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Retake Film and Video Collective

Film Collective

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Retake Film and Video Collective was Britain's first all-Asian collective, and one of the first black workshops set up in the early 1980s. Its work brought British Asian stories to television audiences at a time when Asians seemed to be invisible in contemporary culture, film and television. Original members of the collective were Mahmood Jamal, Ahmed Alauddin Jamal, Asad Qureshi, Latif, Bahauddeen and Sebastian Shah.

Retake was conventional in its approach to established formats, steering clear of the visual and narrative experimentation of other workshops, though its members adhered closely to the ideals of working collaboratively, being democratic and making cultural-political films.

Its first production, the feature film Majdhar (d. Ahmed Alauddin Jamal, 1984) starred Rita Wolf in the coming-of-age story of a young Pakistani woman, brought to England for an arranged marriage. After this auspicious beginning, Retake made documentaries about the negative aspects of life in Britain for Asians, such as Living in Danger (Channel 4, tx. 13/8/1984), Hotel London (d. Ahmed Alauddin Jamal, 1987) and An Environment of Dignity (Channel 4, tx. 22/6/1987), all three films dealing with racism and housing issues. Productions such as Behind the Veil (d. Sabiha Sumar, 1988) looked at the impact of fundamentalist Islam on women in Pakistan. Retake won the 1988 British Film Institute award for independent film and television production.

In the early '90s, Ahmed Alauddin Jamal and Asad Qureshi continued to make films and documentaries about the British Asian experience with offshoot company First Take Pictures.

Ann Ogidi

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Selected credits

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