BFI launches Black Star, the UK’s biggest ever celebration of black screen actors

Season highlights will include Boys N the Hood and In the Heat of the Night back on screens across the UK, a Desmond’s reunion event, and a BFI London Film Festival global symposium event examining on-screen representation.


At a special event held at BFI Southbank in London with comedian Gina Yashere and DJ Norman Jay MBE, the BFI tonight unveiled Black Star, the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors. Black Star celebrates the relationship between stars and the audiences who love them, spotlighting great performances by black actors on screen.

Heather Stewart, Creative Director of the BFI said:

“Imagine cinema history without Paul Robeson, Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier, Pam Grier, and Samuel L Jackson – some of the greatest actors to light up our screens with their charisma and talent. Now imagine how much richer our shared memory would be, had the opportunities available to black actors matched their abilities. With Black Star we are celebrating great performances and bringing them back to the big screen for everyone to enjoy. And we are also asking searching questions, of our industry and of ourselves, driven by a passion to meet the expectations of audiences who rightly expect to see their stories and aspirations reflected on screen.”

Black Star aims to bring strong characters and trail-blazing performances to the widest possible audience. The season will spotlight:

  • The leading men of classic Hollywood cinema; from Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier to Jamie Foxx and the hugely popular Samuel L Jackson
  • The star as political activist; the great Paul Robeson and Lena Horne through to Danny Glover and Beyoncé
  • Stars who have gone on to be major power players, who can open films, get films made, from Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith to Denzel Washington
  • Powerful and glamorous female stars who have created memorable big screen icons, from Dorothy Dandridge to Oscar-winning Halle Berry
  • British home grown talent with star power who have gained international acclaim and found significant leading roles in the US: Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sophie Okonedo and David Oyelowo
  • The star names who have dominated music and film stories, from Sammy Davis Jnr through to Diana Ross and Motown, to Ice Cube and Hip Hop
  • The stars who have created a powerfully subversive take on the black star as entertainer; comedians including Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg and Eddie Murphy
  • Black rebels and Blaxploitation icons; Mario van Peebles, Fred Williamson and Pam Grier
  • A story of new and emerging talent, John Boyega, Michael B. Jordan, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Lupita Nyong’o
  • Pioneering Afro-Caribbean stars who transformed the face of British film and television, like Earl Cameron, Carmen Munroe, Norman Beaton and Lenny Henry
  • And celebrating the stars emerging out of the fast-growing film industry and new star system of Nollywood, including Nse Ikpe-Etim

Boyz n the Hood (1991)

Boyz n the Hood (1991)

Black Star champions the achievements of black stars from the earliest years of cinema through to the present day, whilst exploring why opportunities to shine on screen have been historically limited for black actors. Black Star celebrates films that feature black actors in central roles, bringing their work to a new generation of UK audiences and helping to reposition them and their performances in our collective memory.

Black Star Programmer, Ashley Clark said: “Black Star shows us many stories of black stardom, on both sides of the Atlantic. From cinema’s earliest trail-blazers to today’s transatlantic stars, I’m excited for audiences to enjoy icons, heroes and heroines back on the big screen where they belong.”

Black Star will be available to audiences everywhere in the UK; in cinemas including BFI Southbank, on BBC Television, on DVD/Blu-ray and online via BFI Player from 17 October – 31 December, with further projects planned to celebrate the contribution of black practitioners working across film and TV in the coming years.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Highlights of BFI Black Star include:

