Rutgers University In America Names Film Prize After Tunde Kelani

The African Studies Association (ASA) at Rutgers University, US has announced the Ken Harrow ASA Film Fund and Sembène-Kelani Film Prize for outstanding African films.

Akorokoafrica reported the establishment of the Ken Harrow ASA Film Fund and the renaming of the association’s film prize to the Sembène-Kelani Film Prize, in honour of two well-known figures in African cinema, Senegalese actor Ousmane Sembène and Nigerian filmmaker, Tunde Kelani.

The announcement underscores the rise of Nollywood as a vital contributor to the global film industry.

Kelani started his career in the 1970’s as a journalist working for BBC TV, Reuters, and Nigerian TV. He then went to the London Film School and after graduating co-produced his first film in Nigeria.

Kelani also worked as a cinematographer on many Nigerian films. In 1991, he founded his own production company, Mainframe Films, to focus on directing and producing his movies which include, Ti Oluwa Nile, Ayo Ni Mo Fe, Koseegbe, Oleku, Thunderbolt (Magun), Saworoide, Agogo Eewo, The Campus Queen, Abeni, Narrow Path, Arugba and Maami. Many of his films are adaptations of books and plays.

According to the report, the prize is about appreciating amazing African films, whether they are fiction or documentary. The fund supports people who want to study and talk about African films.

It is important to note from the report that filmmakers or their distributors can submit nominations by April 30 annually. The award winner will be chosen by the prize committee and invited to attend the Annual ASA Meeting for a screening of the winning film. The award will include round-trip airfare and accommodation for up to four nights, conference registration, and $500.

The fund and prize were made possible because of the donations from the Harrows and also the partnerships with incredible institutions like Michigan State University and Université Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis, Senegal.