Maka, a documentary written by Simone Brioni, associate professor in the Department of English, recently won Best Documentary at two film festivals — the 17th edition of the Integrazione Film Festival, and the 5th edition of the Film Only Film Festival.
Inspired by Reversing the Gaze by Geneviève Makaping, a Cameroonian-Italian anthropologist, writer and the first Black woman to be the director of a newspaper in Italy, Maka explores Makaping’s life in Italy and her perilous migration journey. It speaks out against the media representation of immigrants and offers an evocative examination of the intersection between sexism and racism in Italy. It was directed by Italian director Elia Moutamid and had its North American premiere at the 10th Edition of the Socially Relevant Film Festival NY this past March.
Brioni produced this film with the help of a Stony Brook Foundation Trustees Faculty Award he received in recognition of his engagement to promote diversity and racial awareness. These awards recognize early-career faculty whose research, creative activities and scholarly achievements predict an exceptional trajectory.
Brioni, who is also affiliate faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences Departments of Africana Studies and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, focuses his research on migration studies and postcolonial theory with a particular emphasis on contemporary Italian culture. His work as a filmmaker has focused on colonialism and its important role in establishing institutionalized systems of oppression throughout history, which still have a strong and deep-rooted influence today.
Brioni has written about and puts into practice collaborative approaches to postcolonial studies. Expanding the outreach and impact of postcolonial and decolonial theories to communities beyond the academy is also a thread in his work, in order to seek to collectively redefine the many nuanced “Italian” experiences.
The Integrazione Film Festival is an international competition of short fiction and documentary films dealing with the theme of integration between people of different cultural backgrounds. Sponsored by the Ruah Cooperative with Lab 80 Film and a network of other organizations, the festival was held in Bergamo, Italy from May 8-14, 2023.
The Film Only Film Festival is an ethical and sustainable non-profit online festival and advocacy platform, which promotes human diversity, animal ethics and global sustainability. It celebrates under-represented storytellers from around the world.