Tag Archives: London

SOUL Fest: New Film Festival

SOUL Fest
30-31 August 2019

The BFI is the place to be this weekend! Four black British feature films, short films, and a symposium!

The inaugural SOUL Fest is a two-day celebration of black British talent in film, allowing audiences the opportunity to see a diverse representation of black Britain.

Full details of the festival can be found online: SOUL Fest .

 

Friday 30 August 2019

18:10
Farming + Q&A with director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Six-week-old Enitan is left in the care of a white working-class family in Tilbury, Essex, but his surrogate mother (Kate Beckinsale) makes for a complex foster parent. Unsure of his place in the world, teenage Enitan (Damson Idris) falls in with a skinhead gang. Based on his own life story, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Farming charts the extraordinary journey of a young fostered Nigerian boy in 1980s England.

UK 2018. Dir Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Damson Idris, Jaime Winstone. 107min

+ SOUL Fest Opening Night Party, 21:00-23:00 – Balcony Bar, BFI Riverfront Restaurant & Bar.

 

Saturday 31 August 2019

12:30
SOUL Fest Symposium and Short Films

The unique SOUL Fest Symposium brings together a group of leading thinkers from Britain’s diverse communities to consider the role and responsibility of filmmakers with regards to the representation of diversity on screen. The symposium will also feature a presentation of some of the best short films by emerging BAME talent, exploring an eclectic range of tales touching on the Black British experience.

 

15:30
Nine Nights + Q&A with director Veronica McKenzie and actors Malcolm Atobrah and Mary Nyambura

Marcie and Mickey Haines are 16-year-old athletic twins. They’re inseparable, leaving their mother, Leonore, feeling excluded. On the day of an important race for Marcie, Michael is hit by a car and killed. The next morning she wakes to find the house full of mourners, talking about Michael in the past tense.

UK 2018. Dir Veronica McKenzie. Cast: Mary Nyambura, Malcolm Atobrah, Jo Martin, Elizabeth Brace. 99min

 

18:20
Preview: The Last Tree + Q&A with director Shola Amoo

Directed by Shola Amoo, The Last Tree is the semi-autobiographical story of Femi (played by young newcomer Tai Golding), a British boy of Nigerian heritage who, after being fostered in rural Lincolnshire, moves to inner-city London to live with his birth mother. In his teens, Femi (Sam Adewunmi) struggles with the culture and values of his new environment. He must decide which path to adulthood he wants to take and find out what it means to be a young black man in London during the early 00s.

UK 2019. Dir Shola Amoo. Cast: Sam Adewunmi, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Denise Black, Tai Golding, Nicholas Pinnock. 99min

 

20:40
Rattlesnakes + Q&A with director Julius Amedume

Award-winning writer-director Julius Amedume’s neo-noir psychological thriller is based on a play by Graham Farrow. Robert McQueen’s typical day takes a turn for the worse when he’s ambushed by three masked men who accuse him of sleeping with their wives. Robert pleads his innocence, but reveals something that will change his captors’ lives forever – is it enough to save his own life, though?

UK-USA 2019. Dir Julius Amedume. Cast: Jimmy Jean-Louis, Jack Coleman, Kathleen McClellan. 85min

 

HAVE A FABULOUS SOUL Fest!

2017 Sundance Film Festival

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival: London starts tomorrow; films are screening at PictureHouse Central.

On from the 1st – 4th June 2017.

Here are two Feature films and two Short film programmes to see:

JUNE 2017

Friday 2 – Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour [18]

Friday 2 | Saturday 3 – The Incredible Jessica James [18]
Director: Jim Strouse.
Starring: Jessica Williams, Chris O’Dowd, Lakeith Stanfield, Noël Wells. USA 2017. 85 mins.

Friday 2 | Saturday 3 – Crown Heights [18]
Director: Matt Ruskin.
Starring: Lakeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Nestor Carbonell, Amari Cheatom. USA 2017. 99 mins.

Sunday 4 – Sundance Film Festival UK Shorts [18]

 

The Hard Stop

Opening Friday 15th July 2016

Director George Amponsah
Producer Dionne Walker
Screenwriters George Amponsah, Dionne Walker
UK 2015
90 mins
Production company Ga Films Ltd

The Hard Stop
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.”
BFI LFF 2015


Family and friends talk about their relationship with mark Duggan and how things unfolded after his death during a ‘Hard Stop’ – ‘a nationally approved police tactic’.

The film is thought-provoking, funny, sad and totally compelling watching. I’ve watched this film twice, and both times I have walked away with more questions than answers. Well worth seeing.

