|Born||1957 (age 56–57)
John Akomfrah, OBE (born 4 May 1957) 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. Handsworth Songs went on to win the Grierson Award for Best Documentary in 1987.
Akomfrah was born in Accra, Ghana, to parents who were involved with anti-colonial activism. In an interview with Sukhdev Sandhu, Akomfrah said: "My dad was a member of the cabinet of Kwame Nkrumah's party.... We left Ghana because my mum's life was in danger after the coup of 1966, and my father died in part because of the struggle that led up to the coup." Akomfrah was educated at schools in West London and at Portsmouth Polytechnic, where he graduated in Sociology in 1982.
He is best known as one of the founders of the Black Audio Film Collective, which was active between 1982 and 1998, and which was dedicated towards examining issues of Black British identity through film and media. In 1998, together with Lina Gopaul and David Lawson, his long-term producing partners, he co-founded Smoking Dogs Films.
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. In March 2012 he was awarded the European Cultural Foundation's Princess Margriet Award. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from University of the Arts London and Goldsmiths University. In 2014 Akomfrah was awarded and 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, Brown University, New York University, Westminster University, Princeton University.
- Handsworth Songs (1986)
- Testament (1988)
- Who Needs a Heart (1991)
- Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993)
- The Last Angel of History (1996)
- Call of Mist (1998)
- Speak Like a Child (1998)
- Riot (1999)
- The Nine Muses (2010)
- The Stuart Hall Project (2013), relating to the cultural theorist Stuart Hall
- "British Film Institute ScreenOnline biography".
- Childs, Peter; Storry, Mike, eds. (2002). "Akomfrah, John". Encyclopedia of Contemporary British Culture. London: Routledge. pp. 18–19.
- The Grierson Trust.
- Sukhdev Sandhu, "John Akomfrah: migration and memory", The Guardian, 20 January 2012.
- Smoking Dogs Films website.
- British Film Institute Board of Governors.
- "Award-winning film director joins Film London", Film London, 9 August 2004.
- "Full list of New Years' Honours". BBC News.
- Alexis Akwagyiram, "John Akomfrah: Little known, much decorated film-maker", BBC News, 20 March 2012.
- "How to succeed in the arts – UAL’s high profile honourees share their insights", University of the Arts London, 23 August 2013.
- "John Akomfrah and Lina Gopaul", Arts at MIT.
- John Akomfrah at the Internet Movie Database
- Erline Andrews, "Film festival honours influential director", Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, 22 September 2013.