Tag Archives: LFF

65th BFI London Film Festival 2021 – Shorts

The 65th BFI London Film Festival builds on the online only festival of 2020’s ‘year of the pandemic’ and continues to include the newer streams of augmented reality, and AI-driven Virtual Reality content in LFF Expanded, plus TV Series’ reflecting on the changes and developments in the way we consume content. PLUS, loads of Short Films to see for Free.

The festival is on from 6 to 17 October 2021, with films available in cinemas with screenings around the UK, available virtually, and with access to free events and films.

Also see our selection of FEATURE FILMS.


Here are our 2021 selection of SHORT FILMS: Small but perfectly formed.

6-17 Oct: Watch for free on BFI Player


Find Me Here | Thu 7

Local community lies at the heart of this programme. From a late-night Ugandan town, New Orleans hair salon and musically-oriented Brazilian delivery culture to the bricks and mortar of British housing and the cruel nature of unbridled capitalism, we witness everyday lives.

Nsenene: Late at night in the Ugandan town of Masaka, grasshoppers descend, alien-like, into the community, in this lyrical and visually stunning documentary.

Director-Producer: Michelle Coomber, Countries: Uganda-UK

BABYBANGZ: In a New Orleans’ natural hair salon where self-care and communal reflection intertwine, Anastasia Ebel hosts dynamic and enjoyable discussions. A stylish window into the heart of the bayou.

Director-Producer: Juliana Kasumu. Countries: USA-UK


Short Film Award Nominee

Fantasma Neon: (See LFF Awards) An all-singing, all-dancing musical fantasy set in the busy urban world of Brazil’s takeaway food delivery bike community.

Director-Screenwriter: Leonardo Martinelli. Producers: Ayssa Yamaguti Norek, Rafael Teixeira, Leonardo Martinelli. Country: Brazil


It’s Not That Easy | Fri 8

Life isn’t always a well-choreographed montage and the stumbles are often why we reflect on it. It’s how personalities are made and that makes for the richest of dramas.

Kabibi: A schoolgirl in the DRC is resembling the woman she wants to become, in a tale that explores the solace we find in the clothes we wear and the shoes we walk in.

Director-Screenwriter: Elaisha Stokes. Producer: Horeb Bulambo Shindano. Countries: DR Congo-USA-Canada

The Right Words (Haut les coeurs): If you’re looking for some sweet romance you’ve come to the right place, as we follow 13-year-old Mahdi and his undeclared love for Jada while on the school bus run.

Director-Screenwriter: Adrian Moyse Dullin. Producer: Lucas Tothe. Country: France

Sunshine City: Three best friends are racing across town to get to a rap gig where they’re meant to perform, but numerous obstacles delay their journey.

Director: Evan LaMagna. Producers: Dylon Peven, Evan LaMagna, Dal LaMagna, Aaron Jones. Screenwriters: Evan LaMagna, Dylon Peven. Country: USA


Weird and Wonderful World | Fri 8

Filmmakers showcase the strange in this selection that veers between the weirdness of folk horror to a wonderful celebration of Afro-futurism.

Earthbound (Jordbundna): At the end of the world, Max is desperate to be with the woman he loves. But his destiny lies less in some dystopian space odyssey than an Afrofuturist dream.

Director-Screenwriter: Baker Karim. Producers: Olivier Guerpillon, Frida Hallberg. Country: Sweden


For Better or Worse | Sun 10

Marriage as an institution can be suffocating and the works here explore the more negative side to the vows taken between two people, particularly around how individuals can control and bully.

Imuhira (Home): Kanama’s dream-like journey back to her family does not offer the homecoming she hoped for. The initial solace of familiar surroundings and presence of friends is no comfort when she still feels tormented. (This film contains scenes of domestic violence.)

Director-Screenwriter: Myriam Uwiragiye Birara. Producers: Myriam Uwiragiye Birara, Shema Deve, Remy Ry, Moise Ganza. Country: Rwanda


My Identity, No Crisis | Tue 12

From home to the back of a taxi and back again, these stories encompass self-exploration and negotiating the importance of identity, while choosing a path to be proud of.

Play It Safe: Suffocating in the whiteness of drama school, Jonathan realises others’ discomfort is a trivial consequence of momentary cogency.

Director-Screenwriter: Mitch Kalisa. Producer: Chris Toumazou. Country: UK

Nasir: Musician Nasir calls several family members by phone to discuss the decision to transition.

Directors: Jackson Kroopf, Nasir Bailey. Producer: Jackson Kroopf. Country: USA

Egúngún (Masquerade): When Salewa has to return home, she finds herself back in a place where she once had to hide herself. But now she goes in search of her own peace.

Director-Screenwriter: Olive Nwosu. Producer: Alex Polunin. Countries: Nigeria-UK


Your UK or Mine? | Sat 16
This selection of shorts shows how varied and impressive new British filmmaking is, through stories of community, love and personal acceptance.

Short Film Award Nominee

Precious Hair & Beauty: With observant commentary on the changing landscape of London communities, this is a witty and energetic snapshot of an odd day at a Black hair dressers.

Director-Screenwriter: John Ogunmuyiwa. Producers: Sophia Gibber, Tony Longe, Lene Bausager. Country: UK


Short Film Award Nominee

Femme: In a tense late-night journey, Jordan encounters a drug-dealer in a dangerous den populated by a gang of men and stifling with toxic masculinity. (This film contains scenes of drug use and strong violence.)

Directors-Screenwriters: Sam H Freeman, Ng Choon Ping. Producers: Sam Ritzenberg, Hayley Williams, Rienkje Attoh. Country: UK


The Other End: Shona’s boyfriend hasn’t come home. She fears the worst, so ventures out into the sodium-orange glow of London’s streets at night to find him.

Director-Screenwriter: Nia Childs. Producer: Alexandra Da Silva. Country: UK

We’re Too Good for This: Stereotypes are overturned in this story of physical disability, where a group of friends on a council estate find a way to assert their independence using the gifts others see as flaws.

Director-Screenwriter: Missy Malek. Producers: Sam Barnham, Camilla Arnold. Country: UK


Short Film Award Nominee

For Love: In this beautiful drama, a couple battle for a future where they can find a home and freedom that is not determined by where they’re from.

Director-Screenwriter: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor. Producer: Emily Morgan. Country: UK


LFF FOR FREE

London Calling
A selection of shorts from some of London’s most exciting new voices, weaving bold cinematic narratives in surprising, sometimes playful, but above all honest ways. Funded by BFI NETWORK and delivered by Film London.

London Calling: Speaking Your Truth | Sat 9 | Sat 16 | Sun 17
Stories of people confronting injustice and pain, and finding their voice –

Born Again

A British Nigerian woman tormented by her inability to have children experiences a transformative baptism, leading her on a journey of healing and rebirth.
Writer-Director: Candice Onyeama


London Calling: Hopes and Visions | Sun 10 | Sat 16 | Sun 17
Stories of people – and objects – holding onto hope of something better.

Colby: 22-year-old Colby rebels against feeling stifled by everybody because of her pregnancy. But then she meets a guy at a diner.
Writer-Director: Rashida Seriki

Canvas 5: When gallery director Ruth is accused of using her position to exploit people of colour, she protests her innocence. But her doubt turns to paranoia when anonymous portrait Canvas 5 starts to exert a power of its own.
Writer-Director: Karla Crome


Film4 and Fruit Tree Media present: Foresight | Sat 9 | Sun 10
Five short films that explore alternative realities for Black and Brown people in the UK.

Foresight is a compilation of short films, set in the UK, which imagine the future for Black and Brown characters. They are written, directed and produced by culturally diverse filmmakers who call the UK home. Foresight is an urgent anthology that explores alternate realities through the lens of five Black British directors. This time capsule collection contributes to a perspective and point of view continually missing from our screens – a future where people of colour exist!

