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Film in the Colony Symposium

New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, 1890s to 1940s

13-14 July 2017

A symposium hosted by the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, University of Otago, and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, Wellington.

Symposium: 13-14 July 2017
Screening Programme: 12 July (colonial-era film), 15 July (contemporary film)
Venue: Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, Wellington

Tina Hunt, in The Te Kooti Trail (1927). Image: Hayward Trust and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.

The early decades of cinema (1890s to 1940s) coincide with the late colonial periods of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. In each colony films were made about indigenous peoples, and their relationships with settlers. Some were historical films; others documented, or capitalised on, indigenous life by drawing on legends or scenes of traditional life; others developed fictional narratives. This symposium investigates the uses of locally-made moving images, for colonies-becoming-nations, and for indigenous communities and their sense of cultural belonging.

How did the involvement of indigenous peoples in the film-making process open out new understandings of collaboration, co-creativity and cross-cultural exchange? Did indigenous people make their own films? What were the implications and outcomes of filming traditional stories on historical locations, or within contemporary communities? How were these productions received by local audiences, then and now?

For this symposium we invite papers that investigate the cross-cultural processes of film production in the colonial context. We welcome contributions from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, such as film studies, history, Māori and/or indigenous studies, anthropology, archives, screen industries and communities.

Speakers confirmed to date: Dame Professor Anne Salmond (University of Auckland), Dr Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk (University of Cape Town)

Convenors: Annabel Cooper, Diane Pivac, with Honiana Love, Minette Hillyer, Jo Smith

Please send a 200-word abstract to filminthecolony@otago.ac.nz by 25 March.

Find out more here.