  • The release of two major films into cinemas across the UK (with a third to be announced soon):
     — John Singleton’s game-changing, Oscar®-nominated Boyz n the Hood (1991), starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long and Angela Bassett, will be re-released during the season in association with Park Circus and Sony Pictures
     — Park Circus will re-release Norman Jewison’s multi Oscar®-winning In the Heat of the Night (1967), starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger and Warren Oates
  • Over 275 bespoke screenings and events in over 90 different locations right across the UK, delivered through the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) and its partners
  • A new audience-led poll to discover the British public’s Best Black Screen Performances of All Time, with two of the top films brought to major, independent and community cinemas across the UK, through a partnership with the Independent Cinema Office (ICO)
  • Black Star events at BFI Southbank include a special on-stage reunion with Trix Worrell, the creator of Desmond’s and members of the cast including Carmen Munroe and Robbie Gee
  • An agenda-setting Symposium event at the BFI London Film Festival (LFF) – the UK’s leading film festival — bringing together leading international filmmakers and industry professionals from both sides of the Atlantic to question why opportunities for black actors to shine on screen in the US and the UK remain limited and ask what more can be done to effect positive change
  • NET.WORK@LFF – the BFI’s intensive four day professional development programme for exciting UK-based writers and directors, which takes place at the BFI London Film Festival will be focused on supporting BAME filmmakers for its 2016 edition
  • Landmark two-month film season at BFI Southbank, programmed by Ashley Clark, exploring the rich history of ‘transatlantic stardom’ and focusing on key historical moments and important stars for British audiences
  • A major multi-channel editorial partnership with BBC Radio and TV, including Black Star Movie Night on BBC Two in November, films on BBC iPlayer, and a broadcast of a Paul Robeson documentary
  • New BFI Blu-ray and DVD releases including the first ever Dual Format Edition of The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992), and Blu-ray release of Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954); Dual Format Editions of Odds Against Tomorrow (Robert Wise, 1959) and Paris Blues (Martin Ritt, 1961); DVD release of The Glass Shield (Charles Burnett, 1994); separate Blu-ray and DVD box sets of Pioneers of African-American Cinema
  • A new BFI book, the Black Star Compendium, from a hand-picked selection of outstanding cultural writers, investigating the history and responding to the theme of black stardom in film and TV, to be published on 17 October
  • An extensive collection of over 50 titles made available online to audiences through BFI Player
  • An exciting education programme in partnership with Into Film which includes a dedicated strand at the Into Film Festival, featuring contemporary black British talent and a BFI Schools event with Floella Benjamin

Back on the big screen — UK-wide releases

The BFI will re-release, in association with Park Circus and Sony Pictures, John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood (1991), depicting life in South Central LA, and starring Ice Cube in his first screen role alongside Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. Writer-director John Singleton was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, making him the youngest ever nominee for Best Director at just 24, and the first African-American to be nominated for the award. Also being re-released during the season will be the powerful thriller In The Heat of the Night (Norman Jewison, 1967) starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger as a homicide detective and a bigoted local sheriff who must work together to solve a murder investigation. The film will be re-released by Park Circus in selected cinemas across the UK.  A third major re-release will also be included in the project and will be announced in due course.

BFI London Film Festival

Following the great success of the global symposium in partnership with Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Women in Film & TV at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival (LFF), the Festival will once again host an agenda-setting Symposium, to drive forward industry debate about representation on the big screen. The Symposium will be attended by invited guests from across the UK’s film sector (including producers, directors, writers, commissioners, financiers, distributors and exhibitors), as well as visiting international filmmakers and industry professionals. It is intended to stimulate debate and support change, complementing the work of the BFI Film Fund’s Diversity Standards.

A United Kingdom (2016)

A United Kingdom (2016)

The LFF’s public programme will open with A United Kingdom (dir. Amma Asante) starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike (on general release in the UK from 25 November) and announced today as one of the Festival’s headline galas is Queen of Katwe (dir. Mira Nair) also starring David Oyelowo alongside Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

NET.WORK@LFF is at the very heart of the BFI London Film Festival’s (LFF) industry programme. For the third year running, BFI NET.WORK in conjunction with the LFF will provide a unique opportunity for up to 15 UK writers and directors to participate in masterclasses, screenings, events and one to ones with international film industry professionals. For 2016 applications will be open to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic filmmakers based in the UK who have already built an exciting body of professional work. The intensive four day event combines masterclasses, private screenings, facilitated networking and one-to-ones with exclusive opportunities to meet and interact with leading international filmmakers and industry executives attending the Festival. NET.WORK participants from across the UK will also have special access to select events in the Festival’s industry programme.

The Best Black Screen Performances of All Time

BFI will launch a new audience-led poll to find the Best Black Screen Performances of All Time. The poll will be supported by a video campaign #MyBlackStar, in which we ask British and international talent about the black stars who influenced them.

BFI Southbank season

The landmark film season at BFI Southbank, programmed by Ashley Clark and running from 17 October – 31 December, is themed to enable audiences to easily explore different areas of black stardom, from the rich history of ‘transatlantic stardom’ and the early years of Hollywood, to Baadasssss rebels and the stars of black comedies and romances. There will be focuses on key black stars from both sides of the Atlantic, including Paul Robeson, Pam Grier, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dorothy Dandridge and David Oyelowo.

