Face to face event at CO.AS.IT.: documentary screening and Q&A with filmmaker Fred Kuwornu (live Zoom connection from Rome).
Part 2 of the three part series Black Italia. New ways of being Italian explored through arts and activism, presented by Dr Margherita Angelucci (Monash University)
Tuesday 24 May 2022, 6.30-8pm
CO.AS.IT., 199 Faraday Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Registration essential below
Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema is a diasporic, hybrid, historical, critical, and cosmopolitan documentary that uncovers the careers of a group of entertainers seldom heard from before: African-American and African descent actors in Italian cinema.  These engrossing interviews with African-American, Afro-Latino and Afro-Italian actors are interspersed with conversations with international film scholars such as Ruth Ben-Ghiat (NYU), Ed Guerrero (NYU), Shelleen Greene (UCLA) and others. The documentary has been shown in more than 200 academic institutions developing a platform to support advocacy for greater diversity in media. The documentary covers more than a century, from silent and colonial cinema to contemporary cinema. Hundreds of African Italian and African American actors starred in the silent film era, in colonial movies made under Fascism, Neorealist films, in historical and mythological movies, in comedies from the 1960s, in detective films from the 1970s, in Italian B-action movies and in other comedic genres, including the so-called Sexy Comedy Italian style.
Fred Kudjo Kuwornu is an Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker, activist, educator, born and raised in Italy and based in New York. He holds a Master of Arts in Political Science at the University of Bologna, Italy with a focus on sociology and mass communication studies. He is best known as the director of critically acclaimed documentaries such as Blaxploitalian, Inside Buffalo, and 18 Ius Soli. His documentaries deal with political and social themes, such as racism, interracial relations, diversity, Afro-Italians, and Black Diaspora identity in Italy and the African diaspora in the world. In July 2021, he launched the platform BlackItalia.info and, in collaboration with AATI (American Association of Teachers of Italian), “Teaching Black Italy”, a one-week refresher online course for academics teaching in the areas of Italian and Black Studies, which explore the historical and contemporary presence of the African diaspora in Italy. Kuwornu is a D&I consultant for Netflix Italy and other broadcasters in Italy. He co-taught “Black Italian Cinema and Digital Performance” at Colorado College and the University of Minneapolis, and “Documentary Filmmaking” at Middlebury College Italian Summer School. He received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Open Society, and Premio Mutti. He is currently developing We Were There, a feature documentary about the African presence during the Renaissance in Europe.
Dr Margherita Angelucci holds a PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies from Monash University. Her doctoral thesis examined the cultural articulations of youth of African descent in contemporary Italy, focusing in particular on Afroitalian Hip Hop music. Margherita is currently Research Fellow at the Department of Human Centred Computing (Monash University) where she works on projects engaging CALD communities in Victoria.
This series of talks in English, presented by Dr Margherita Angelucci (Monash University), explores themes connected to Blackness in Italy and in the Italian diaspora. The killing of African American man George Floyd on 25 May 2020 in Minneapolis sparked global antiracist demonstrations that had a strong impact in Italy too, with the birth of a Black Lives Matter Italian network and a wide range of cultural initiatives organised by Black Italians. This attracted transnational interest about Afroitalians and their contribution to Italian culture and society, both among scholars and in the wider community. This series responds to the growing interest for new articulations of Italian identity and culture, expanding the definition of who is an Italian and what is Italian culture. The series aims to:
  • Offer a contemporary image of Italy;
  • Reflect upon underrepresented aspects of Italian culture dealing with racial relations in past and present Italy;
  • Explore new ideas of Italianness emerging among second generations in Italy;
  • Generate dialogues between descendants of Italian migrants in Australia and people of migrant background in Italy;
  • Bring prominent Italian intellectuals to the Australian public.
As a non-Afroitalian organiser, the organiser of this series, Dr Margherita Angelucci, acknowledges the need not to speak for Afroitalians and to have Black Italian intellectuals, producers of culture, and activist present to discuss these topics.
Face to face events with live Zoom connections on screen with international guests.
  1. Ius Music: How Afroitalians Are Changing Italian Music (12 April 2022)
  2. Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema (24 May 2022)
  3. Writing Black Italia: from Postcolonial Literature to the Future (16 June 2022 - details forthcoming)
Image: Fred Kuwornu. Photograph courtesy Fred Kuwornu.