ghanaian culture known as Sankofa, which emphasizes the importance of reflecting on the past in order to gain insight into the future.
Givanni stated that she views Pan-African cinema as a form of “resistance cinema,” emphasizing its recognition of the significance and impact of African culture on a global scale.
“When I immigrated to the UK from Guyana as a young child in the 1950s, I was surprised by the lack of knowledge about my identity,” she stated. “In my home country, people were driven and supportive, but in the UK, I was placed in a class with students two years younger because of assumptions about my education level in Guyana.”
“Many individuals often overlook the value you bring to the table. The concept of Pan-Africanism emphasizes the importance of understanding one’s history and recognizing its significance in any location globally. This is a task that we all must undertake.”