 

Also, read this piece in The Guardian:
Marcus Knox-HookeThe man accused of starting the 2011 riots – and what he did next.
“Marcus Knox-Hooke was at the heart of the 2011 riots sparked by the death of his friend Mark Duggan in a police shooting. A new documentary examines what happened and follows him as he struggles to rebuild his life.”

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.

BFI Flare Film Festival 2015 | Afrocentric films

A selection of afrocentric films at this years BFI Flare Film Festival which opens on Thursday. Here are our selections for the festival.

Including Kenyan film, ‘Stories of Our Lives‘ which gets its UK Premiere at the festival but sadly is already sold out.

Mo’Nique returns to the big screen in her first film since winning an Oscar for ‘Precious‘ in ‘Blackbird‘ a story based on Larry Duplechan’s Novel of the same title, with the films screeplay written by Brit Rikki Beadle-Blair.

The Starlite, one of New York’s pre-Stonewall gay bars – a black-owned and operated influential dance club, is celebrated in, ‘We Came To Sweat‘. Some of the disco sound originated at the bar, which is now under the threat of redevelopment.

Plus there’s another chance to see French film, ‘Girlhood‘ and the hottest black film in years, ‘Dear White People‘ as with its London Film Festival outing last year the tickets sold out within an hour.

The festival closes with the documentary, ‘Out To Win‘, looking at the experience of LGBT sportspeople working in professional sport, with contributions from Brit John Amaechi, and remembering Justin Fashanu.


19-29 March 2015.
50 feature films and over 100 short films. BFI Southbank.


Download the film Schedule here.


FEATURE FILMS


Blackbird

A gay boy in a deeply conservative Southern US town deals with the traumas of religious prejudice and coming out.

blackbird-002“Based on a 1986 Larry Duplechan novel, transposed to a Mississippi small town. Randy, a young black man, is wrestling unsuccessfully with his burgeoning sexuality. A member of his church choir, he has a tight cohort of school friends who seem more aware than he is of his sexuality. Meanwhile, at home Randy has to contend with his deeply religious mother (actress Mo’Nique from Precious), grief-stricken since his sister was mysteriously abducted. An unexpected encounter with a young actor and filmmaker changes things for Randy, but nothing runs that smoothly in this ripely melodramatic, emotionally engaging coming-of-age story, replete with plenty of sharp one-liners.” BFI

  • Mar 21, 2015 8:45 PM
  • Mar 23, 2015 1:50 PM

Girlhood Bande de filles

Céline Sciamma’s triumphant film explores of a young girl’s search for identity in the underprivileged suburbs of Paris.

girlhood-002“Céline Sciamma (Waterlilies and Tomboy) returns with this glorious coming of age drama about a quartet of young black girls growing up in the working class outskirts of Paris. Marieme is the eldest daughter of a single mother who works nights, leaving her with full responsibility for her younger sisters and an older brother so authoritarian that his behaviour borders on the abusive. At first a lonely, solitary figure among the young girls on her estate, Marieme is soon adopted by a sassy group, and the quartet find strength and power together in a community where rough boys dominate. Less overtly ‘L, B, or T’ than her previous work, Sciamma’s Girlhood is a nuanced examination of female friendship, gender dynamics and identity. Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ provides the backdrop to one of the year’s most electrifying, joyful scenes: ‘eye to eye, so alive, we’re like diamonds in the sky…’.” BFI

  • Mar 23, 2015 8:40 PM
  • Mar 24, 2015 3:50 PM

Dear White People

The diversification of an all-black residence hall forces a group of African-American university students to take a stand.

dear-white-people-002“Sam White is frustrated. Everywhere she looks, she finds racial inequality and coded aggression at her elite university. Her radio show is rubbing people up the wrong way and her ex-boyfriend, the tormented son of the school’s dean, is her opponent in a student election campaign she thinks she will never win. When she does, Sam is forced to face the true complexity of the racial politics she espouses; a complexity that Lionel Higgins, a gay writer casually ridiculed by the black student union Sam runs, is already facing.” BFI

  • Mar 24, 2015 8:40 PM
  • Mar 25, 2015 3:50 PM
  • Mar 28, 2015 1:30 PM

We Came to Sweat

Over 50 years of gay, black American heritage is at stake when this pre-Stonewall Brooklyn bar is threatened by redevelopment.

we-came-to-sweat-001“When a Brooklyn landmark, the black-owned and operated Starlite, is threatened with eviction by new landlords, its 50-year history as a pre-Stonewall gay bar and dance club is in peril. This film is a history of the club, its patrons and its staff, many of whom are also deserving of national treasure status. It’s not just in London that gentrification and rising property prices tempt landlords to sell to developers in the hope of making a fast buck. The community rallies around in protest, but is it enough? The history of the Starlite and its importance to the black gay community as a privileged space is underlined by the rich testimony from elders and family members for whom the venue is simply a part of their life. With a rich soundtrack of great music, reflecting the club’s influence on the creation of disco, the film is a warning to anyone who thinks their favourite gay bar is a permanent fixture.” BFI

