During the upcoming IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the festival will show the documentary series O.J.: Made in America by director Ezra Edelman. The series follows the rise and fall of American football player O.J. Simpson against the background of the history of race relations in Los Angeles.
The series will be shown within the context of the themed program Shifting Perspectives, in which IDFA will investigate the role of opinion-shaping in terms of the way we see and think about race and identity, as well as the perspectives from which we do so.
Alongside a program of films and debates in De Kleine Komedie theatre, IDFA’s partner locations Bijlmer Parktheater, Podium Mozaïek and Tolhuistuin will also present their own sidebars dealing with this theme.
The starting point for Shifting Perspectives is formed by the centuries-old historical relationships between Africa, Europe and the United States and how these still influence relations in our world today – both between countries and continents and between people within societies. Central to the program is the role of opinion-shaping in the way we look at and think about race and identity and the perspectives from which we do so. The program consists of new and classic documentaries which show how the history of colonialism, the slave trade and slavery, as well as racial segregation, continue to influence our social, cultural, economic and political relations today.
In O.J.: Made in America (USA, 2016), institutional racism in America is investigated using the example of the infamous case against O.J. Simpson, which became one of the biggest media spectacles of the 1990s. In the series, the case against Simpson, suspected of murder, and his final acquittal are set against the background of decades of police violence against black residents of Los Angeles. The 7.5-hour documentary series will be screened in its entirety on Saturday 19 November in De Kleine Komedie, followed by an extensive discussion with director Ezra Edelman.
Handsworth Songs (UK, 1987) talks from the perspective of filmmaker John Akomfrah, one of the founders of the Black Audio Film Collective, about the social unrest in England in the 1980s and the way this was reported in the mainstream media.
The shifts in social, economic and political relations in South Africa following the abolition of Apartheid are examined in three documentaries from different periods: Men of Gold (South Africa, 2005) by Vincent Moloi; A Letter to Nelson Mandela (South Africa, 2013) by Khalo Matabane and The Giant is Falling (South Africa, 2016) by Rehad Desai.
The documentaries will be screened from November 17 to 19, followed by discussions with the filmmakers present.