Black Films Matter - The rise of black filmmakers telling their own tales at BUFF

Filmmaker Rachel Wang and Dame Jocelyn Barrow

Black lives matter. Fact. And until we recognise that Black lives matter, humanity is in serious trouble. 2016 saw some of the most heinous crimes played out in front of our very eyes, shared vehemently across social media. The mass killings of innocent black men and women became a daily frivolous observation, numbing the shock horror and the realisation that on any given day, any of us could be Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray and Philando Castile.

The British Urban Film Festival supported by BT focuses its friday afternoon schedule (Friday 8th September) on 8 short films which epitomise the desperation, trauma and hurt that the global black community feels and has experienced, mirroring the grief perpetuated for the past 450 years. The revolution of the Black Lives Matter activist group who’s contribution is made explored through STAY WOKE - directed by Laurens Grant which premiered originally on BET, shines a light on the political and social deterioration of the black community in the united states.

STAY WOKE: The Black Lives Matter Movement is an American television documentary film starring Jesse Williams about the Black Lives Matter movement.The phrase "stay woke" refers to an continuing awareness of issues concerning social justice and racial justice and came to widespread use as a result of Black Lives Matter.

SEE YOU YESTERDAY - directed by Stefon Bristol

An exploration of two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, Sebastian Thomas and CJ Walker, determined to outwit fate and role-play as God build a time machine to save CJ's brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by the police.

CREAM - directed by Palesa Lebona

A 1960's period piece about a little dark-skinned girl, torn between her own personal identity and seeking the love and affection from her grandmother. A sad tale of colourism, taking place in Oakland the day after Martin Luther King’s death. Centered around the twisted, brutal relationship between a grandmother and her grand daughter and how it unfolds when her runaway sister who is part of the Black Panthers returns home, seeking refuge after having committed a heinous crime.

BLACKLAND - directed by John Sailsman, the founder and Artist Director of Unity Arts and JUNIOR - directed by Pearl Gluck. The film, which deals with questions of media ethics on reporting racially motivated violence. The film included a guest appearance by Norman Eberly Professor of Practice in Journalism John Dillon.

STREETS PAVED WITH GOLD - directed by Victor Richards

The spoken word video set in the present, but explores recent history from the 1950's onwards. In his one man show, Victor Richards explores African-Caribbean migration, and themes of hope, identity and change. The story line of Streets Paved with Gold weaves together an informative picture of the collective experiences of Black British Citizens resulting from their new surroundings.

JOCELYN - directed by Rachel Wang and Mark Currie brings to the screen Dame Jocelyn Barrow who was knighted for her achievements in race relations. She was one of the founders of the Commission for Racial Equality, and her work has encompassed broadcast, healthcare and housing. She even persuaded the retailers of Oxford Street to let BAME people work on the shop floor as opposed to the stock-room where they had previously been working.

The ensemble of titles exemplifies the immediacy of accurate storytelling, from the perspective of those who have lived through experiences of racial injustice, supported and challenged by activists and the dark senselessness of colourism in the BAME community.

Screening Date: Friday 8th Sept 4-6pm

Venue: BT Tower, 45 Maple Street W1T 4JZ

Tickets and details for the event can be found here: www.britishurbanfilmfestival.co.uk/tickets

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