Josef Gugler African and Middle Eastern Film Collection, 1947-2013COL 12

A Guide to His Holdings at the Indiana University Black Film Center & Archive

Finding aid created by: Finding aid prepared by BFCA Staff

Creator Gugler, Josef
Title: Josef Gugler African and Middle Eastern Film Collection
Dates: 1947-2013
Quantity: 12 boxes
Quantity: 1149 posters
Quantity: 416 audiovisual recordings
Abstract: The Josef Gugler collection consists of promotional materials for films produced in or directed by filmmakers from Africa and the Middle East. Over 500 unique films by approximately 350 film directors are represented. Formats include film posters, pressbooks, chirashi flyers, lobby and storefront cards, handbills, photographs, slides, and audiovisual recordings.
Language: Materials are in multiple languages, predominantly French, English, and German, but also Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, and various other European and Asian languages.
Repository: Black Film Center/Archive

Biographical History

In summer 2015 University of Connecticut Professor Emeritus Josef Gugler donated his collection of research materials related to African and Middle Eastern film to the BFC/A. Much of Gugler's research and the resulting publications have focused on issues arising from the urbanization of developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 1961 he has performed research or served as a visiting lecturer/professor in Nigeria, Tanzania, the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Senegal.

In 1991 Gugler began teaching a course called "Modern Africa: Re-Imaging Africa through Films and Novels" at the University of Connecticut. The posters, films, videos, and other promotional materials donated to the BFC/A served to support his research and coursework on African film and led to the publication of his African Film: Re-Imaging a Continent (Indiana University Press 1993, reprinted 2003). Later, Gugler's research interests in international film expanded to North Africa and the Middle East. Additional publications related to Gugler's work on African film and his more recent exploration of Middle Eastern film are listed below.

Gugler's awards and honors include and a senior fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies (1980-1981), a Choice Outstanding Academic Book award for The Urban Transformation of the Developing World (1997), a National Science Foundation Dissertation Grant for Monibo A. Sam (1997), and grants from Cologne University and the French Government (1957-1958), the German Research Association (1961-1963, 1987-1991), the University of Connecticut Research Foundation (1969-2001), and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the State Deparment (2001-2004).

Josef Gugler Partial Curriculum Vitae

2010 Member of the jury for fiction films at PanAfrica International, Montreal
2001--2004 Grant for linkage between the University of Connecticut and the Ecole Nationale d'Economie Appliquée, Senegal, from the Bureau of Educational and Cutlural Affairs of the State Department
1989 Research on urbanization in Kenya
1987 Research on urbanization in Nigeria
1964--1970 Lecturer, then Director of Sociological Research (Makerere Institute of Social Research) at Makerere University College (Uganda); Research on ubanization in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania
1968 Visiting Professor at Lovanium University Kinshasa (Congo); Visiting Senior Lecturer at the University College, Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
1961--1963 Research in Nigeria, Cologne, and Lond on urbanization in Nigeria
1959 Dr. rer. pol. (Ph.D. in Socology), University of Cologne, Germany
1955 Diplomvolkswirt (M.A. in Economics), LMU Munich University, Germany

Scope and Content Note

The Josef Gugler collection consists of promotional materials for films produced in or directed by filmmakers from Africa and the Middle East. Over 500 unique films by approximately 350 film directors are represented. Formats include film posters, pressbooks, chirashi flyers, lobby and storefront cards, handbills, photographs, slides, and audiovisual recordings. Also represented in the collection are promotional materials for films treating Middle Eastern and African diasporic communities in Europe and films by American and Western European directors depicting the Middle East and Africa such as Lawrence of Arabia and Out of Africa.

The posters in the collection range from 14 x 10 inches to a 78 x 54.75-inch poster of Campo Thiaroye by Sembène Ousmane. The majority, however, are a mix of sizes ranging from approximately 21 x 16 inches to approximately 62 x 47 inches. The posters were printed and distributed throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and North America. Approximately half of the posters have text in French. Most of the other half consists of posters in English and German. The remaining 55 items are in Arabic, Bambara, Croatian, Czech, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish. The original release dates of the posters go back as early as 1947 (Ibrahim Emaras's Akhaam al-Arab, aka The Wisest Arab), but the majority were released between 1962 and 2010. The most commonly represented countries of production include France, Algeria, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, and Turkey, but over three dozen additional countries are also represented.

A similar distribution of countries, languages, and dates exists for the pressbooks, chirashi flyers, handbills, press kits, lobby cards, and photographic materials, although the variety is somewhat less due to the smaller number of items for each format.