Immortal Incarnations includes films in which black stars take on iconic roles based on legendary historical figures. Examples include Denzel Washington as the eponymous Malcolm X (1992) in Spike Lee’s Academy Award®-nominated biopic, Will Smith as the late, great Muhammad Ali in Michael Mann’s Ali (2001) and the all-star cast of Dreamgirls (Bill Condon, 2006), based on the story of Diana Ross and The Supremes and starring Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé Knowles and Eddie Murphy.

Trailblazers: Hollywood and Beyond includes early examples of black cast movies, such as Stormy Weather (Andrew L. Stone, 1943) starring Lena Horne and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson; and close-ups on Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge, who starred together in Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954) and Island in the Sun (Robert Rossen, 1957), as well as Oscar®-winning star Sidney Poitier, whose films No Way Out (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950), In the Heat of the Night (Norman Jewison, 1967) and A Raisin in the Sun – which also stars Ruby Dee and Claudia McNeil – will screen during the season.

Dreamgirls (2006)

Dreamgirls (2006)

Transatlantic Trailblazers focuses on actors who made the move across the Atlantic (in both directions). The towering Paul Robeson, who took a central role in the Civil Rights Movement, found fame in the UK, particularly in Welsh mining communities where The Proud Valley (1940) – which will screen in the season from newly remastered material – was shot on location. Also screening will be the Robeson films Song of Freedom (J. Elder Wills, 1936), Show Boat (James Whale, 1936), Body and Soul (Oscar Micheaux, 1925) and Jericho (Thornton Freeland, 1937). British transatlantic trailblazers include Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Oyelowo, both successful UK actors to have found fame in the US with powerful historical roles in the Oscar®-winning 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013) and Golden Globe®-nominated Selma (Ava DuVernay, 2014) respectively.

Black Star Heores and Heroines will include a focus on the Baadasssss rebels of films such as Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (Melvin van Peebles, 1971) and Shaft (Gordon Parks, 1971); plus a look at the enduring influence of Blaxploitation in films such as Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) and Black Dynamite (Scott Sanders, 2009), and a focus on the ultimate Blaxploitation star Pam Grier in Foxy Brown (Jack Hill, 1974). BFI Southbank’s regular cult strand will also take on the theme of black star heroes and heroines with screenings of experimental horror Ganja and Hess (Bill Gunn, 1973) and comic book favourite Blade (Stephen Norrington, 1998). Completing the theme will be screenings of neo-noirs such as Seven (David Fincher, 1995) and of films from the Rocky franchise which focus on the Creed dynasty – Rocky III (Sylvester Stallone, 1982) starring Carl Weathers (alongside actor-director Sylvester Stallone) as Apollo Creed, and Creed (Ryan Coogler, 2015) in which rising-star Michael B. Jordan plays Apollo’s son Adonis Johnson Creed.

Foxy Brown (1974)

Foxy Brown (1974)

Black Love will focus on sweepingly romantic films from the post-She’s Gotta Have It-era whose charismatic stars have enormous popularity with audiences; from Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs in Brown Sugar (Rick Famuyiwa, 2002) to Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson in Top Five (Chris Rock, 2014). Plus a close-up focus on Whitney Houston, with screenings of The Bodyguard (Mick Jackson, 1992) and Waiting to Exhale (Forest Whitaker, 1995) in which she co-stars with Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon.

The Bodyguard (1992)

The Bodyguard (1992)

Off the Beaten Track: Black Stars in Independent Films will include screenings of Claudine (John Berry, 1974) starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones, Blue Collar (Paul Schrader, 1980) starring Richard Pryor, To Sleep with Anger (Charles Burnett, 1990) starring Danny Glover, and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Jim Jarmusch, 1999) starring Forest Whitaker. There will also be a focus on Bermudan actor Earl Cameron, whose breakthrough role was in thriller Pool of London (Basil Dearden, 1951), set in post-war London and involving racial prejudice, romance and a diamond robbery.

Black Comedy Stars such as Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg and Eddie Murphy lead the charge in this section of the programme; from Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (Jeff Margolis, 1979) to Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (Bill Duke, 1993) and Coming to America (John Landis, 1988). This section also includes classics like Car Wash (Michael Schultz, 1976) and sharp satire Hollywood Shuffle (Robert Townsend, 1987).

Hip Hop Film Stardom will be a weekend of events at BFI Southbank and cinemas around the UK, taking us back to the thrilling days when Hip Hop stars first made bold, successful moves into acting. Screenings include BFI re-release Boyz N The Hood (John Singleton, 1991) and Friday (F. Gary Gray, 1995), both starring Ice Cube, and Gridlock’d (Vondie Curtis-Hall, 1997) starring Tupac Shakur.

