On Africa, dirs. Joey Gibbs & Skip Norman, West Germany 1970, 35 min., German
Upon completion of his degree with the DFFB Norman undertook a series of projects that extended the concerns of his student work into even more rigorous and intellectual terrain, with a series of essay films that brought a Marxist, structuralist critique to issues of Black disenfranchisement in both the United States and Africa.
On Africa, co-directed with Joey Gibbs, emerged out of a trip Norman took to West Africa in the late 1960s. Contrasting footage of the German metropole – notably the site of the 1884 conference that divided the African continent among European powers – with archival colonial photography and details of its brutality, it later incorporates striking still photographs Norman captured in his travels. His grounds-eye view is paired with a voice-over detailing the operation of neocolonial banking structures, mining and other means of continued exploitation. Initially produced as one film, before being separated for distribution. Washington D.C. November 1970 and Black Man’s Volunteer Army of Liberation take stock of the nation’s capital early in a new decade, the former contrasting a compendium of notable Black and abolitionist figures and American wars with speakers outside a Black Panther Party registration centre, the latter an examination of a mutual aid network established in D.C. to support drug users, while deconstructing the issue’s root cause.
Dirs. Joey Gibbs & Skip Norman, West Germany 1970, 35 min., German
Washington D.C. November 1970
Dir. Skip Norman, USA 1970, 18 min., English
Black Man’s Volunteer Army of Liberation
Dir. Skip Norman, USA 1970, 43 min., English
Total runtime: 96 min.
All films courtesy Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V.