|‘This season is an
opportunity to celebrate and campaign for a greater appreciation of black
cinema from around the world. To have a fresh look at the past and
present while being able to nurture the new and innovative’, said Amanda
Nevill, director of the British Film Institute (bfi).
‘It’s been in the pipeline really for a few years, but from the ground up it has taken six months,’ says Mike Pearson, the Head of Press and Public Affairs for the bfi.
And it is the bfi that is spearheading this six month programme of appreciation and recognition. As someone said this evening there is already a black cinema to watch, the role of this season that runs from June to November of this year - and takes in African film tours, short season, master classes, debates and music experiences - is to make cinema of the African Diaspora available to a new audience of youth and people who would not ordinarily be able to view such films.
As a criticism there has for too long been a lack of critical and general attention paid to black Diaspora, here the opportunity of retrospectives of renowned directors; fresh, new work in the form of a touring short season; the role of women in African cinema and a look at black music in the history of British television.
There are four key achievements the bfi wish for the season to accomplish:
I. Recognise the contribution of black cinema to the moving image;This has been an impressive group effort put on by the bfi that has involved collaborating with up to 30 media partners (seasons at the Barbican), three new DVD releases, patrons ranging from Spike Lee to June Sarpong, producing a supplement in the July edition of Sight and Sound, special previews, educational seminars and multimedia experiences.
What came across at their press launch is that the amount of effort put in should warrant positive results and coverage of this season will only grow once the website becomes active as of now at www.bfi.org.uk/blackworld http://www.bfi.org.uk/blackworld, but as one source said the problem has and always be that not a lot of people know about the bfi’s intentions and would usually treat with some disdain or see it as jumping on some appeasing bandwagon.
However, when you see the people involved and the amount of enthusiasm and energy they have for a project of this scope and size you cannot help but feel motivated to tell others about it and spread the message of expectancy. Kudos should especially be put to Gylene Gould, the programmer of the season, whose confidence and exuberance was a real positive factor to the evening.
But for all the hard work and group effort elaborated on in the brief talks given this evening, now starts the hard work for the bfi, in being able to spread the message and increase the level of attention given to the event. While tonight was just a launch night, the real sense of community and passion for this event must be spread around. The Blackworld is already here, now we have to embrace it.
Thursday 2nd June
3rd - 30th June
Touring Season (June-October)
Touring Season (September-November)
From June to November, Black World at
the NFT will be hosting an in-depth programme of Black music on British
television. The music genre’s are Hip Hop & Rap (June); Soul
to Funk (July); Calypso, Ska, Reggae & Two Tone (August); Jazz (September)
and Blues (October). From where black music is now to where it all
began, along with introductions and Q&A by industry veterans.
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