They Heard Him Shout Allahu Akbah: Zaid, recently released from prison for an unknown crime, tries to reintegrate into his previous life only to find that the arms of the state extend to controlling what he says and does.
Director: Nadia Latif. Screenwriter: Omar El-Khairy

X US: Two unaccompanied brothers embark on a journey to a new settlement on moon planet Titan. Their interactions reflect the subtle naivety and anxious fear this huge moment means for each of them, amidst an industrial-sized group of migrants.
Director: Akinola Davies. Screenwriters: Akinola Davies, Wale Davies

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be: By the year 2080, climate change has forced human beings from the Earth, with the last vestiges that remain forced into an isolated nomadic existence. In the desolate landscape, Dez forages for survival until they unearth a morsel of the past that leads them on an unexpected mission.
Director: Adeyemi Michael. Screenwriter: Courttia Newland

Twice As Good: The night before her son Dee Dee’s seventh birthday, Grace receives an unexpected intruder in her kitchen. As she discovers who the intruder is, she must decide how to protect her son while navigating the complexities of Black parenthood in modern Britain.
Director-Screenwriter: Jeremy Ngatho Cole

Digging: Ziba, Ché, Neela and Kofi use their devices to take trips through their memories to settle an argument.
Director: Elliot Barnes-Worrell. Screenwriters: Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Hasti Crowther


NETWORK@LFF Shorts Programme 2 | Sun 10 | Sat 16
NETWORK@LFF is our flagship talent development programme based at the very heart of the BFI London Film Festival, and delivered by BFI NETWORK.

Vacant Bass: This short charts the impact of Black culture and clubbing on British multiculturalism, and the sense of loss as club culture has come under threat in recent times and was then wiped out entirely by the Covid crisis.
Writer-Director: Isaac Tomiczek


AFRO-FUTURES

A visual artist, sound artist, writer and editor come together to create a short Afrofuturist film, layered with their singular talents. Join us as we screen this short film and then host a panel discussion with its creators.

Sun 17

Panellists: Xana, Simisolaoluwa Akande, Nse Asuquo
Host: Ramatoulie Bobb
BFI Film Academy Young Programmer Commission artists: Xana, Simisolaoluwa Akande, Keisha Thompson, Nse Asuquo
BFI Film Academy Young Programmer Curators: Ramatoulie Bobb, Ruby Murphy and Hazel George.


LFF AWARDS

SHORT FILM COMPETITION
The Short Film Award recognises short-form works with a unique cinematic voice and a confident handling of chosen theme and content..

6-17 Oct: Watch on BFI Player for Free

Fantasma Neon: An all-singing, all-dancing musical fantasy set in the busy urban world of Brazil’s takeaway food delivery bike community.

Director-Screenwriter: Leonardo Martinelli. Producers: Ayssa Yamaguti Norek, Rafael Teixeira, Leonardo Martinelli. Country: Brazil

Femme: In a tense late-night journey, Jordan encounters a drug-dealer in a dangerous den populated by a gang of men and stifling with toxic masculinity. (This film contains scenes of drug use and strong violence.)

Directors-Screenwriters: Sam H Freeman, Ng Choon Ping. Producers: Sam Ritzenberg, Hayley Williams, Rienkje Attoh. Country: UK

For Love: In this beautiful drama, a couple battle for a future where they can find a home and freedom that is not determined by where they’re from.

Director-Screenwriter: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor. Producer: Emily Morgan. Country: UK

Precious Hair & Beauty: With observant commentary on the changing landscape of London communities, this is a witty and energetic snapshot of an odd day at a Black hair dressers.

Director-Screenwriter: John Ogunmuyiwa. Producers: Sophia Gibber, Tony Longe, Lene Bausager. Country: UK


Immersive Art and XR CompetitioN
The Best Immersive Art and XR Award recognises the most innovative work from artists and creators who are boldly exploring the intersection of art, film and extended reality to fully immerse audiences in the moment.

(All part of the EXPANDED Strand: Step into a new dimension of storytelling with Immersive Art and Extended reality.)

6-17 Oct, 11am-9pm. Book a slot at 26 Leake Street, London SE1 7NN.

Container: This immersive film project makes us aware of how closely modern forms of economic enslavement compare with earlier forms that ‘civilised’ society claims to have cast aside.

Lead Artists: Meghna Singh, Simon Wood. Country: South Africa

Noah’s Raft: Acclaimed Nigerian filmmaker Joel Kachi Benson’s VR documentary shows how one person with a vision can transform a whole community by means of education.

Lead Artists: Joel Kachi Benson & Tal Michael Haring. Country: Nigeria.

Virtually There: Leon Oldstrong’s first VR film shines a light on a violent knife crime from multiple perspectives in an attempt to empathise with all parties involved.

Lead Artist: Leon Oldstrong. Production Company: Solaris2 Media. Country: UK


STRANDS

EXPERIMENTA: Films by artists that revolutionise and reshape our vision of cinema.

Screening with: Lago Gatún in te Experimenta Strand (Fri 15)

The I and S of Lives: In Black Lives Matter Plaza, Washington DC, the camera follows a lone skater’s graceful moves. His clothes match the colours of the mural he skates on.

Director: Kevin Jerome Everson. Producers: Kevin Jerome Everson, Madeleine Molyneaux

Country: USA

Memorials of Meaning (Short Film Collection)

Mudança: A dreamlike territory of imagery sensations in music, painting, poetry, and dance – inspired by the people of the Bijagó archipelago in Guinea-Bissau – speak of revolution.

Sun 17 (Also watch this short for free on the BFI Player)

Director-Producer-Screenwriter: Welket Bungué

Country: Portugal, Guinea Bissau, Germany

FAMILY: Films for the young… and young at heart.

The Wonderful Story of Aisha, Ali and Flipflopi the Multicoloured Dhow Boat – Short film in Animated Shorts for Younger Audiences

Sun 17


TREASURES: Revived and restored from the world’s archives.

Four short films in From the Caribbean to West Africa: Edric Connor’s Travelogues

Jamaica – Third Test: Connor’s coverage of the first-ever test won by England in the Caribbean, from an overcrowded Sabina Park, features authoritative narration by British-Guyanese commentator Ernest Eytle.

Caribbean Honeymoon No.1: ‘My People!’ Connor returns to his birthplace of Mayaro to celebrate his homeland’s natural beauty and manufacturing, capturing pre-independence Caribbean islands in all their glorious warmth.

Caribbean Honeymoon No.2: Shown at the 1960 Edinburgh international Film Festival, this dazzling travelogue records Guyana’s idyllic flora and the industries that supplied raw materials for British homes.

Bound for Lagos: Commissioned in 1960 to mark Nigeria’s independence, Connor directs and stars in this troubled production about shifting social relations in an emergent West African middle-class.


FAMILY: Films for the young… and young at heart.

Animated Shorts for Younger Audiences (Short Film Collection)

The Wonderful Story of Aisha, Ali and Flipflopi the Multicoloured Dhow Boat: Aisha and Ali must decide what to do about abandoned plastic, in this film from Kenya that deals with a global problem.

Sun 17

Director: Kwame Nyong’o. Producers: Wanzilu Maingi, Dipesh Pabari. Screenwriter: John Sibi-Okumu. Country: Kenya

64th BFI London Film Festival 2020 – Feature Films

From 7 to 18 October the BFI London Film Festival will be the first ever edition to be widely accessible wherever you are in the UK, with over 50 virtual premieres, free online events and cinema screenings across the land.

2020 has been the most extraordinary year and the London Film Festival follows the trend in bringing something completely new to the year. The 64th BFI London Film Festival this year is not bound by London, you can see films all over the country. To add to that, the festival this year is providing many opportunities to see over 50 virtual premieres via the BFI’s online platform. It’s a change that may affect the festival for many years to come which isn’t a bad thing. It’s great that the festival can go ahead this year even though the World has had the Coronavirus pandemic to deal with. So many things ground to a halt, but it hasn’t stopped the festival, and in this landmark year, there are still loads of films to see, immerse yourself in and live through.

In addition to the short films and feature films, the BFI London Film Festival is offering LFF Expanded – a set of films and experiences – an augmented reality, and AI-driven Virtual Reality -experiment. Some of the content on offer is best viewed via a VR headset, but many also offer direct viewing via your web access.