Television is key to the Black Star programme. The ground-breaking and much-loved Channel 4 series Desmond’s (1989-1994) will be celebrated through a special on-stage cast reunion event. Sunday Night Theatre: Mrs Patterson (BBC, 1956), a play about race and adolescence in the Deep South by the African-American painter-playwright Charles Sebree and Greer Johnson and starring Eartha Kitt and Elisabeth Welch, was something of a landmark in an era when plays on British television were almost exclusively written by white authors. Black Christmas (BBC, 1977), directed by Stephen Frears and starring Carmen Munroe and Norman Beaton (who would later go on to star together in Desmond’s), is an understated and affecting study of relationships, unexpressed pain and a tormented nostalgia for a distant home, manifesting at a Christmas family get-together. Norman Beaton also stars alongside Rudolph Walker in Big George is Dead (C4, 1987); the latter playing a former trickster who, upon returning to England from Trinidad and Tobago for one night only, finds that friends and communities have moved on in his absence. Also screening will be Wednesday Play: Fable (BBC, 1965), a powerful and controversial drama which, inspired by events in South Africa (then at the height of Apartheid), attempted to examine race relations in Britain by imagining the country under a brutal, black-dominated authoritarian regime.

Regular BFI strands such as BFI Flare and BFI Families will also be represented in Black Star. BFI Flare screenings will include The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1996), The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992) and Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingstone, 1991), while BFI Families screenings will include The Wiz (Sidney Lumet, 1978) and Home (Tim Johnson, 2015).

Ali (2001)

Ali (2001)

BFI Southbank events

The Nollywood Star – Nse Ikpe-Etim in Conversation – Nigerian screen queen Nse Ikpe-Etim reflects on her career and the Nollywood star system in conversation with Nadia Denton. One of Nigeria’s most sought-after actresses, Nse is known for her roles in popular Nigerian films such as Mr. And Mrs., Phone Swap and Fifty. Her recent work includes Tess (Dir. Meg Rickards) based on the novel Whiplash (Tracey Farren) in which she plays a refugee who comes to South Africa after suffering the horrors of war-time in the Congo.

The Doctor’s Orders, Time Out’s ‘kings of the capital’s Hip Hop scene’ join BFI Southbank to present a range of club nights for adults, a Hip Hop pub quiz to celebrate the BFI’s re-release of Boyz N The Hood, and a special Sunday morning club event called Fun DMC, for kids and parents, to accompany BFI Family screenings. The Doctor’s Orders’ Spin Doctor will also create a special Hip Hop soundtracks mix in association with Mixcloud to celebrate the BLACK STAR season.

Black Star programmer Ashley Clark will introduce a special screening of Spike Lee’s scathing satire of race and the media Bamboozled (2000), and be present afterwards for a signing of his book Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (The Critical Press).

Events across the UK, in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network

The BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) will deliver over 275 bespoke screenings and events in over 90 different locations right across the UK.

Multiple locations: DJ Norman Jay MBE will tour five venues with a series of films that star actors such as Sidney Poitier, and Blaxploitation classic Shaft with Richard Rowntree. Jay will introduce each film, explaining the influences these stars have had on his career and life, and provide a DJ set incorporating rare soundtracks from the history of black cinema at venues in London, Leeds, Exeter, Manchester and Bristol.

UK-wide: Picturehouse Cinemas presents The Fabulous Nicholas Brothers – a rare and entertaining look at African-American artists the Nicholas Brothers who are virtually unknown by the larger public. A new 4K DCP of Stormy Weather (1943), starring the Nicholas Brothers and Lena Horne, and a compilation tribute presented by Bruce Goldstein, Director of Repertory Programming at Film Forum in New York – legendary programmer, and writer and co-producer of a 1991 documentary on the brothers – will tour over 15 venues across the UK, giving audiences the chance to celebrate these charismatic performers from the glamorous period of the Hollywood musical. Supporting this tour will be an immersive screening of Stormy Weather in the heritage Blackpool Winter Gardens followed by a swing/jive party.

Richard Pryor becomes a focus in Belfast and Sheffield: Stir Crazy will be shown in the extraordinary setting of nineteenth century Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast as part of the Belfast Film Festival, and an immersive screening of Car Wash will take place as a Drive-In at a disused Sheffield car wash as part of Sensoria (the festival of music, film and digital media).

