Soweto, Alex to host film club conferences!

The conference, hosted by the Film Clubs Project (FCP), will take place from 14 to 16 February 2014 at the Bosco Youth Centre in Walkerville. It will include a day in the field on Saturday, 15 February 2014, during which open arts-centered discussions will be held with the Soweto and Alexandra communities.

The FCP is an initiative of the Afrika Culture and Development Centre (ACDC),
started two years ago in Gauteng and the North West Province with the assistance of the Danish Association of Film Clubs.

The aim of this volunteer-based organisation is to develop a socially conscious arts and culture movement against the backdrop of a deepening crisis in youth participation and development in the arts, fuelled by poverty and inequality.

The 2014 conference will look at ways of expanding the movement within the Greater Johannesburg and Gauteng areas, and extending these models to other metropolitan areas and provinces.

Explains Benjy Francis, the director of the FCP and the Afrika Cultural Centre: “The ACDC approach embraces all the arts, even though we started with film. We now want to formally extend the entry criteria to include all the arts. For example, if a potential group wishes to develop its strengths in theatre, visual arts, dance, literature/books/poetry, history, music, crafts or any other arts/cultural or educational activity rather than primarily film, this will be encouraged.”

The ultimate goal is to make each club a cultural centre – a “culture club”, of sorts.

Francis says the conference will also examine how to nurture the film club movement’s youth development objectives in a more vigorous way, both at schools and outside the education system.

“The combination of personal development, social consciousness and knowledge
gathering within the framework of films – and all the arts – offers a critical base for the uplifting of standards. It will extend the range of educational input in the lives of children and youth, and hence the communities in which they live,” he adds.

“Within this approach lies the antidote to all the negative subculture influences like drugs and violence that characterise the world of our youth today.”

According to Francis, the conference will also look at how to fund the rapidly growing film clubs movement (which has increased from six clubs in 2012 to 24 today), and which currently only has one large-screen traveling cinema that it takes to various communities.

Film club members will discuss how to involve parents, teachers, NGOs, government structures and other potential partners in community development through the arts, and will be treated to a screening of Darrell Roodt’s acclaimed feature film ‘Little One’.

On Saturday, February 15 the film club members will move away from the
formalities of the conference and will head into the townships to engage with local communities on various issues.

From 9am to noon, a round-table discussion will take place at Freedom Square in Kliptown, exploring the challenges faced by young people in working for social change, and exploring possible solutions.

Between 2pm and 5pm, the theme of the artist as a social activist will be debated at the AlexSan Kopano Centre in Alexandra, with filmmaker Rehad Desai chairing a discussion on “cinema for change”.

The session will include feedback from a group of young Alexandra residents who photographed images of environmental degradation, neglect and unhygienic living conditions in the township on World Environment Day last year, and noted the impact on residents’ dignity and human rights.

Those with an interest in the arts as a tool for social change, and young people in particular, are invited to attend the open sessions in Soweto and Alexandra on Saturday. Come and be part of the solution!

For more information on the Film Clubs Project, the FCP Conference 2014 and the Afrika Culture and Development Clubs, visit ACDC Film Clubs Facebook page.

Contact office at: 011 447 4738 or 073 113 7092 or 084 753 5381,
email: acdcfilmclubs@gmail.com or visit the Afrika Cultural Centre website: www.afrikaculturalcentre.com

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