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Imruh Bakari, Senior Fellow – Knowledge Exchange, Faculty of Education and the Arts, is a filmmaker, writer and creative industries consultant. He studied at Bradford College of Art, and is a graduate of the National Film & Television School, Beaconsfield. He also completed postgraduate studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He teaches on the BA (Hons) Film Studies and BA (Hons) Film Production programmes.

From 1999-2004 he was Festival Director of Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), and is a founder/director of Tanzania Screenwriters Forum. He was a founder/director of Ceddo, the film and video production and training organization in London (1982-93). He is a former member (2012-15) of the Advisory Council of the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI); and currently a member Tanzania Independent Producers Association (TAIPA), and the Editorial Board of the Journal of African Cinemas.

His professional work includes a number of film and television credits, which include Riots and Rumours of Riots, Street Warriors, The Mark of the Hand, Blue Notes and Exiled Voices and African Tales. In 2013 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Afrika Filmfestival in Leuven, Belgium for his work in African Cinema.

Areas of expertise

  • African cinema
  • Caribbean cinema
  • British Independent cinema
  • Film festivals
  • Film directing/producing
  • Script editing
  • Screenwriting



Guest Lecturer: 'FESPACO and the Meaning of African Cinema', a lecture for The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC, USA, Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives (C-MAP) – Africa Group, February 25, 2022

The Madman in this House, Smokestack Books (2021)

Towards Reframing FESPACO', in: Black Camera: An International Film Journal, Vol.12, Number 1, Fall 2020, 289-300

Consultant: Briefing document on ‘The Film Industry in East Africa’ for the 2019 UNESCO Forum of Ministers of Culture on ‘new perspectives for Cultural Impact in the process of UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development’. Presented by OCPA, Mozambique, to the UNESCO Forum of Ministers of Culture 2019 (Paris, 19 November 2019)

'African film in the 21st Century: some notes to a provocation', in: Communication Cultures in Africa (CCA), Vol. 1, No. 1, December 2018. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21039/cca.8

The Jamaican Gangster Film: Badman, Rude Bwoys and Dons, in: Larke-Walsh, G. S. (ed.)(2018) A Companion to the Gangster Film. pp 182-207.

The Role and Function of Film Festivals in Africa, in: African Film Cultures: In the Context of Socio-Political Factors (2017). pp 188-205.

Without passport or apology (forthcoming) Smokestack Books

Culture and Creative Industries in Tanzania: A Plan for Strategic Action, UNESCO, Dar es Salaam, July 2012

Creative Industries A Tanzanian Future, A Study for British Council, Dar es Salaam, November 2009

‘Ousmane Sembene Father of African Cinema (1923-2007)’, Wasafiri Vol. 23, No. 1 Issue 53, March, 2008

The Alignment of Curriculum into the 21st Century - Aspirations of the Pan African Industry, FEPACI, 2008

'Colonialism and Modern Lives in African Cinema', Screen Vol.48 No.4, Winter, 2007

'African Cinema and the Emergent Africa' Introduction to Symbolic Narratives - African Cinema, June Givanni (ed.) British Film Institute, 2000

'Journey From The Cold: Rethinking Black Film Making in Britain' in Kwesi Owusu (ed.) Black British Cultures, Routledge, 2000

'Memory and Identity in Caribbean Cinema' in New Formations no.30, 1997

Pan-African Film: MA in Mass Communication (by Distance Learning) course for the University of Leicester, Centre for Mass Communication Research, 1997

African Experiences of Cinema, (co-editor) British Film Institute, 1996

Recent Film/Television

Nchi Yetu TV Talk Show Executive Producer, Current Affairs television series -Maa Media, Channel Ten Television, Tanzania, December 2011- February 2012

Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), Port Harcourt Jury member (2010)

Mwalimu The Legacy of Julius Kambarage Nyerere (M-Net Documentary: Great Africans Series) Producer (2009)

African Tales - Short Film Series - Producer/Script Editor (2005/2008)

Tumaini (2005) Associate Producer

Zola 7 in Africa - SABC Television Series (2005) - Producer in Tanzania

IFFR - Prince Claus Fund Film Grant Jury member (2005)

Berlin International Film Festival Wolfgang Staudte Jury member (2004)

IFFR - Prince Claus Fund Film Grant Jury member (2004)

Festival Director, Zanzibar International Film Festival (1999-2004)

Recent Projects

Curator (with June Givanni) of 'Black London's Film Heritage Project' - Big City Stories (2011) for Film London www.blacklondonfilmheritage.org

Feasibility Study & Business Plan for Pearl Culture in Kilwa, Mafia and Zanzibar (2011), Regional Program for the Sustainable Management of the Coastal Zones (ReCoMaP): Specialist input on culture and creative economy: Imruh Bakari (Consultant: Munira Humoud)

Report of the Review and Appraisal of Zanzibar in the Context of the 15th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 2010, Ministry of Labour, Youth, Women and Children Development, Zanzibar, October 2009 (Consultants: Munira Humoud & Imruh Bakari)

Dhow Countries Music Academy (DCMA) - Feasibility Study, Zanzibar, July-August 2009 (Consultants: Munira Humoud & Imruh Bakari)

'Memory & Representation' Workshop, Zanzibar, 6 & 7 August 2005 for Women

Space & Heritage: Women's Narratives Project

Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA) Task Force Member (2000-1).