Here is our 2020 selection of films, LFF Expanded and events. Highlights include two films from Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology series – Mangrove and Lovers Rock. Regina King’s directorial debut with One Night In Miami, based on Kemp Powers stage play about a night in Miami with Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown. Kemp Power also brings Pixar movie, Soul co directed with Pete Docter and featuring Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, and Phylicia Rashad. Yemi Bamiro’s One Man and His Shoes looks at the legacy of Nikes, Michael Jordon promoted, basketball shoes, Air Jordons. Time takes us on a 20-year campaign by wife Fox Richardson to get her husband released from a life sentence, and 15 years after his film, Injustice charting deaths in custody, Ken Fero brings us Ultraviolence.

ALSO SEE OUR SHORT FILM SELECTION

Videos

African Apocalypse:

 

Cicada:

 

One Man and His Shoes:

 

Time:

 

Ultraviolence:

 

7th October

Mangrove

DEBATE

“The Mangrove restaurant in Notting Hill doubled as a community centre for Black Londoners to exchange ideas and to commune. As police brutality and harassment intensified, the Mangrove also became a site of resistance leading to the wrongful arrest for incitement to riot of nine local activists including Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright) and Darcus Howe (Malachi Kirby). Oscar-winner Steve McQueen’s depiction of the infamous 55-day trial is a moving instalment from his Small Axe anthology series, a collection of films that evoke memories, political events and a critical perspective on life for London’s West Indian community between the 1960s and 1980s.”

United Kingdom 2019 | 126 minutes

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Featuring: Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby, Rochenda Sandall, Jack Lowden

 

9th October

Farewell Amor (also 12th October)

LOVE

“A New York-based Angolan man finally reunited with his wife and daughter – Esther and Sylvia arrive from Angola to live with Walter, who left his war-torn homeland 17 years ago. Sharing a tiny apartment in Brooklyn, they try to rebuild their lives together and overcome the personal and political differences that developed in their years apart. Walter accepts that he can no longer play the role of the single man, while Esther has become a devout Christian, secretly sending what little they earn to her church back home. Meanwhile, Sylvia tries to adjust to life in this foreign land.”

USA 2019 | 101 minutes

Directed by: Ekwa Msangi

Featuring: Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah, Jayme Lawson

 

Time (also 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th October)

DEBATE

“Fox Richardson has spent over 20 years campaigning for the release of her husband, who was sentenced to life without parole for a botched armed robbery. At the same time, she single-handedly raised six sensitive and bright sons. Garrett Bradley’s (America) feature showcases her tremendous talent and ambition, deftly combining home video archive and contemporary footage of Fox and her sons, presenting a remarkably resilient woman who transformed from being collateral damage of the US penal system into an inspirational campaigner. Enhanced by stunning black and white photography and an evocative blues score. An epic personal journey of hardship and hope, it reveals the devastating effects of mass incarceration on Black communities in America.”

USA 2020 | 81 minutes

Directed by: Garrett Bradley

 

10th October

I Am Samuel (also 13th October)

JOURNEY

“Samuel was born and raised on a farm in rural Kenya. Moving to its capital, Nairobi, he meets and falls in love with Alex. Samuel’s father, a preacher at his local village church a few miles from the capital, expects his son to marry and looks forward to the day when he brings home a daughter-in-law. While Alex and Samuel’s love for each other thrives, they remain constantly aware of the shadows of violence creeping around them. After all, under the Kenyan constitution’s penal code, introduced by the British some 100 years ago, homosexual acts carry a 14-year prison sentence.”

Content warning: this film contains scenes of homophobic violence.

Kenya 2020

Directed by: Pete Murimi

 

11th October

Eyimofe (This is My Desire) (also 14th October)

JOURNEY

“The rich tones and complex hues of the Esiri brothers’ striking portrait of migration highlights what is left behind. Set in Lagos and divided into the provocatively titled chapters ‘Spain’ and ‘Italy’, we follow Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), a factory technician and Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams), a hairdresser as tragedy and survival fuel their desires for a better life’ in Europe. Captured with stoic precision on 16mm, Eyimofe (This is My Desire) resists the temptation of high drama to show the sprawling city and the forces that propel its unique social dynamic. The elegant directorial eye of Arie and Chuko Esiri combined with skilful performances from Akuwudike and Ami-Williams mark the film as another great contribution to the burgeoning independent Nigerian new wave.

Nigeria 2019 | 114 minutes

Directed by: Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri

Featuring: Jude Akuwudike, Tomiwa Edun, Temi Ami-Williams

 

Industry (also 14th October)

DEBATE

Episodes 1, 2 and 4

“An investment bank’s graduate programme is a hotbed of ambition and insecurity in this timely, tightly-plotted drama. Led by rising star Myha’la Herrold, these friends and rivals navigate a toxic culture of ego, excess and the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis as they compete for permanent jobs. Lena Dunham directs the first episode with verve, providing a typically frank lens on sex, drugs and millennial vulnerability. Writers Kay and Down subvert expectations at every turn, delivering a fresh and incisive exploration of race, class and the price of success.”

UK 2019 | c.145 minutes

Directed by: Lena Dunham, Tinge Krishnan, Ed Lilly

 

One Night in Miami… (also 12th October)

JOURNEY

“Based on Kemp Powers’ award-winning stage play, One Night in Miami… is the imagined story of what followed 22-year-old Muhammad Ali’s (Eli Goree) 1964 victory over heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Sat ringside are Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). The film explores the personal and political conflicts faced by the men — balancing their public image in a world where the pinnacle of success for a black person was to be a sportsperson or entertainer, alongside their drive to fight for black liberation. The conversations that followed were not without conflict and King’s depictions of their lives apart from each other is as much a testament to the strength of their character as it is the power of the film’s thrilling narrative. This was a meeting of minds on a historic night.“

USA 2020 | 111 minutes

Directed by ; Regina King

Featuring: Ben-Adir Kingsley, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr

 

Soul (also 13th, 14th, 17th October)

FAMILY

“Jamie Foxx is Joe Gardner, a music teacher who lives for his art. Just as his professional career is about to take off, a fateful mishap finds him embarking on an unexpected journey of self-discovery to The Great Before, an incredible place where new souls are born. Unfolding across a series of beautifully realised worlds, Soul takes a refreshing look at how we become ourselves. With an all-star cast that includes Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs, Angela Bassett and Tina Fey, Docter and co-director Kemp Powers along with producer Dana Murray have crafted a universal narrative that will appeal to all ages, and a universe that is as smart and life-affirming as it is funny and exciting. The perfect film for your heart, body and, well…soul.”

USA 2020 | c100 minutes

Directed by: Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers

Featuring: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad

 

12th October

Cicada

LOVE

“New York City, 2013. Introspective bisexual Ben drifts from one casual encounter to the next. While his recent relationships barely last past morning, things change when he meets Sam, a handsome stranger with whom he forms an immediate connection. But as they spend more time together, both men begin to recognise the need to confront past traumas if they are to truly let the other person in. Based on personal experience, writer/director/star Matt Fifer and co-director Kieran Mulcare have crafted a richly textured drama, tackling complex subjects with grace, delicacy and uncompromising honesty. Fifer’s sympathetic central performance is ably matched by co-writer Sheldon D Brown’s nuanced turn as Sam, with the pair establishing an effortless on-screen connection that brings real heart to their timely and, ultimately, hopeful tale.”

USA 2020 | 93 minutes

Directed by: Matt Fifer, Kieran Mulcare

Featuring: Matt Fifer, Sheldon D. Brown, Sandra Bauleo

 

Ultraviolence

DEBATE

“Since 1969, there have been over 2000 deaths in police custody in the UK. It is a frightening statistic that Ken Fero approaches with seasoned conviction. 15 years after his ground-breaking film Injustice, Ultraviolence employs unflinching archival footage to document the tragic and undignified deaths that took place between 1995 and 2005. Victims include Fero’s classmate Brian Douglas and Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot and killed whilst travelling on the London underground. With intimate access to a variety of sources, Fero encounters families devastated by these killings and subsequently thwarted in their struggle for justice. Ultraviolence shows a corrupt system failing UK citizens.”

