Dylan Valley: New nGAP member

29 April 2020 | Story Dylan Valley. Photo Supplied. Read time 3 min.
Dylan Valley.
Dylan Valley.

Dylan Valley joined the Centre for Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT) as an nGAP lecturer this year. He is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and a media scholar who views film as a liberatory tool. As an emotive medium, film can be used to move an urgent conversation forward or to correct widely held misperceptions. Valley has done work on revisiting the history of Afrikaans, reframing it as a creole language (Afrikaaps) and has documented urgent responses to police brutality (The Uprising of Hangberg).

Prior to coming to UCT, Valley worked in the Film and Television Department at the Wits School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), where he is registered as a PhD student in media studies at the School of Literature, Language and Media. He is supervised in media studies by Dr Dee Marco. As an academic, he has published in Safundi as well as the interactive online journal Ellipses.

Valley’s PhD research explores how the internet is shaping new forms of film-making on the African continent and in the diaspora, with a particular focus on the ways in which black women are engaging in web series creation as a means to overcome inequities in film and television.

In 2013 Dylan received a Pulitzer fellowship from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, where he received his master’s in specialised journalism. At USC he completed his thesis documentary on the groundbreaking web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. In January 2020, his virtual reality documentary Azibuye – The Occupation premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Sundance, founded by Robert Redford in 1978, is one of the biggest film festivals in the world and is attended not only by film-makers, but also thought leaders from all continents.

 Azibuye – The Occupation was part of the festival’s New Frontiers selection, which showcases projects that use emerging technologies in film and digital storytelling. These are virtual reality, augmented reality and what is now being called extended reality or XR. Azibuye is Valley’s first virtual reality project, and he is planning to do more work in this field, both in research and practice.

Past work

Regarding past work, Valley has directed various documentaries for South African and international television, namely the award-winning Afrikaaps (2010), The Uprising of Hangberg (2010), Jumu’a: The Gathering (2011) and Incarcerated Knowledge (2013). He has also directed two documentary films for the Al Jazeera Documentary Channel (via Hotspot Films, Cairo). 

Valley spent a year as a commissioning editor at the South African Broadcasting Corporation. He is on the editorial board of the critical Pan-African arts, politics and culture blog, Africa is a Country. In his spare time, he collects vinyls and sometimes plays them to an audience. He is looking forward to DJ’ing at the next nGAP party.

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