June Givanni is a pioneering international film curator who has considerable experience in film and broadcasting for over 30 years and she is regarded as a resource for African and African diaspora cinema. She was born in Guyana and grew up in the UK . The development of the Pan African Cinema Archive is based on her collections from years of working in the field of cinema. Her motivation for the archive is to make this valuable heritage collection as widely accessible as possible.
In the early 1980s she was involved in bringing Third Eye London’s first Festival of Third World Cinema, to London and she worked as a film programmer at the Greater London Council’s Ethnic Minorities Unit, at a key development stage for Black British Independent cinema, and Black British art and culture generally. June ran the African Caribbean Film Unit and edited the quarterly Black Film Bulletin; and the book Symbolic Narratives: Africa Cinema at the British Film Institute. She also programmed Planet Africa at The Toronto International Film Festival over 4 years. She has worked as a film curator with festivals on 5 continents – including India – and has been involved in key moments in the development of Pan African cinema on these continents, and the development of the links between them.
June has worked closely with many of the key filmmakers, critics and theorists involved with ‘Black British Cinema’; ‘African Cinema’; ‘Third Cinema’; ‘Caribbean Cinema’; Black Cinema from Europe; and African American Independent Cinema.
On Wednesday, July 4th, 2018 June was honored by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London during the graduation ceremonies of the institution. Other awardees include Academy Award winning artist and social activist Forest Whitaker; writer and activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; world-renowned author Dr Jung Chang; and prominent human rights activist Vrinda Grover.
Baroness Valerie Amos, Director of SOAS, who is also Guyanese, shared the following about the Awards. “At SOAS we are all about societal change and transformation. This year’s honorary awardees have all had a major impact in their areas of expertise and have challenged and continue to challenge conventional perspectives through film, the law and literature. They have deepened our understanding of society, politics, race and gender. They are inspiring role models and we are extremely proud to welcome them to the SOAS community.”
Last month June hosted the June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive (JGPACA). The event featured a kaleidoscope of short films made in the last ten years by African women filmmakers curated by June. JGPACA was established to help bring awareness to the significant contributions to cinema by peoples of the African continent and African diaspora.