Jenn Nkiru to deliver closing keynote at PromaxBDA Africa 2018


The creative industry is buzzing in the lead up to the 2018 PromaxBDA Africa conference and awards, set to take place on 8 November at The Maslow Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg. As always, the event will bring together and celebrate top South African and African creatives working in on-air marketing, branding and design of television and video content on all platforms.

Every year, the PromaxBDA Africa conference programme is carefully curated with the sole purpose to inspire and motivate. Local and international creatives who have and continue to deliver excellence in the field and push boundaries are handpicked to speak at the conference.

This year is no different, with the incredibly impressive Jenn Nkiru – an artist and director from London, UK – set to deliver the closing keynote address, titled A New Black Renaissance.

Nkiru is a visionary artist and director from London. Represented globally by Iconoclast, this year alone she has been named one of 200 women redefining the creative industry by creative network The Dots, and one of 100 global Creative Superheroes shaping culture by Utopia.

An MFA film graduate of Howard University, Nkiru’s first film En Vogue, shot by Bradford Young and Arthur Jafa, screened internationally gaining critical acclaim. Last year Iconoclast, with Nkiru, produced Rebirth is Necessary; a dreamlike art film centred on the magic and dynamism of Blackness – past, present and future. The film went on to win the Canal + award at the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival, Best Documentary at the London Independent Film Festival, and nominee of the 2018 Best Short Film award at Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival. Rebirth is Necessary recently won the 2018 Voice of a Woman award at Cannes. It has been screened internationally – from The Museum of Modern Art (MOCA, LA) to the ICA in London, to the Rotterdam Film Festival in Amsterdam – and introduced the London premiere of Black Panther at the BFI.

Recent collaborators include shooting 2nd unit for Beyonce & Jay-Z’s latest internet-breaking video sensation ‘Apeshit’, shot in Paris, directed by Ricky Saiz.

As a founding curator of Boiler Room’s new video platform 4:3, alongside Elijah Wood, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Peaches, Nkiru recently curated a season titled Afrofrequency which features works from John Akomfrah and Flying Lotus amongst others. Nkiru launched the season this September in London with a special evening and in-conversation with Grammy nominated artist Janelle Monae.

Vanessa Sheldrick, event director, PromaxBDA Africa comments: “Jenn is a fierce, fresh voice in African filmmaking in the diaspora. We are so excited to have her speak at this year’s conference, as she stands on the launchpad of what is, undoubtably, going to be a stellar career.”

Nkiru’s keynote session at PromaxBDA Africa 2018 will explore, through a showcase of her work anchored in the philosophies of the godfather of African cinema, Djibril Diop Mambety, how a new diasporic black renaissance is taking place globally and how artists who fall into this movement are taking up space and reshaping contemporary images of blackness within art, film and culture like never seen before.

Nkiru will round off her closing keynote – sponsored by the South African Broadcasting Corporation – with a Q&A session.

“We are super excited to have Jenn joining us this year. She is part of a movement of young creatives that are shifting and challenging the industry on a global scale, we look forward to her unique insights and can’t wait to be inspired by this acclaimed and influential director,” comments Tim Horwood, PromaxBDA Africa chairman.



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