Curator/Programmer: From Pressure to the Terrordome - Black and Asian Film-Making in Britain 1975-1995, ICA, London (1995)

Cinema Editorial Group member: Africa95 - A Season Celebrating the Arts of Africa, London, BFI (1995)


Recent Presentations/Conference Papers

Panel Discission: 13th Durban FilmMart, Content Shop New Pathways: 'Holding The Memory – The Importance of Archiving African Cinema', online 25 July 2022: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T893bzROQmQ

Symposium Paper: ‘How should a Cinema oriented towards the Commons be designed when its actors, audiences, themes and images are transnational?’ for Transnationality, Cultural Memory and Archival Work panel at Bi’Bak, Cinema of Commoning, Sinema Transtopia, Berlin, Sunday 26 June 2022

Introduction to a video artwork Reading the Ancestor (Abdulcadir Ahmed Said, 2006), donated to the Constitutional Court Art Collection (CCAC) by Tomas Films at a webinar, African spirituality, humanity's heritage, hosted by the Constitutional Court Trust (CCT), custodian of the CCAC, and the Art and Ubuntu Trust (AUT) of South Africa on Friday 29 October 2021. The event was a celebration of AUT’s donation of Joseph Ndlovu's weaving of Ernest Mancoba’s oil painting L’Ancetre and Dorothy Randell's Bust of Mancoba, to the CCT/CCAC in 2017.

'Wembley 1924-25: Africa and Africans in the Presentation and Performance of the British Empire' - Conference Paper (Online), Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) Film Festival Conference, 19-28 March 2021 - Panel 27a: Colonial Film Archives: Interrogations and Interventions, Monday 22 March, 2021

Art and Activism Festival: Creative Interruptions, BFI Southbank. Supported by AHRC and Brunel University London. Panel: ‘Art, Activism and the Archive in the New Millennium’ - Chair and Collaborator with June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive, 18 June 2019.

‘Film education and/or training: an African experience in cinema’ - conference paper for Scottish International Film Education Conference, organised in partnership with the British Film Institute, University College London, and the Film Education Journal at the University of Glasgow, 14 June 2019.

Film Africa 2016 Industry Forum: 'Shaping the Future of African Film Archives' – Panel Chair, Monday, 31st October 2016, BFI South Bank.

Africa Together, 3rd Annual Conference, Engendering an Inclusive Africa, African Society of Cambridge University (ASCU), 10 June 2016, Cambridge University Union. Panel Member: ‘Religion/Spirituality: What is the role of religiosity and spirituality in Africa's development?’

Movements: Exhibition, Screenings & Pan-African Cinema, Négritude and the Archive Symposium panel moderator: 'The Relevance of Pan-Africanism and Négritude in Cinema Now' (University of Arts, London, Chelsea College of Arts / Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image / June Givanni Pan-African Cinema Archive, 16-27 October 2014)

'12 Years a Slave Panel Discussion' at the BFI, 24 April 2014 Panel Member 

Keynote Speech: The Role and Function of Film Festivals in Africa, African Film and Politics Conference, University of Westminster , 9-10 November 2013

Cinema - Reality and Film, Civilisation & Society Programme of the Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies, Society Through Literature Module. Lecture: Norwich, 19 October 2013

Race, Racism and Resistance on Film, Public Lecture in Runnymede Trust Lecture and Debate Series: London South Bank University, Keyworth Centre, Monday 3 December 2012

Mainstreaming Creative Cultural Industries as critical in African National Economic Planning: A Case Study of Tanzania. Paper presented at Arterial Network, 2nd African Creative Economy Conference, 14-16 November 2012, Dakar, Senegal

Keynote Speech: The 'Third Space' and the Value of Cinema, Public Lecture at Africa in the Picture Film Festival, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam, 21 October 2012

'Euzhan Palcy's Film Practice in the context of Caribbean Cinema' - Symposium Paper presented at Black Jacobins: Negritude in A Post Global 21st Century International Symposium, 24 February - 1 March 2011, Bridgetown, Barbados / Fort-de-France, Martinique

'Nollywood Next Time: Investment, Regulation, Cooperation', Broadcast & Film
Africa, 2nd Conference & Exhibition - Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, 28-29 July 2010

'The Alignment of Curriculum into the 21st Century - Aspirations of the Pan African Industry', Paper presented at FEPACI Curriculum Symposium, Windhoek, Namibia, 31 July & 1 August 2008

'Colonialism and Modern Lives in African Cinema', African in Motion
Symposium: Neglected Strands and New Trajectories at Edinburgh African Film Festival, 21 October 2006

'A Jazz Odyssey: Music & Migration', Discussion Forum Facilitator: Sewing (Sowing) New Sounds: Britain as a Case Study, 31 March 2006, London.

'Jazz and Improvised Music A Historical Perspective across the Continent' - Colloquium Panel at Improvising Europe The dynamic of jazz and improvised music in today's Europe, Budapest (2004). 

'The Representation of Zanzibar in the Cinema' (2004) paper presented at seminar: Dhow Culture and the Visual Imagination, Zanzibar-Tanzania

'The Case for African Cinema and Sithengi Declaration 2002', UNESCO Consultation Workshop on NEPAD Programme of Action in Culture and Development, 1-4 Sept. 2003, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

'ZIFF "Festival of the Dhow Countries", Zanzibar A Cultural Industries Initiative', UNESCO Regional Forum: Consultation on Cultural Industries in Africa, Cotonou, Benin, 4 - 9 Sept. 2000

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