Bristol: Black Comedy House Party at Trinity Community Arts Bristol
Come the Revolution will host a House Party double bill presenting some of the funniest films from the breakout era of Black Comedy, featuring comic stars ranging from Richard Pryor to Whoopi Goldberg, and culminating in a 90s themed music night, delivered in collaboration with Bristol’s finest DJs.  

Cardiff: Let Paul Robeson Sing!
Paul Robeson’s impact on Welsh life will be celebrated in Cardiff with a performance from a Welsh choir and vocalists at a screening of The Proud Valley, from newly remastered material, and a panel discussion on Robeson and how he is remembered today in the BAME communities of Wales. The event will be led by Chapter in partnership with Welsh National Opera and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Birmingham: Badasssss Icons – Blaxploitation season
Working in tandem with October’s BASS Festival, the UK’s leading annual black music festival, led by Birmingham-based Punch Records and the Birmingham city centre’s Electric Cinema, this series of screenings will offer a rare chance to see some landmarks from the 1970s boom in black exploitation cinema, all in glorious 35mm. Offering contextual introductions, live music and dressing-up, the programme will help to inject life into the city’s late-night film culture and bring a new cinematic dimension to an established arts festival.

Black Star on BFI Player

BFI Player will present the work of some of film’s biggest black stars to audiences right across the UK. With a collection of over 50 titles, the BFI Player BLACK STAR collection will be divided into a number of themes including:

  • Black Star Pioneers – from Evelyn Preer, star of such films as Within Our Gates (1920) and known within the black community as ‘The First Lady of the Screen’, to the ground-breaking role played by Duane Jones in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Spike Lee’s landmark film Do the Right Thing (1989), in which Lee starred alongside Rosie Perez
  • Female Stars – includes Ethel Moses in Birthright (1939), Francine Everett in Dirty Girtie (1946), Diana Ross in The Wiz (1978), Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Thandie Newton in Half of a Yellow Sun (2013)
  • Leading Men – work from key pioneers who forged leading roles for black men, up to some of today’s biggest Hollywood stars; includes Body and Soul (1925) starring Paul Robeson, Blue Collar (1978) starring Richard Pryor and American Gangster (2007) starring Denzel Washington
  • Sonic Stars – charting the black music film and the prominence of black music stars such as LL Cool J (Deliver Us From Eva, 2003), Ice Cube (The Glass Shield, 1994) and Ky-Mani Marley (One Love, 2003)
  • British Crossover Stars – British stars who have made it big internationally, including Idris Elba in One Love (2003) and Chiwetel Eijofor in Triple 9 (2015)
  • The collection will also include a focus on Paul Robeson’s British films including Borderline (1930), Song of Freedom (1936) and The Proud Valley (1940). The collection will include a number of rarities exclusive to BFI Player.

BBC partnership

The BFI is proud to collaborate with BBC Arts in a major multi-channel editorial partnership across BBC Radio and TV, including Black Star Movie Night on BBC Two in November, films on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer, and a broadcast of a Paul Robeson documentary to celebrate this towering figure in US and UK film history in the 40th anniversary year of his death. 

New BFI Blu-ray and DVD releases

Black Star DVD and Blu-ray releases span brilliant thrillers, ground-breaking musicals, and more – and many have been previously unavailable in these formats.

The Crying Game dual format edition packshot

  • The Blu-ray and DVD box set Pioneers of African-American Cinema explores the landmarks of early African-American film from the 20s to the 40s through an extensive collection of pioneering features and shorts by influential filmmakers such as Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, Zora Neale Hurston, and James and Eloyce Gist
  • Carmen Jones (1954), the sizzling screen version of Bizet’s opera Carmen, was a milestone in musical cinema and comes to Blu-ray for the first time. Dorothy Dandridge, whose vibrant performance resulted in the first Oscar® nomination for an African-American actress in a leading role, stars as the beautiful temptress who seduces handsome GI Joe (Harry Belafonte) in one of the sexiest performances ever seen on screen
  • A daring robbery gone wrong is the story of the thriller Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), starring Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Ed Begley, and Shelley Winters. With a dark jazz score and brooding atmosphere, the film is one of the most important about race and racism. Produced by Belafonte’s own company, HarBel Productions, and directed by 4-time Oscar®-winner Robert Wise (The Sound of Music), Odds Against Tomorrow was the first film noir to feature a black protagonist.
  • In Paris Blues (1961) Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier star as the jazz musicians who fall in love with two American tourists (Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll), forcing them to choose between romance and their passion for music. The film features the legendary Louis Armstrong and an Oscar®-nominated score by Duke Ellington.
  • Forest Whitaker, Stephen Rea and Jaye Davidson star in landmark British film The Crying Game (1992), released on Blu-ray for the first time. This Academy Award®-winning thriller, set amongst Northern Ireland’s Troubles, challenged mainstream sexual stereotypes and is a powerful and poignant exploration of gender and identity.
  • Charles Burnett’s The Glass Shield (1994) is a thrilling drama that shines a light on the deep-rooted racial tensions of the American justice system, with Michael Boatman as a rookie cop – the first black recruit in his squad. The Glass Shield also co-stars Ice Cube. 