The photographic materials include 41 prints of African filmmakers Moussa Sene Absa, Flora Gomes, Dani Koyaté, Sarah Maldoror, Isrissa Ouédraogo, Ousmane Sembène, Ingrid Sinclair, and Cheik Oumar Sissoko. These mostly appear to be candid shots and include photos of Sissoko and Ouédraogo receiving awards for their films at FESPACO. The remaining items are prints and slides of film and production stills for approximately sixty different films.

Most notable among the audiovisual materials are 16 mm prints of three of Ousmane Sembène's films: Mandabi,Tauw, and Xala, as well as Sara Maldoror's Sambizanga and an episode of the BBC television show Woza Albert! Also included in this series are over 200 commercial DVDs and VHS tapes, two dozen soundtracks on LP and CD, a dozen electronic press kits, and 142 VHS and DVD-R/CD-Rs that appear to be duplicates of other items or preview and screening copies from various filmmakers and production companies.


This collection is arranged into the following three series:

* Subseries 3.1. Pressbooks, approximately 1954-2012
* Subseries 3.2. Chirashi flyers, approximately 1960s-2010
* Subseries 3.3. Handbills, 1950-2010, bulk 1982-2011
* Subseries 3.4. Press kits, 1962-2006
* Subseries 3.5. Lobby cards, store front cards, and oversized publicity photos, 1966-2010
* Subseries 3.6. Photographic materials, 1958-2004
* Subbseries 3.7. Miscellaneous


Access Restrictions: The materials in this collection are open to the public.

Usage Restrictions: Materials may be used in-house at the BFCA; duplication permitted only with permission of the Archivist. Use of audiovisual materials may require the creation of a reference copy. If you wish to preview a VHS recording in this collection, please contact the BFCA staff well in advance of your visit.

Subject Headings


Africans in Motion pictures
Arabs in Motion pictures
Jews in Motion pictures
Motion pictures, African
Motion pictures, Arab

Genres and Forms



In 2022, the Black Film Center/Archive (BFC/A) transitioned to its current name, the Black Film Center & Archive (BFCA). This finding aid was created under the organizational name Black Film Center/Archive. Upon this organizational name change, all previous references to the BFC/A were updated in this finding aid to match the current name, Black Film Center & Archive.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[item], Josef Gugler African and Middle Eastern Film Collection, Special Collection COL 12, Black Film Center & Archive, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Acquisition Information

The material in this collection was donated by Josef Gugler to the Indiana University Black Film Center & Archive in summer 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Ronda L. Sewald.

Completed in 2016.

Josef Gugler's Publications on Film

Ten Arab Filmmakers: Political Dissent and Social Critique, edited by Josef Gugler. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press. 2015.Film in the Middle East and North Africa: Creative Dissidence, edited by Josef Gugler. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Cairo: American University in Cairo Press. 2011."African Films in the Classroom" African Studies Review 53 (3): 1-17, 2010."Ali Zaoua: The Harsh Life of Street Children and the Poetics of Childhood" Journal of North African Studies 12 (3): 369-379, 2007. Reprinted pages 93-103 in North African Cinema in a Global Context: Through the Lens of Diaspora, edited by Andrea Khalil, London / New York: Routledge, 2008."Cinema of Revolution," pages 139-153 in Revolutionary Movements in World History: From 1750 to the Present, edited by James V. Defronzo, Santa Barbara / Denver / Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2006."Fiction, Fact, and the Responsibility of the Critic: Camp de Thiaroye, Yaaba, and The Gods Must Be Crazy," pages 69-85 in Focus on African Film, edited by Françoise Pfaff, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.African Film: Re-Imagining a Continent, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Cape Town: David Philip, Oxford: James Currey, 2003."Images of Villages in Four Recent African Films" pages 501-525 in African Writers and Their Readers: Essays in Honor of Bernth Lindfors, volume 2, edited by Toyin Falola and Barbara Harlow, Trenton, NJ / Asmara: Africa World Press, 2002."The Blue Eyes of Yonta," "Kongi's Harvest," and "Yaaba" in International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers 1: Films, edited by Tom Pendergast and Sara Pendergast, fourth edition, Detroit: St. James Press, 2000."African Writing Projected onto the Screen: Sambizanga, Xala, and Kongi's Harvest"African Studies Review 42(1): 79-104, 1999."Ousmane Sembène's Xala: The Novel, the Film, and Their Audiences" (with Oumar Cherif Diop) Research in African Literatures 29(2): 147-158, 1998."Wole Soyinka's Kongi's Harvest from Stage to Screen: Four Endings to Tyranny" Canadian Journal of African Studies 31: 32-49, 1997.

Table of Contents

1. Posters approximately 1954-2012

2. Audiovisual recordings approximately 1968-2013

3. Small format publicity materials 1950-2012

1. Posters approximately 1954-2012
2. Audiovisual recordings approximately 1968-2013
3. Small format publicity materials 1950-2012