the African Media Program
African Media Program (AMP)
is a project of the
African Studies Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing,
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
AMP is part of the Outreach Program of the MSU Title VI National
Resource Center in African Language and Area Studies.
about the reviewing processes
More about the quality of film and videos about Africa
project has received the assistance of literally hundreds of individuals,
organizations, and firms, not all of which can be acknowledged.
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.
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.
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.
of the AMP. Throughout its existence the AMP has been served by
a number of very able and creative coordinators, including:
One African Media Center (1977-1982)
Diane Pflugrad (1977-1979)
Professor Robert Cancel (1980)
Professor Terry Elkiss (1981)
Aimee Campbel (1982)
Two African Media Program (1992-present)
Professor Maureen Eke (1992-1995)
Laura Arnston (1996-1997)
Tama Hamiton-Wrey (1998-2001)
Melba Lacey (1977-1982)
Joanne Peterson (1992-2002)
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.
Andrews, Noemi Creagan, Carmela Garritano (professor), Chege Githiora
(professor), Getahun Haile, Heather Holtzclaw, Elizabeth MacGonagle
(professor), Tume Thiba (professor).
Assistants: Tashsia McGhee, Kaleiha, McGhee, Elizabeth Mugala, Michael
Ngugi, Nicholas Ngugi, Ciara Royal
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.