Mozambique Film Project

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Duration: 1971 - 1978
Location: New York, New York, United States


The Mozambique Film Project was led by Robert F. Van Lierop., an African-American lawyer who gave up his law practice to make the film A Luta Continua (The Struggle Continues) about liberation struggle in Mozambique that was released in 1972. The film footage was shot in 1971 when Van Lierop and another African-American, Bob Fletcher, traveled with FRELIMO in the liberated areas of Mozambique. The film depicts the armed struggle against Portuguese colonialism and FRELIMO's work to improve the status of women and provide to the needs of the people including schools, heath programs and agriculture in the liberated areas. The film was shown widely in the U.S. by groups supporting struggles against Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau, as well as those working on the liberation of Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. Copies were also smuggled into Portugal. A film guide was produced by the Africa Information Service, which was formed to continue the work of the Mozambique Film Project and the Boston-based Africa Research Group. After Mozambique won its political independence on June 25, 1975, Van Lierop, Fletcher and Irvin Smalls returned to Mozambique and made a sequel, O Povo Organizado (The People Organized) (1976). The film depicts the continuing nature of Mozambique's social revolution. Premieres held in cities in the United States and Canada were attended by nearly 10,000 people and viewed by television audiences of over 2 million. More than $48,000 was raised at film showings. All the funds were sent to Mozambique and used in building a health clinic in rural Niassa province. Subsequently the Mozambique Film Project organized a delegation of U.S. activists on Southern Africa to visit Mozambique. This visit led to expanding ongoing work to help free Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, as well as support for the new government in Angola. (Source: Anti-Apartheid Activities in the United States: A Rising Tide by Prexy Nesbitt, Statement before the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid, December 12, 1977; interview with Robert F. Van Lierop on the No Easy Victories website; and Robert F. Van Lierop)

Related Archive
Title: Van Lierop (papers); Robert
Time Span: 1968 - 1988
Media: Papers collection: 4.2 linear feet. Photo collection: 54, items (2 liner feet, 1 box). A Luta Continua: 1 film reel (36 minutes), 16 mm.
Description: The personal archives of Robert F. Van Lierop, an African American political activist and filmmaker. The archive documents his activities as a political activist on behalf of liberation movements in Southern Africa and East Timor, as an independent filmmaker and television producer, and as the Permanent Representative of Vanuatu at the United Nations. Robert Van Lierop began his professional career in 1967 as an Assistant Counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the areas of civil rights and school desegregation. He founded the Mozambique Film Project and traveled to Africa in 1971 and produced his first film on the struggle for independence in Mozambique, A Luta Continua based on footage shot inside the liberated areas. A second film, O Povo Organizado, was completed in 1976 after Mozambique’s independence. As co-producer of "Like It Is," a weekly black television new and documentary program, he produced several documentaries, including an analysis of the United Nations and a conference on Southern Africa. He also conducted two delegations of African-American activists and professionals to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Cuba in 1978 and 1979. The collection consists, for the most part, of correspondence, reports, memoranda, draft articles and speeches, research materials and printed matter. Organizations represented in the collection include: the American Committee on Africa, the Pan-African Solidarity Committee, and the Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement, a group that opposed Polaroid's and other American corporate investments in South Africa. More recent files relate to East Timor and its struggle against Indonesian aggression, to Zimbabwe and Vanuatu, and to the tenth Pan-African Festival of Cinema, held in Burkina Faso in 1987. Photographs separated to Photographs and Prints Division see Robert Van Lierop photograph collection . Films have been separated: A Luta Continua, see <a data-cke-saved-href="http://nypl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/14046128052_a_luta_continua target=" href="http://nypl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/14046128052_a_luta_continua target=" _blank"=""> A Luta continua and O Povo Organizado (The People Organized) see O Povo Organizado (Source: Schomburg finding aid/catalog record and Robert F. Van Lierop.)
Housed At: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Location: The New York Public Library, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801, United States
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Restrictions: Some material off site, contact in advance
Phone: (212) 491-2200
Related Website: http://www.nypl.org/research/sc/sc.html