United Kingdom 2020 | 75 minutes

Directed by: Ken Fero

 

13th October

One Man and His Shoes (also 13th, 16th October)

DEBATE

“South Londoner Yemi Bamiro follows his impressive short works with a debut feature documentary of scale – examining the cultural and commercial phenomena of Michael Jordan against the increasing commodification of Black culture and a lack of corporate accountability. A sportsman with once-in-a-generation talent, Jordan was held up as a symbol of Black progress; he had his own phenomenally successful trainer brand that made Nike one of the most profitable companies in the world. Bamiro deftly charts the rise of Jordan against 80’s and 90’s pop culture milestones: hip hop, Spike Lee, the emergence of the mega-watt and mega-rich sports personalities. He also highlights how brands became savvy manipulators of youth culture by stoking America’s toxic obsession with consumerism and celebrity in a climate of increasing class and race inequality.”

United Kingdom 2020

Directed by: Yemi Bamiro

 

14th October

David Byrne’s American Utopia (also 15th October)

CREATE

“‘Do we get stupider as we grow up?’ In his wildly popular Broadway show American Utopia, Byrne reflects on human connections, life and how on earth we work through it. He joins the dots with his music and it all starts making sense. Spike Lee here transforms the production into immersive, dynamic cinema that radiates with astounding performances, inventive contemporary dance and political urgency. American Utopia flows like an iridescent dream vision. Work by James Baldwin, Janelle Monáe and Kurt Schwitters is highlighted among exhilarating renditions of Byrne’s solo work as well as Talking Heads classics. According to the multi-hyphenate, we love looking at humans more than anything else. Anti-fascist and anti-racist, Byrne illuminates our responsibility to care for one another as he and his co-performers burn down the house.”

USA 2020 | 105 minutes

Directed by: Spike Lee

Featuring: David Byrne, Jaqueline Acevedo, Gustavo di Dalva, Bobby Wooton III

 

16th October

African Apocalypse (also 19th October)

DEBATE

“When British-Nigerian poet and activist Femi Nylander discovered Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the novel that Barack Obama claims helped him understand why ‘white people are afraid’, he was immediately drawn to understanding this distorted vision of Africa. Embarking on a spiritual journey to Niger, Femi uncovers the violent legacy of the real-life counterpart to Conrad’s novel, French Captain Paul Voulet, whose genocidal mission in 1898 can still be felt today, through subsequent generations of his victims. A brutal indictment of colonialism that never shies away from the horrifying terrorism Africans endured under colonial rule.”

United Kingdom, Niger 2020 | 88 minutes

Directed by: Rob Lemkin

 

Limbo

JOURNEY

“Limbo is at once deadpan comedy and also poignant tale of a group of refugees stuck, pending asylum, on a weather-beaten Hebridean outpost, the Uists. Sharrock cites Elia Suleiman as an inspiration and here too we see a deep humanism behind the wry gaze and a desire to move beyond cross cultural narratives of simple reconciliation. Rising UK star Amir El-Masry impresses as Omar, one of four men in this ‘limbo’ together, who find a bond in the shared strangeness of their situation and distance from their own countries and families.”

United Kingdom 2020 | 103 minutes

Directed by: Ben Sharrock

Featuring: Amir El-Masry, Vikash Bhai, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Kwabena Ansah, Ola Orebiyi

 

18th October

Lovers Rock

LOVE

“Another in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe collection of vivid memories, political indictments and historical artefacts depicting Black West Indian presence in London. In this edition, it’s a Saturday sometime in the 80s, Samson preps his sound system for Blues dance while Martha shimmies down her drainpipe, and Franklin, drenched in Brut, is primed to steal a heart. Red Stripe costs a pound, sweat drips from the walls as hips lock to the rhythm of lovers’ rock, and souls are possessed by dub vibrations. McQueen’s roving camera and luminous cast spread out and fill the screen. Inviting us to remember, not so much the good times, as the spectres of racism and violence loom, but the risk and reward of letting go for a night.”

United Kingdom 2020 | 68 minutes

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Written by: Courttia Newland, Steve McQueen

Featuring: Amarah-Jae St Aubyn, Michael Ward, Shaniqua Okwok, Kedar Williams-Stirling

 

LFF EXPANDED

Available 7th-18th October 2020

All Kinds of Limbo

The National Theatre’s musical VR experience transports the viewer into a vibrant theatrical world inspired by the influence of Caribbean culture upon the UK music scene.

You’ll need an Oculus Rift, Rift S or HTC Vive tethered headset to experience this work for free

UK, 2019 | 14 minutes
World Premiere (Individual Audience Version)

Format: 6DOF

Devised and Directed by Toby Coffey

Composed by Raffy Bushman & Nubiya Brandon

Lyrics by Nubiya Brandon

 

Common Ground (360 Version)

One of the most influential VR documentaries of the last few years deals with the recent history of the infamous Aylesbury Estate and its influence on UK housing policy.

You don’t need any special tech to experience this work for free, or you can use a headset.

UK, 2019
World Premiere (360 Version)
Format: 3DoF   

Written, Produced and Directed: Darren Emerson
Contributors:
Jean Bartlett, John Boughton, Kevin Holland, Aysen Dennis, Judi Bos, Anthony Badu

Gimme One

Get to know 5 members of the thrilling Ballroom scene in the UK while they explore their gender and sexuality through dance, in this ravishing VR documentary.

 

Virtual (Black) Reality:

Immerse yourselves in the lives of 4 Africa-descended Berliners and Parisians, whose realities offer a window into very different experiences of everyday life. Comprising the Afropean experience, they follow the stories of Bella, Babs, Kwesi, and ShaNon, unified by their origins and cultural backgrounds.

Virtual (Black) Reality: Volume 2 – Babs

Babs sees his barber shop in Paris as a melting pot for people from all cultural backgrounds and religions to create a shared sense of community.

Virtual (Black) Reality: Volume 2 – Bella

Angolan-descendant Bella embraces life as a dancer and dance teacher in Berlin.

Virtual (Black) Reality: Volume 2 – Kwesi

Kwesi, who works at the Each One Teach One library in Berlin, shares his views on early German colonial aggression on the African continent.

Virtual (Black) Reality: Volume 2 – ShaNon

Having migrated at an early age from Uganda, ShaNon believes in the plurality of origins and sees in her heritage so much more than an ‘Afropean’ cultural background.

UK 2020 | 14 minutes

Baff Akoto

World Premiere

Format: VR180

 

The Oggscars 2017

The Oggscars 2017

Richard aKa Toby Kell-Ogg, Emerson Forde and Simone aka Jammie take a look at the 89th Academy Awards – The Oscars 2017.

Talking about the 2017 Oscars with Emerson Forde, Simone aka Jammie, and Richard Phillips aka Toby Kell-Ogg – Recorded: Friday 24th February 2017

See all of the Award Winners on the Academy website.

Discussing nominations in two parts:


Part 1: Leading and Supporting Actors and Actresses, and Director Awards – Actor in a leading role; Actress in a leading role; Actor in a supporting role; Actress in a supporting role; Director.

Running Order:
00:00   Intro to the Oggscars with: Richard aKa Toby Kell-Ogg, Emerson C Forde, Simone aKa ‘Jammie’. and to the 89th Academy Awards – The Oscars

02:00   ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • WINNER Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

14:59   ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • WINNER Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

30:21   ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • WINNER Mahershala Ali, Moonlight [Ed: pronounced mah-HER-shah-lah]
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

42:12   ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • WINNER Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures [Ed: called ‘Computers’ in the film]
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

49:15   DIRECTING

  • Arrival – Denis Villeneuve
  • Hacksaw Ridge – Mel Gibson
  • WINNER La La Land – Damien Chazelle
  • Manchester by the Sea Kenneth Lonergan
  • Moonlight – Barry Jenkins

 


Part 2: Best Picture Award, and our scoring and selection of top film – Best picture, and our scores for the films. The film with the lowest score is who we think should get the best picture award.

