Visible Evidence 2021

Ciné-Collaborations between Yugoslavia and African Coun­tries as Gestures of Anti-Colonial Soli­darity

Aboubakar Sanogo
Mila Turajlic
Jihan El Tahri
Sat, Dec 18
60 Min
Mousonturm (Studio 1), Online
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Seeking to expand the understanding of militant Third Cinema and the emergence of the filmed documentary image in African countries during their struggle for liberation, this conversation is built around a screening and discussion of images filmed by cameramen of the Yugoslav newsreels during the Algerian and Mozambican wars for independence. Situating these images in the scholarship and circulation of filmed images of liberation movements, Professor Aboubakar Sanogo and filmmaker Mila Turajlic trace the history and political use of these materials in the campaigns against colonialism and in the construction of national identities of newly-independent countries.


Since 2013, Mila Turajlic has been working on the Non-Aligned Newsreels, an artistic research project seeking to excavate and contextualize the archives filmed by Yugoslav cameramen across the non-aligned world. Adrift diplomatically between East and West during the Cold War, Yugoslavia turned to building the non-aligned movement by strengthening relationships with newly-created countries in Asia and Africa that were throwing off colonial powers. Yugoslav cameramen would end up filming the first films for liberation movements (FLN in Algeria in 1959, Frelimo in Mozambique in 1967, PLO in Palestine in 1970) and making the first newsreels for newly-independent countries (171 newsreels for Mali from 1961, 27 issues of filmed newsreels for Tanzania in 1964, etc). Through digitizing these materials – newsreels, documentary films and unused outtakes – Mila is cross-referencing them with interviews, documents from state archives, and personal archives including diaries and correspondence between the cameramen. Her aim is to explore the ways the filmic image chronicled the birth of a political project, becoming at the same time the vehicle through which this community was constituted and their vision narrated. Together with Professor Sanogo she seeks to provide a crossed perspective on their narrative power and political use, both then and now.

Dzazairouna (Our Algeria)

This is the first documentary film produced by the Cinema Service of the Algerian Liberation Front in 1960, made for screening at the United Nations to influence the debate on the Algerian question. It uses footage shot by cameraman of Yugoslav Newsreels, edited in Belgrade by a group of Algerian, French and Yugoslav filmmakers.

Aboubakar Sanogo

Professor Aboubakar Sanogo teaches film studies at Carleton University in Ottawa and is one of the leading experts on the history of documentary in Africa. He is currently working on the Africa Film Heritage Project, a partnership between FEPACI, Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation and UNESCO to preserve African cinema. In addition to teaching, Dr Sanogo is also a film curator and has curated film programs at institutions including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and the Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in Burkina Faso where he was Delegate General of Guilde’s Week, a parallel section of the festival.

Venceremos (We Shall Win)

This is the first documentary made for Frelimo, the Mozambican Liberation Movement in 1967, shot by Yugoslav cameraman and edited in Belgrade, from where it was distributed internationally.

Mila Turajlic

Mila Turajlic is an award-winning director born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Her documentary The Other Side of Everything won 32 awards including the prestigious IDFA Award for Best Documentary Film. It was nominated for the European Parliament’s LUX Prize. Mila’s previous film, Cinema Komunisto premiered at Tribeca and won 16 awards including the FOCAL Award for Creative Use of Archival Footage. In 2018 she was commissioned by MoMA to create archive-based video installations for their landmark exhibition on Yugoslav architecture. In 2020 Mila was a Chicken&Egg Award grantee and invited to join the AMPAS Documentary Branch.

Unedited footage from materials shot by Yugoslav cameramen

This is a selection of footage shot by Yugoslav cameraman on the invitation of the governments of Ethiopia, Mali and Tanzania (following their independence in the case of the latter two).

Jihan El Tahri

Jihan El Tahri is a multi-award-winning film director, writer, visual artist, and producer. She currently serves as the General Director of the Berlin-based documentary support institution DOX BOX. El Tahri has been a member of The Academy (Oscars) since 2017 and is currently on the selection committee of the Locarno International Film Festival. She has directed more than 15 films and her visual art exhibitions have traveled to renowned museums and several Biennales around the world. Her writings include Les Sept Vies de Yasser Arafat (Grasset) and Israel and the Arabs, The 50 Years War (Penguin). She continues to mentor and direct various documentary and filmmaking labs. El Tahri has served on the boards of several African film organizations including the Federation of Pan African Cinema and The Guild of African Filmmakers in the Diaspora.