Paulin Soumanou Vieyra (January 31, 1925 – November 4, 1987). Special thanks to Cathy Chamorey who took this brilliant photograph of Vieyra in Paris in the editing room where Paulin was working on his feature : En résidence surveillée in 1980.  Used courtesy Stéphane Vieyra.

Call for papers, Black Camera close-up

Paulin S. Vieyra, a Post-Colonial figure

IU’s Black Film Center/Archive hosted a workshop to generate new research on Paulin Vieyra Sept. 5-6, 2019.

Deadline for article proposals: February 29, 2020

Issue editors: Vincent Bouchard (Indiana University) and Amadou Ouédraogo (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)     

Paulin S. Vieyra, one of the first African filmmakers, was a key driving figure behind all the early cinematographic activities in West Africa. He was a multifaceted pioneer: a prominent filmmaker, producer, and scholar. He served as mentor and production manager for several renowned filmmakers including Ousmane Sembène and was appointed by President Léopold Sédar Senghor to be the first director of the Senegalese National News Service. His expertise and prolific contribution as a film specialist came together with his insights as an intellectual who was deeply sensitive to the predicament of the continent and dedicated to the social and cultural rehabilitation and emancipation of his people. His film criticism is constantly infusedwith his reflections on how to provide a better future for Africa. Consequently, his work and intellectual reflections are in line with the vision laid out by key historical figures who contributed to the emancipation of the continent in various ways.

More than thirty years after his passing, his work remains strikingly relevant in its visions, especially in its perception of cinema as a powerful instrument for social, political, economic and cultural changes and as a tool to build awareness and self-reliance. He viewed film as part of the process through which people could break away from the ideology of dependence and self-denial promoted throughout the colonial experience. Ultimately, his vision is encapsulated in his statement that “cinema should help with the creation of a new African humanism.”   

 There is, however, a lack of general understanding of this outstanding figure’s legacy and thus a need to elevate knowledge about this African cinema pioneer through scholarship and other forms that can be made accessible to the general public. This issue of the journal Black Camera will bring together texts on the various aspects of Paulin S. Vieyra, a Post-Colonial figure. This close-up will fully assess Vieyra’s intellectual legacy through a variety of academic approaches (historical, political, feminist, film, literary, cultural, etc.) and serve to illuminate avenues for future research surrounding this key figure of early West African film. 

We welcome proposals that focus on (but are not limited to) the following themes: 

  •  Vieyra’s intellectual legacy in his writings; 
  • Vieyra’s contributions to a new aesthetic he contributed to create at a preliminary stage of African cinemas (1955-1980); 
  • Vieyra’s diverse audio-visual production (news, educative films, documentaries, and fiction);
  • Vieyra’s commentary on cinema as critic, historian, and theorist; 
  • Vieyra’s contribution to the organization, patterning, and administration of the cinematographic institutions in West Africa; 
  • Vieyra’s help, as a producer or mentor, in supporting other African filmmakerat the beginning of their careers; 
  • Vieyra’s contribution to the promotion of African cinemas during Art Festivals, in his writing, etc.

Proposals (150-250 words) in English should be sent to the following email:

Deadline for submitting a proposal: February 29, 2020

Announcement of proposal selection results: March 2020
Submission of completed texts for peer review: August 15, 2020 

Final submissions should be no longer than 8,000 words and can incorporate illustrations (audio, visual, still or animated) whose publication rights should be secured by the authors.Authors are requested to follow the submission guidelines available at:

The Black Film Center/Archive’s Vieyra workshop was made possible through the support of the College Arts and Humanities Institute (CAHI), the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), the Department of French and Italian (FRIT), the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (DEMA), the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive Screening Room, the Lilly Library, the African Studies Program (ASP) at Indiana University and PSVFilms.

Selections from Paulin Vieyra’s papers.

Paulin Vieyra 7-DVD Box Set Available from African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) 

Order the 7-DVD Vieyra Box set HERE.

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