Running Order:
00:00   BEST PICTURE

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • WINNER Moonlight

00:24   #OscarsSoWhite – are some of these films in the list as a result of #OscarsSoWhite

07:49   Arrival

09:42   Fences

12:13   Hacksaw Ridge

12:50   Hell of High Water

15:11   La La Land

16:20   Hidden Figures

20:35   Lion

24:05   Film Hype: influencing the viewer – Manchester By The Sea/Moonlight

25:15   Moonlight

34:25   Xavier Dolan / Krishna

36:57   Best Film List selection – how can you compare

38:39   Our scores – The higher weight, the lower down the list

39:30   Manchester By The Sea comes out on top for the OGGSCARS

40:00   Watching the Oscars in the UK

 


The discussion includes the following films shown at #LFF #BFI London Film Festivals:

  • A Monster Calls
  • Arrival
  • Elle
  • Innocents, The
  • It’s Only The End of the World
  • Kiss Me Kate
  • Krishna
  • La La Land
  • Laurence Anyways
  • Lion
  • Manchester By The Sea
  • Moonlight
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Toni Erdman

33 Films to see at the 60th London Film Festival 2016

Update: Tickets still available: http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/ticket-availability


The programme for this years BFI London Film Festival runs from 5-16th October 2016. Every year, EC Forde and I try and outline the films that interest us.  Some will get a big cinema release, others, a smaller cinema release, and some you may catch at other festivals and screening events. The rest may just vanish from our radar, with the hope that they pop up somewhere in the future (e.g. TV/DVD/Event). So this is the perfect opportunity to see films from around the world. Particularly interesting this year are the number of films we wanted to list. 33 features, and 13 short films.

They take us on a journey through, Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Botswana, South Africa, America, Uganda, Haiti, France and the UK.

See  our selection below and find out more on the BFI 60th London Film Festival website.

EC Forde & Jammie xx


Feature Films

The 13th

13th-06Director Ava DuVernay presents a searing look at a century of race relations in America in this far-reaching and powerful documentary.

Thu 6
76

76-the-movie-hidingA terse political drama from Nigeria deals with the ramifications for a group linked to the assassination in 1976 of General Murtala Mohammed.

Sat 15
All This Panic

all-this-panic-sage-adamsSeven New York teens emerge from the turbulent ‘panic’ years into nearly adulthood in this astonishingly intimate documentary.

Fri 7, Sat 8
American Honey

american-honey-02Andrea Arnold dazzles with a sun-soaked and tune-filled epic about door-to-door teenage magazine sellers travelling the American highways.

Fri 7, Sat 8, Tue 11
Arrival

arrival_forrestAmy Adams and Jeremy Renner star as the humans who make first contact with extraterrestrial visitors in this richly textured sci-fi from director Denis Villeneuve.

Mon 10, Tue 11, Thu 13
Being 17

being-17-05Hormonal aggression sparks an intense enmity between two 17-year-old schoolboys in the snowy Pyrenees, until the true connection between them surprises everyone.

Mon 10, Tue 11, Sun 16
The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation

This explosive Sundance-winning drama follows Nat Turner, a preacher who became the radical leader of an uprising against slavery.

Tue 11, Wed 12, Thu 13
Born In Flames

born-in-flames-01Lizzie Borden’s provocative feminist sci-fi returns to our screens and has lost none of its power.

Sat 15
Chi-Raq

Chi-RaqSpike Lee reimagines Aristophanes’ ancient Greek play Lysistrata as a dazzling modern-day hip-hop musical set in Chicago.

Sat 15, Sun 16
Daughters of the Dust [Treasure]

daughters-of-the-dust-still-six-women-group-shotJulie Dash’s groundbreaking Daughters of the Dust remains urgent and poetic and continues to resonate, most recently inspiring Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

Sat 8, Sat 15
Divines

divinesThe gangster genre is given a shrewd feminist makeover in this arresting debut about a young girl embarking on a life of crime.

Thu 6, Fri 7, Tue 11
Fonko

fonko-01A pulsating journey through the electronic urban musical underground of Africa that looks at how the new sounds are defining a generation, from the team behind Black Power Mixtape (LFF2011).

Sat 8, Mon 10
Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy

hissein-habre-chadian-tragedy-01Mahamet-Saleh Haroun (Darrat) returns to the theme of the personal and societal responsibility with this searing documentary about ex-Chadian President Hissein Habré.

Sat 8, Sun 9
Hospital [Treasure]

hospitalAn outstanding restoration of Frederick Wiseman’s unforgettably gripping documentary portrait of New York’s Metropolitan Hospital.

Sun 9
I called him Morgan

i_called_him_morganPart true-crime tale, part love story, this vivid portrait of legendary hard bop jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan is an all-out musical treat (from the director of My Name is Albert Ayler).

Fri 7
The Illinois Parables

The Illinois Parables

Eleven parables relay histories of settlement, removal, technological breakthrough, violence, messianism and resistance, all occurring somewhere in the state of Illinois.

Mon 10
Jewel’s Catch One

jewels-catch-oneA rousing doc about LA’s first black LGBT disco, defiantly opened in 1973 and beloved by music royalty from Sylvester to Madonna.

Sat 8, sun 9
Layla M

layla-m-01The gripping and powerful story of a young girl’s path towards radicalisation from director Mijke de Jong (Bluebird).

Tue 11, Thu 13
Lovetrue

lovetrue_3Following her groundbreaking debut Bombay Beach, director Alma Har’el returns with another genre-bending, visually stunning gem about our perception of love and relationships, including the psyche of Victory, a young black woman in New York City pondering family bonds and faith.

Sat 8, Mon 10
Mimosas

mimosas-01A mesmerising combination of travelogue, mysticism and documentary from Spanish director Oliver Laxe, as a young man goes on a mission in the Atlas Mountains.

Thu 6, Fri 7
Moonlight

MoonlightBased on the play ‘In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue’, Moonlight follows Chiron as he finds his identity and sexuality in Miami in the 1980s.

Thu 6, Fri 7, Sat 8
A Moving Image

shola-amoo-a-moving-image-south-london-gentrification-3The gentrification of London’s Brixton is examined in this probing and stylistically ambitious debut feature.

Sat 8, Fri 14, Sun 16
Nocturama

nocturama-01French director Bertrand Bonello imagines Paris in a state of apocalypse, in a provocative, troubling response to the contemporary age of terror.

Sat 15, Sun 16
On Call

La Permanence

on-call-01Filmed in a walk-in service for asylum seekers in an hospital near Paris, this timely documentary captures with great humanity dozens of personal stories.

Wed 12, Fri 14
The Pass

pass-01Two ‘straight’ footballers share a kiss in this powerful chamber piece which opened BFI Flare earlier this year.

Wed 12, Fri 14
Queen of Katwe

Queen of KatweThe powerful true life tale of one girl’s determination to escape from poverty in Uganda by becoming a chess champion, directed by Mira Nair and starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

Sun 9, Mon 10, Wed 12
The Revolution Won’t Be Televised

revolution-wont-be-televised-01Rama Thiaw’s film taps into an example of grassroots political action in Senegal, where a group of disenfranchised activists decide to campaign against that country’s elite.

Sun 9, Mon 10
Stolkholm My Love

stockholm-my-love-rainNeneh Cherry, director Mark Cousins (I am Belfast) and cinematographer Christopher Doyle  create an inventive docu-style fiction and a love song to the Swedish city.

Tue 11, Wed 12
Those Who Jump

Les Sauteurs

those-who-jump-still-playing-bootball“I exist because I film” – the compelling first-hand account of an African migrant enduring great hardship to reach Europe and make a better life.

Thu 13, Sat 15
A United Kingdom

united-kingdom-01Amma Asante (Belle, A Way of Life) opens the Festival with this impassioned drama depicting an interracial romance that changed the world.

Wed 5, Thu 6, Tue 11
The Wedding Ring

Zin’naariyâ!

wedding-ring-01A female-directed and rare film from Niger, about a privileged young woman who comes back home, in the sultanate of Zinder, after studying in Paris to discover the truth of the relationships between women and men in her society.

