African Media Program
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About the African Media Program

The African Media Program (AMP) is a project of the
African Studies Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

The AMP began in 1978 with four years of work to develop a print compendium, Africa on Film and Videotape, 1982. The compendium lists several thousand productions and provides reviews of more than 700 films and videos, reviewed systematically by African graduate students and American specialists on each country.

In 2002 the African Media Program offers an on-line comprehensive reference guide to approximately 10,000 films, videos, and other audiovisual materials concerning Africa (both Sub-Saharan and North Africa). It includes film and video productions made in Africa and around the world.

This new database incorporates and updates material contained in the 1982 print compendium, adds many new reviews, and provides as complete a citation as possible from a wide variety of sources. Citations are uneven because they are drawn from distributors catalogs, film magazines, television schedule listings, promotions of productions on the Internet, and a variety of other sources. As much as possible, we provide the (e.g., title, alternate title, series title, year of release, producer, production company, director, length in minutes, and distributor information). For many of the films and videos, we also offer ratings by our reviewers of the accuracy, organization, photographic quality, audio graphic quality, and editing. For some productions, we also provide synopses, minute-by-minute inventories of the content, critical evaluations, and viewing recommendations.

Our evaluation criteria to guide our reviews focus on their utility in introducing Africa to U.S. audiences. These criteria include: quality of analytical content; timeliness and accuracy; instructional utility; evidence of bias; cinema and audio graphic quality; and adequacy in covering the chosen topic.

This project addresses a clear need to identify and evaluate audiovisual materials concerning Africa, because so many productions in the marketplace are inaccurate, dated, and stereotypical.

The AMP is part of the Outreach Program of the MSU Title VI National Resource Center in African Language and Area Studies.

More about the reviewing processes (coming soon)
More about the quality of film and videos about Africa (coming soon)

Credits and Funders

This project has received the assistance of literally hundreds of individuals, organizations, and firms, not all of which can be acknowledged.


Generous support for both phases of the AMC/AMP project (the completion of the compendium and the current web accessible data-base) was provided by a number of institutions. The National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education, Division of Advanced Training and Research, provided generous support for the first phase of the African Media Center, as it was then called. The U.S. Department of Education through the Program for Internationalizing Undergraduate Education provided support for the development of the current web-based data-base (phase two). In addition, for the past six years the U.S. Department of Education provided partial salary support for the AMP coordinator through a Title VI grant supporting the MSU African Studies Center as a National Resource Center for African Studies.

Michigan State University through Office of the Provost, Office of the Dean for International Studies and Programs, and the African Studies Center provided invaluable support for the project through generous salary support for project administrators and ancillary staff and through the provision of computers and other essential equipment.


Through the two stages of its existence the AMP was directed by David Wiley, who also serves as the principal investigator for the project. In the second and current phase of the project John Metzler, outreach coordinator for the African Studies Center at MSU serves as co-director of the AMP.

Coordinators of the AMP. Throughout its existence the AMP has been served by a number of very able and creative coordinators, including:

Phase One African Media Center (1977-1982)
Diane Pflugrad (1977-1979)
Professor Robert Cancel (1980)
Professor Terry Elkiss (1981)
Aimee Campbel (1982)

Phase Two African Media Program (1992-present)
Professor Maureen Eke (1992-1995)
Laura Arnston (1996-1997)
Tama Hamiton-Wrey (1998-2001)

Office Administrators
Melba Lacey (1977-1982)
Joanne Peterson (1992-2002)

Graduate Assistants provided much of the work that went into the development of the database including reviews and the development of auxiliary materials including curricular guides.

Charmagne Andrews, Noemi Creagan, Carmela Garritano (professor), Chege Githiora (professor), Getahun Haile, Heather Holtzclaw, Elizabeth MacGonagle (professor), Tume Thiba (professor).

Undergraduate Assistants: Tashsia McGhee, Kaleiha, McGhee, Elizabeth Mugala, Michael Ngugi, Nicholas Ngugi, Ciara Royal


Many faculty from MSU and other institutions gave generously of their time to help review films for the AMP. Special appreciation goes to Professor Keyan Tomaselli, University of Natal-Durban, who on three occasions spent a accumulation of more than six months as a visiting scholar associated with the AMP. During these visits he contributed to the direction and development of the second phase of the project and he worked tirelessly to assist in the review of southern African film and video.

The following MSU faculty gave especially large amounts of their time to reviewing films without remuneration: Professors Jay Artis, Jim Bingen, David Campbell, James Cunningham, William Derman, Anne Ferguson, Kenneth Harrow, John Hunter, James Johnson, John Johnson, Assefa Mehretu, Harry Reid, Lawrence Robbins, David Robinson, and Jeffrey Wrey.

A number of faculty from other institutions provided key assistance to the AMP. Of particular importance were the contributions of Professors Joel Samoff (Standford University) and Alan Jacobs (Western Michigan University).

Film/Video Distributors

More than 100 film distributors generously loaned their materials to the AMC/AMP for review without charge and replied freely to our queries, including many of the distributors found on the distributors data-base. We hope their primary reward will be increased circulation of their highly ranked film and videotapes.

Phase One/African Media Center: MSU Instructional Media Center, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Media Resource Center, Southern Africa Media Center/California Newsreel, Icarus Films, Unifilm (formerly Tricontinental Film), Documentary Educational Resources, and our colleagues at Audio-Brandon, Educational Media, Coronet Films, CRM/McGraw Hill Films, EMC Corporation, Encyclopedia Britannica, New Yorker Films, Pennsylvania State University Audio Visual Services, Society for Visual Education, Third World Newsreel, Time-Life Films, the United Nations, and Villion Films.

Phase Two/African Media Program: In addition to many of the same institutions as supported us in the first phase of the project we want to note our appreciation of the special support provided by California Newsreel (with special thanks to our colleague Cornelius Moore), Films for the Humanities, First Run Films, Icarus, and Women Make Films.


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