Malcolm X (1992)

Malcolm X (1992)

BFI Compendium

The latest book in the BFI Compendium series, a fully illustrated 160-page BFI compendium published to accompany the season, will explore the theme of black stardom in film and TV. It features a range of new writing by contributors including film scholars and critics, as well as poets such as Claudia Rankine and novelists such as Kit De Waal. Available October 2016.

BFI Education

An exciting and ambitious programme for all ages, including several collaborative events with our education delivery partner, Into Film. Highlights include:

  • A BLACK STAR themed strand will feature in the 2016 Into Film Festival.  The Festival is aimed at young people aged 5-19 and takes place in November.  The BLACK STAR strand will illuminate on-screen talent and feature British black stars as well as actors and actresses from the African diaspora from across film history, focusing on talent and films that resonate with Into Film’s young audience and are engaging and relevant for educators using film in the classroom
  • BFI Future Film Raw Shorts event in November, offering industry insights, networking, practical masterclasses, and professional advice for young emerging filmmakers. Also in November, Future Film Recommended screenings (films chosen by a steering group of young programmers aged 16-25 for other young people) will be from the BLACK STAR programme
  • African Odysseys presents an adult course exploring the significance of black representation on screen, led by curators, historians and industry professionals
  • A programme of illuminating talks, lively discussions, and in-depth Study Days accompanying the screenings at BFI Southbank, with contributions from a range of leading academics, critics, and commentators
  • A schools event at BFI Southbank with Floella Benjamin featuring her biopic Coming to England

Black Star is a collaborative project developed over two years with expert advice from partners, organisations and figures in the UK and beyond. The BFI would like to thank the Black Star Advisory Group for their ongoing consultancy in the creation of this project.

Our distinguished members include:

Karen Alexander (Curator, Writer and BLACK STAR Programme & Legacy Consultant), Samantha Asumadu (Media Diversified), Jan Asante (Curator, Black Cultural Archives), Marc Boothe (B3 Media), Dominic Buchanan (Bold Films), Topher Campbell  (Theatre & Filmmaker), Nadia Denton (Film Programmer & Writer), Pierre Godson-Amamoo (GRM Daily, Liberty Mount), Iyare Igiehon (S.O.U.L), Kunle Olulode  (Exhibitor and Film Historian, Voice4Change), Adah Parris (Marketing and Personal Branding Djembe Consulting), Dean Ricketts (The Watch-Men Agency), Chardine Taylor-Stone (Cultural Producer, Activist and Writer), Patrick Vernon OBE (Every Generation Media), Nelson Abbey (BBC Worldwide). 

Our valued partners include:

13th Gen; Academy Film Archive; African Odysseys; BBC Arts, BFI Film Academy; BFI Film Audience Network; BFI NET.WORK; Black Cultural Archives; California Newsreel; Chiz Schultz; Cineworld; CNC; Cohen Media Group; DCM; Entertainment Film Distributors; Entertainment One; Film Forum; Future Film; Gary Biller; George Eastman House; HBO; Hollywood Classics; ICO; Icon Film Distribution; INTO FILM; Jennie Livingston; Kino Lorber; Liberty Mount; Library of Congress; Lobster; Media Diversified; Milestone; Miramax; MOBO; MoMA; ODEON; Palgrave Macmillan; Paramount; Park Circus Films; Picturehouse Cinemas; Rene Chateau; Sankofa; Scala Productions Ltd; Slovenian Film Center; Sony Pictures; S.O.U.L – Screening Our Unseen Lives; Separate Cinema Archive; Spike Lee; STUDIOCANAL; Terry Jervis; TF1; The Doctor’s Orders, Twentieth Century Fox; Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment; UCL; UCLA Film and Television Archive; UNCSA; Universal UK; Universal USA; Verve; VUE; Walt Disney; Warner Bros.; Women Make Movies.

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  • Black Star

    Black Star

    Celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors.

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