Fri 14
White Colour Black

white-colour-black-01A young mixed heritage man confronts the psychological complexities of his identity in this essential, truly cinematic discovery for anyone interested in Black British cinema.

Sat 15
Wùlu

wulu-02What happens when a life of crime offers more opportunity than living an honest life? It’s a challenge Malian bus driver Ladji faces in this superb drama.

Fri 7, Sat 8

Short Films

Hollywood Disections – Sat 8
juke-01Juke – Passages From The Films of Spencer WilliamsThe career of African American actor, director and scriptwriter Spencer Williams re-enacted in a plotless montage film.
London Calling – Thu 13, Fri 14
pregnant-pause-01Pregnant PausePee. Wait. Panic. Steph is in a happy, long-term relationship, but now that she might be pregnant she has no idea what she wants.
we-love-moses-01We Love MosesTwelve-year-old Ella’s obsession with her brother’s best friend lands her with a potent secret.
Love in a Void – Wed 5, Fri 7
nkosi_coiffure_2Nkosi CoiffureEva escapes her boyfriend on the street of Brussels’ Congolese neighbourhood. She finds solace in an afro hair salon. Initially, at least.
New Kind of Kick – Fri 7, Sat 8
best-last-best-plane-ride-ever-01The Best Last Best Plane Ride EverOctober, 1986. The NY Mets beat the Houston Astros. This animation recreates their post-game airplane celebration: three hours of unbridled chaos.
Returning and Repressing – Sun 9
ears-nose-and-throat-01Ears, Nose and ThroatWhile under a medical examination, a modest woman unburdens her traumatic witnessing of the shooting of a man by his friend.
liliesleaf-farm-mayibuye-01 Liliesleaf Farm Mayibuye: In Search of the Spectres of HistoryUsing double screen, the filmmaker juxtaposes her domestic family history with that of Nelson Mandela prior to his arrest.
on-a-wing-and-a-prayer-01On a Wing and a PrayerA recreation of the 31-mile walk of refugee Abdul Rahman Haroun through the Eurotunnel, only for him to be arrested under an arcane Victorian railway law.
reluctantly-queer-01Reluctantly QueerA young Ghanaian man confesses his confusion around his sexuality and his desire to please his mother.
Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Wed 12
girl-who-danced-with-the-devil-01The Girl Who Danced With the Devil (A moça que dançou com o Diabo) A girl from a very religious family seeks her own paradise.
Teen Creeps – Thu 6, Thu 13
crystal-lake-01Crystal LakeA group of young girls take over a skate park. There, on the reclaimed ramp and with no boys around, they thrive.
send-off-01The Send-OffEmboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enter the night with hope for the future.
The Past is the Present Too – Fri 14
sea-is-history-01The Sea is History (work in progress)The Sea is History, made in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, is a free adaptation of the poem by Derek Walcott as a materialist and animist critique of the monumentalisation of European colonial history and its ripples into the present.

Events & Talks

  1. Black Mirror Preview
  2. Lynette Wallworth

20 Afrocentric films to see at the BFI London Film Festival 2015

The programme for this years BFI London Film Festival runs from 7-18th October 2015. Every year, EC Forde and I try and outline the films we think have an afrocentric slant to them, in the hope that you get the chance to see them before they disappear from London cinemas.  Some of course will get a big cinema release, others, a smaller cinema release, and some you may catch at other festivals and screening events. The rest may just vanish from our radar, with the hope that they pop up somewhere in the future (e.g. TV/DVD/Event). That is the beauty of the Film Festival, the ability to have access to these films covering topics from all over the world.

This years films takes us to the mountains of Ethiopia (Lamb), introduces us to a female mechanic in Johannesburg (Ayanda), brings us love, lust and power in Lagos (Fifty), child rebel soldiers in an unnamed African country (Beasts of No Nation), a look at male friendship in St Louis (Cronies), and a documentary in Tottenham – friends and family of Mark Duggan explore his life and subsequent death in 2011 (The Hard Stop).

My love affair with music related films continues, and I am looking forward to the “Sonic” stream of music films at the festival, If I’m honest, I could probably watch all of the films in this section of films, but EC and I are giving a nod to three you should check out, including two films about Hip Hop. One on the clothing culture and how it influenced fashion on the catwalks and high streets (Fresh Dressed) and the other on Hip Hop Radio presenters Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia (Stretch and Bobbito:Radio That Changed Lives)… AND, if that isn’t enough, there is an after-party after the screening at Hackney Picturehouse, where Stretch and Bobbito DJ at Birthdays on Stock Newington Road (Saturday 17th)!

So much more to tell you, and we will be back with more films, particulary the short films worth catching, and maybe some of the films available online.

EC Forde & Jammie xx

In the meantime, here is our list of recommended films:

Adama
It’s 1914 and 12-year-old Adama lives with his elder brother Samba in a small west African village. They have been raised to be naturally sceptical of the negative forces or spirits that live outside the community, so the family is shocked when Samba runs away to become a warrior. Adama leaves the village soon after in order to search for him. His epic journey takes him across several continents and forces the boy to take stock of the world at large, particularly a war-strewn Europe where, it becomes clear, Samba has been sent to the front line trenches to fight. Adama is a richly animated film that deals with an important chapter in world history. It is as exciting and enlightening as it is moving.

Saturday 10 October 3:45pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
Sunday 11 October 3:45pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT2

Ayanda
Sara Belcher’s Ayanda is a fresh, modern tale set in a vibrant and diverse Johannesburg. 21-year-old Afro-hipster and artist Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani) is the child of a Nigerian father and a South African mother (Nthati Moshesh). After her father’s death she inherits his struggling garage and along with her mechanic boyfriend David (OC Ukeje) they work hard, combining their skills, to keep the business going. In order to attract custom they decide to specialise in the buying, refurbishing and selling of vintage cars. Using a collage-style ‘inspired by the possibilities of a modern African aesthetic’, Blecher presents colourful portraits of the multi-national residents living in Johannesburg’s Yeoville suburb, intercut with a rousing narrative of two individuals with nothing to lose overcoming all odds. A lively, engaging and ultimately celebratory female-centred story, Ayanda also highlights the Afro-cultural hub that modern South Africa is fast becoming.

Saturday 10 October 8:45pm @ Cineworld Haymarket, Screen 1
Sunday 11 October 6:15pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2

Beasts of No Nation
Cary Fukunaga’s (True Detective, Jane Eyre, Sin Nombre) unflinching adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s 2005 novel of the same name (itself borrowed from Fela Kuti’s 1989 album) is at once enthralling cinema and a gut-wrenching indictment of child exploitation. In an unnamed African country, civil conflict rips through the village where Agu, a sparky young boy, lives with his family. Witnessing unspeakable atrocities, including the brutal execution of his father and older brother, Agu is forced to run for his life. He is discovered, dazed and traumatised, by a group of rebel soldiers and is swiftly incorporated into their ranks by a fierce mercenary. The Commandant (Idris Elba), who receives his own orders from afar and for an unknown purpose keeps his militia fuelled with a heady mix of intoxicating bravado and hard drugs, maintains control through psychological and physical abuse. Rapidly adapting in order to survive, Agu is pushed to unthinkable limits. Idris Elba is charismatic and terrifying as the unhinged Commandant and newcomer Abraham Attah is a revelation as Agu, delivering a performance that (like his character) carries a weight beyond his years. Whilst deeply true to its African subject, the film resonates darkly beyond its situation, serving as a harsh reminder of childhoods destroyed in war zones and deprived urban areas everywhere.

Thursday 08 October 6:00pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
Thursday 08 October 6:30pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 5
Friday 09 October 12:30pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 5

Black Girl (La Noire de…)
The evolution of African cinema can be dated from Sembène’s astonishing first feature, which tells the tragic story of Diouana, a young Senegalese woman eager to find a better life and who takes a job as a governess for a bourgeois French family. Mistreated by her employers, Diouana’s hopes turn to disillusionment and she descends into a state of isolation and despair. Sembène draws from the Nouvelle Vague, but the film’s heart and soul is most definitely African. It is the perfect companion to Samba Gadjigo’s documentary Sembéne!.

