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John Akomfrah

John Akomfrah
Born 1957 (age 57–58)
Accra, Ghana
Occupation Film director
Years active 1986-present

John Akomfrah, [1] is an English artist, writer, film director, screenwriter and theorist. He made his debut with Handsworth Songs, which examined the fallout from the Handsworth riots.[2] Handsworth Songs went on to win the Grierson Award for Best Documentary in 1987.[3]


  • Biography 1
  • Selected filmography 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Akomfrah was born in [1]

He is best known as one of the founders of the [1] In 1998, together with Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, his long-term producing partners, he co-founded Smoking Dogs Films.[5]

From 2001 to 2007 he served as a Governor of the Film London.[7]

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours, for his services to the film industry.[8] In March 2012 he was awarded the European Cultural Foundation's Princess Margriet Award.[9] In 2013 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from University of the Arts London[10] and Goldsmiths, University of London.[11] In 2014 Akomfrah was awarded an honorary doctorate from Portsmouth University, the reformed polytechnic that he had graduated from in 1982.

He has taught classes and courses at esteemed academic institutions around the world, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology,[12] Brown University, New York University, Westminster University, Princeton University.

Selected filmography


  1. ^ a b c "British Film Institute ScreenOnline biography". 
  2. ^ Childs, Peter; Storry, Mike, eds. (2002). "Akomfrah, John". Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture. London: Routledge. pp. 18–19. 
  3. ^ The Grierson Trust.
  4. ^ Sukhdev Sandhu, "John Akomfrah: migration and memory", The Guardian, 20 January 2012.
  5. ^ Smoking Dogs Films website.
  6. ^ British Film Institute Board of Governors.
  7. ^ "Award-winning film director joins Film London", Film London, 9 August 2004.
  8. ^ "Full list of New Years' Honours". BBC News. 
  9. ^ Alexis Akwagyiram, "John Akomfrah: Little known, much decorated film-maker", BBC News, 20 March 2012.
  10. ^ "How to succeed in the arts – UAL’s high profile honourees share their insights", University of the Arts London, 23 August 2013.
  11. ^ "John Akomfrah OBE (DLit)".
  12. ^ "John Akomfrah and Lina Gopaul", Arts at MIT.

External links

  • John Akomfrah at the Internet Movie Database
  • Erline Andrews, "Film festival honours influential director", Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, 22 September 2013.
  • John Akomfrah page at Carroll/Fletcher.
  • Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz, "Filmmaker John Akomfrah Meditates On Disappearance, Memory, Death, And The African Diaspora In Europe", The Creators Project, 31 October 2012.
  • Basia Lewandowska Cummings, "John Akomfrah, Stuart Hall and the Film Essay", Africa is a country, 7 February 2014.
  • Chloë Penman, "John Akomfrah and The Black Audio Film Collective: A (Trans)National Treasure", Real|Reel Journal, 17 May 2012.
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