Wednesday 07 October 6:20pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT3
Friday 09 October 1:30pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT3

Cronies
Executive produced by Spike Lee and developed while director Michael J Larnell was in film school, Cronies is a funny, sharply-observed look at male friendship. Louis and Jack have been mates since their tough childhood in one of the poorer, mostly black neighbourhoods of St Louis. Now grown up, they’re growing apart with Jack partying every day, while Louis has a baby and a job at a carwash. Louis’ new friend Andrew, the white guy whose parents own the car wash, threatens the delicate balance of the pair’s friendship. Then a spontaneous day out turns into a weed-fuelled test of their bond. With hints of Clerks, not least in the gorgeous B&W photography and rough-hewn charm, Larnell delivers a smart film about growing up and an ode to his native St Louis with the three local actors giving performances full of great natural appeal.

Thursday 08 October 6:30pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
Saturday 10 October 2:45pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7

The Endless River
In a small South African town, a man returns home from a four-year prison sentence. Tiny, his wife, finds herself agonising over their inability to reconnect. Meanwhile, on the other side of town Gilles, a French ex-pat is devasted by the brutal murder of his wife and young children. United in their suffering, Tiny and Gilles form an unlikely bond, turning to each other for help and companionship. While the gorgeous opening credits feel like a homage to a classic Hollywood western, Oliver Hermanus’ third feature (following the acclaimed Shirley Adams and Beauty) soon proves to be something far more thought-provoking. Defiantly ambiguous in its storytelling and consistently surprising in its aesthetic choices, The Endless River is undeniably demanding. However, thanks to the extraordinary central performances from Crystal-Donna Roberts and Nicolas Duvauchelle, along with Hermanus’ intelligent direction, such formal invention never eclipses the film’s devastating emotional impact.

Tuesday 13 October 2015 18:20 @ Curzon Mayfair Cinema
Thursday 15 October 2015 21:00 @Vue Cinema Islington

Fifty
Biyi Bandele’s follow-up to Half of a Yellow Sun is a riveting exploration of love and lust, power and rivalry, and seduction and infidelity, set in Africa’s most populous city, Lagos. It details a few pivotal days in the lives of four women at the pinnacle of their careers and revelling in the power and supposed wisdom that comes with age. Tola is a reality TV star whose marriage to lawyer Kunle never stood a chance, thanks to an unpleasant family secret. Elizabeth is a celebrated obstetrician whose penchant for younger men has estranged her from her daughter. 49-year-old Maria has an affair with a married man that causes explosive rifts in her social circle. And for Kate, her battle with a life-threatening illness has prompted an obsession with religion. Elegantly performed, featuring a vibrant, pulsating soundtrack and with Lagos evocatively filmed by Malcolm McLean, Fifty is a joy to watch.

Saturday 17 October 6:00pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
Sunday 18 October 6:30pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2

Fresh Dressed
In this fascinating and lively directorial debut, Sacha Jenkins continues his chronicling of hip hop culture that began with his journalism in the 1990s, followed by his 2008 publication, ‘Piecebook: The Secret Drawings of Graffiti Writers’. Here, he tells the story of the colourful characters that emerged from urban roots to hustle the oversized pants and graffiti-emblazoned jackets from the New York discount stores and would go on to influence both the fashion world’s catwalks and middle America’s shopping malls. Channelled through an entertaining collage of original interviews, archive footage, gloriously ‘fresh’ stills and groove-inducing hip hop, Jenkins’ film connects the dots between music, style, self-expression and identity politics. Moving from pre-Civil War slavery to South Bronx in the 1970s and the super-connected niche cultures of today, Fresh Dressed is the story of freedom of expression as articulated by disenfranchised and oppressed peoples.

Saturday 17 October 6:30pm @ Hackney Picturehouse, Screen 1
Sunday 18 October 3:00pm @ Picturehouse Central, Screen 1

Gold Coast (Guldkysten)
In 1836, young botanist Wulff Joseph Wulff is dispatched to the Danish colonies in Guinea (present-day southeast Ghana) to establish and oversee a coffee plantation. He is fuelled by naïve optimism and what he believes is a progressive mentality, but his troubling experience of colonial life radically challenges his very European complacency. Based on fact, but far from a traditional historical drama, both in style and content, writer/director Daniel Dencik’s story evolves through a series of richly textured dreamlike vignettes. Dencik employs a creative collision of fact and imagination to build a mesmerising picture of Wulff’s moral compass, thoughts and inner life. And Jakob Oftebro (Kon-Tiki) delivers an extraordinary and extreme performance as Wulff, by turns visceral, conflicted and heartbreaking. The addition of Angelo Badalamenti’s ethereal contemporary score further helps to bring a distinctive freshness to this powerful and ambitious feature debut.

Sunday 11 October 6:00pm @ Cineworld Haymarket, Screen 1
Tuesday 13 October 6:30pm @ Vue Cinema Islington, Screen 1
Thursday 15 October 12:00pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7

The Hard Stop
The Hard Stop is an intimate documentary revealing the story, away from all press coverage, of Mark Duggan’s friends and family following his death. He was shot and killed in a ‘Hard Stop’ police procedure in 2011, sparking the most violent riots in British history. For 28 months, director George Amponsah (The Fighting Spirit) filmed around Broadwater Farm in Tottenham, where Duggan grew up, capturing his family’s distress and focusing on two of his best friends, Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville. We follow the men closely as they attempt to get on with their lives, look for a job, talk about the discrimination they experience on a daily basis and the impact Duggan’s death has had on the community. Duggan is present throughout, in peoples’ testimonies and news broadcasts. What emerges is a profoundly humane, thought-provoking and topical testament, which gives a voice to people who are rarely heard.

Saturday 17 October 8:45pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
Sunday 18 October 3:45pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2

Lamb
This is an exquisite, multilayered directorial feature debut that unfolds amidst the breathtakingly beautiful mountains of Ethiopia. After the death of his mother, 9-year-old Ephraim is taken from his drought-stricken home by his father who places him in the care of relatives while he goes to look for work in Addis Ababa. Ephraim has his pet sheep Chuni for company and they are inseparable, spending all their time playing together. Ephraim’s uncle, a hard working peasant-farmer, is frustrated that Ephraim doesn’t seem to be good at anything. However, the situation turns against Ephraim when he is told that Chuni will be sacrificially slaughtered at the next religious feast. Distraught at this news, Ephraim decides that he must take drastic action to save his only friend, even if that means returning home. Lamb marks the arrival of a major new African filmmaker in Yared Zeleke.

Friday 09 October 6:30PM @ ICA Cinema, Screen 1
Saturday 10 October 9:00pm @ Rich Mix Cinema, Screen 1

Mediterranea
Jonas Carpignano’s riveting feature debut is an ultra-topical tale of two young African men, Ayiva and Abas from Burkina Faso who, in search of a better life, make the difficult and dangerous trip across the Sahara desert and Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy. Needless to say, their destination is more problematic than the two friends imagined. The Calabrian community is hostile to immigrants who attempt to eke out an existence there, which eventually leads to violence and rioting. Played by a largely non-professional cast (many having experienced similar problems), Mediterranea is a powerful, strikingly shot and utterly believable film. Directed with verve and considerable aplomb by director Carpignano, the film was developed from his award winning short A Chianna, which also drew on real life events.

Friday 16 October 9:15pm @ Curzon Mayfair Cinema, Screen 1
Saturday 17 October 1:00pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2

Nasty Baby
Sebastián Silva’s Nasty Baby is one of the most original works of the year, by turns beguiling, seductive and confrontational. Successful artist Freddy (Silva) and his boyfriend Mo (Tunde Adebimpe) are happily ensconced in Brooklyn and preparing to have a baby with Freddy’s best friend Polly (Kristen Wiig). Silva quickly draws us into their world and we identify with their worries: how to impregnate Polly; what Mo’s conservative family make of it; how to manage their increasingly disruptive neighbour. All against the backdrop of Freddy’s attempts to create a new work for a major gallery and struggling with the threat of deportation. These truthful and urgent cares are more than enough to make the film compelling. But the roguishly brilliant Silva hasn’t set out to deliver an absorbing ‘post-race’ drama about gay parenting. Instead, he plays a breathtaking and audacious late curve ball that is guaranteed to spark passionate post-screening debates.

Tuesday 13 October 8:45pm @ Cineworld Haymarket, Screen 1
Thursday 15 October 8:45pm @ Hackney Picturehouse, Screen 1

Necktie Youth
For his directorial debut, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer delves into the world of contemporary Johannesburg’s privileged youth. He plays Jabz, a twentysomething slacker who hangs out with best friend September in their uptown neighbourhood. They embark on a drug and alcohol-fuelled spree – their way of dealing with the circumstances that led to their friend’s live-streamed suicide a year before. Beautifully shot in black and white, Necktie Youth avoids the stereotypes that often undermine the country’s cinematic output, instead presenting a refreshing portrait of the ‘born frees’ – the generation born since 1990 and after the fall of Apartheid. Though their parents fought for or experienced the struggle against that regime, these youths are ill-equipped to handle the tragedy that blows apart their relatively sheltered lives. Winner of the Best South African Film and Best Director awards at the Durban International Film Festival, this is a promising film from a major new talent.

Friday 16 October 9:00pm   @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2
Sunday 18 October 4:00pm @ Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1

Red Leaves (Alim adumim)
This marvellous first feature by Tel Aviv-based Ethiopian director Bazzi Gete tells the story of Meseganio, an immigrant who has been living in Israel for almost 30 years. After the death of his wife, he announces to his family that he will be selling his house and living with them. A stubborn patriarch, Meseganio is used to having everything done his way, so he is angry and hurt when his hard-line traditional values are challenged. He clashes with his daughter-in-law when she stands up to him and is shocked that his teenage granddaughter has a non-Ethiopian boyfriend. What makes this portrait of a man out of time with the world so compelling is Debebe Eshetu’s central performance. Scrupulously watched by Eddan Sasson’s camera – often in extreme close up to capture his anguish and outrage – Eshetu perfectly captures Meseganio’s inability to understand his children or exercise any power over them.

Thursday 08 October 9:15pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT3
Monday 12 October 6:30pm @ Ritzy Cinema, Screen 2

Sembène!
This incisive documentary chronicles the life of the internationally acclaimed filmmaker, considered by many to be the father of African cinema. Ousmane Sembène was a self-taught novelist and filmmaker. His ambition was to make films that would reach a vast African audience, from the illiterate to the educated. He dropped out from school when he was in the fifth grade and left Senegal, embarking on a journey that took him to Marseille where he worked as a docker. It was following an accident and the subsequent months lain in bed that Sembène began writing. From there he attended the Gorky Film Institute in Moscow and shortly after directed his first short film. Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman’s film details Semebène’s transformation into a world class filmmaker, through personal recollection, archive footage and the magnificent films he made. It is a fitting tribute to one of cinema’s great pioneers and storytellers. The director’s stunning feature debut Black Girl is also screening in the LFF.

Wednesday 07 October 8:45pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT3
Thursday 08 October 3:30pm @ BFI Southbank, NFT2

Stretch and Bobbito: Radio that Changed Lives
In 1990, Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia started broadcasting on New York’s WKCR. The pair filled the airwaves with their intense passion for Hip Hop, uniquely infectious chemistry and sense of humour. Presenting exclusive demo tapes and live in-studio freestyles from a range of artists who were unsigned at the time but now read like a roll call who’s who of the hip hop world, the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show rapidly became a rally cry for rap. Their audience ranged from kids from the streets, the prison community and downtown fashionistas. It is a personal account of the show through its halcyon days, featuring previously unreleased footage and contributions from Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, Big Pun, Rosie Perez, Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Q-Tip, Jay Z and many more. This is simply a must for any fan of hip hop.

Thursday 15 October 9:00pm @ Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1
Saturday 17 October 8:45pm @ Hackney Picturehouse, Screen 1

Tangerine
Fizzing and popping with the energy of as-it-happened classics like Before Sunset and Do the Right Thing, Sean Baker’s Tangerine, a tale of two transsexual hookers on Santa Monica Boulevard, could prove the sleeper hit of the year. On Christmas Eve, released from a brief stint in jail, Sin-Dee Rella meets her best friend Alexandra who reveals that her beau, Chester, has been cheating on her with a ‘white fish’ (a Caucasian female-born woman). The news propels the mercurial Sin-Dee to find Chester’s new girl and teach her a lesson. Remarkably, considering the richness of the bold, saturated colour and widescreen photography, Baker and his co-cinematographer, Radium Cheung filmed this on iPhone 5s, grabbing most scenes with just two cameras and dolly shots filmed from cycles. The result is a film of urgency and veracity, with charming performances from transgender non-actors Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez. From donut shop to Hollywood dive bar, the comedy of hair pulling and bitch slapping gives way to something altogether more tender and unexpected: a film about female friendship and solidarity.

Friday 09 October 8:45pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 7
Friday 09 October 9:15pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 5
Saturday 10 October 12:30pm @ Vue West End Cinema, Screen 5

Tanna
Filmed on the remote island of Tanna in Vanuatu, this visually ravishing film tells the story of Wawu, a young woman who has fallen in love with her chief’s grandson, Dain. Despite their desire to marry, Wawa’s family forbid this union. When an inter-tribal war breaks out with a neighbouring community, her hand is unwittingly promised as part of the peace negotiations. With the threat of separation looming, Wawa and Dain abandon their homes in an attempt to be together, causing further upset between the warring clans. Based on the true story that took place in 1985, this is a stunningly photographed, evocative tale of two star-crossed lovers fighting the laws of ancient tradition and tribal custom. Working with an extraordinary cast of non-actors, acclaimed documentary filmmakers Martin Butler and Bentley Dean have made an arresting narrative debut, expanding on their previous work with indigenous communities, resulting in a truly special film.

Friday 16 October 9:15pm @ Curzon Soho Cinema, Screen 1
Sunday 18 October 3:30pm @ Vue Cinema Islington, Screen 1

They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music In Exile
Imagine living in a world with no radio, no stereos and no live music. It is difficult to contemplate, but that is exactly what happened in an area of Mali in 2012. Islamic Jihadists took control of Northern Mali and through a harsh interpretation of Sharia law they banned all forms of music. In a tragedy that constitutes nothing less than a crime against humanity for a country famous for its vibrant and colourful music, radio stations were destroyed, instruments burned and revered musicians faced torture, even death. For her feature debut, Johanna Schwartz intelligently captures the complexity and emotion of the life of musicians forced into exile and desperate to keep their music alive. The score was composed by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner and there is music from a variety of artists, including Khaira Arby, Fadimata ‘Disco’ Walet Oumar, Amkoullel and Moussa Sidi

Tuesday 13 October 6:15pm @ Picturehouse Central, Screen 1
Wednesday 14 October 6:30pm @ Rich Mix Cinema, Screen 1

Sixteen (15)

Director: Rob Brown
Starring: Roger Jean Nsengiyumva, Rachael Stirling, Rosie Day, Fady Elsayed, Sam Spruell


Jumah is about to turn 16 and is already in need of a fresh start. Burdened with the shameful legacy of a past as a child soldier in the Congo, he lives with his adoptive mother in west London, where he struggles to keep a lid on his history of violence. One night, enjoying a rare carefree evening out with a new friend, Jumah witnesses something that draws him seemingly inescapably into his old ways. As he and others around him begin to question whether he can ever stop being a soldier, he’s set on a path to find out who he truly wishes to be.


I first saw this film at the London Film Festival in October 2013. Interesting brit film which asks the question we all hope we’ll never be faced with, ‘What would you do if you were a witness to a crime, and then became a target?’ Add to that Jumah’s history of being a child soldier, and it adds an unexpected twist to his predicament. But this is a thinking over brawn film, very gently done. Superb acting from Roger Jean Nsengiyumva. Lots of shots in West London, off and around Ladbroke Grove.