  • Mar 24, 2015 8:50 PM
  • Mar 26, 2015 6:10 PM
  • Mar 27, 2015 6:10 PM

Stories of Our Lives

A visually stunning and tenderly wrought collection of stories about LGBTI lives in Kenya.

stories-of-our-lives-003“Two young women are in trouble for their ‘peculiar’ relationship; a farm hand is tormented when his crush begins courting a woman; a young DVD seller is intoxicated by the smoke and sounds of a clandestine gay bar. These are among the tales featured in this beautifully rendered collection of narratives from LGBTI Kenyans. Stories of Our Lives started out as an archival project by the multi-disciplinary Nest Collective, and the testimonies given have been tenderly wrought into funny, endearing – and at times heartbreaking – sketches. The quality and imagination achieved transcends the predictable but nevertheless disappointing response from the Kenyan government; after its Toronto premiere Stories of Our Lives was banned in the country for promoting homosexuality. That many of the actors are not themselves LGBT but were willing to participate at great personal risk is testament to the socially incisive and life-affirming vision of the project.” BFI

  • Mar 26, 2015 8:40 PM
  • Mar 28, 2015 11:45 AM
  • Mar 29, 2015 4:10 PM

Out to Win

Inspirational documentary charting the history of homosexuality in competitive sport, with interviewees including Martina Navratilova and Jason Collins.

out-to-win-JasonCollins1“In the competitive world of professional sports, homosexuality continues to be a big issue. So big that it seems no-one wants to talk about it. With so many athletes afraid that coming out will mark the end of their careers, there is a dearth of proud LGBT sportspeople representing the community and empowering future generations. Thankfully, some brave individuals have spoken out about their sexuality and paved the way for change. Told through the words of these pioneers, Malcolm Ingram’s inspirational documentary charts the history of homosexuality in sport, highlighting the triumphs, and indeed the tragedies, of those fearless forerunners, and profiling the victories of present day stars” BFI

  • Mar 29, 2015 6:00 PM
  • Mar 29, 2015 8:45 PM

SHORT FILMS


The View from Here | Mar 20, 2015 4:00 PM | Mar 21, 2015 11:50 AM
Whether you’re in your teens or well into adulthood, coming out can be one of the most terrifying (and perhaps most thrilling) things you’ll ever have to do, as demonstrated in this poignant collection of short films.

The Return  La Retour – A teenage boy must make sense of the world around him after he learns the truth about his older brother.

Director Yohann Kouam | France 2013 | 22 mins

Pleasures and Perils of Desire | Mar 23, 2015 4:00 PM
A rich haul of shorts about yearning for, finding, and remembering encounters of a sexual nature.

Caged  Uitgesproken – A group of friends hanging out at a sports ground discover one of their number is gay, but it seems he might not be the only one.

Director Lazlo Tonk, Dylan Tonk | The Netherlands 2013 | 13 mins

T/Here I Am | Mar 22, 2015 1:50 PM  | Mar 25, 2015 8:45 PM
Take up space, stand your ground, have no fear of not fitting in – these shorts explore what it means to be a queer body in a strange world.

Black Is Blue – A young homeless transman works as a security guard and is called to shut down a party his ex was rather enjoying.

Director Cheryl Dunye | USA 2014 | 16 mins

Dark Rivers of the Heart | Mar 27, 2015 3:50 PM | Mar 28, 2015 1:20 PM
Sinister desires become violent actions in this often disturbing programme of shorts.

Beyond Plain Sight – A seemingly charming young man hides a very dark and disturbing secret in his South London flat.

Director Joseph a. Adesunloye | UK 2014 | 13 mins

Fragile Things | Mar 29, 2015 12:45 PM
A collection of UK short films – From first encounters to break-ups, via autograph hunters, hand-jobs and a vision of Christ, this selection of homegrown narrative shorts explores infatuation and desire.

When Fragile Things Break – An explosive drama about dreams and hearts breaking.

Director Shanika Warren-Markland | UK 2013 | 7 mins

Mingmong – Annalise and Jude collect autographs together but Annalise’s mind is on other things.

Director Richard Turley | UK 2013 | 12 mins

Followers – Lynn has a vision of the face of Christ on a pair of swimming trunks.

Director Tim Marshall | UK 2014 | 12 mins

Italian Films at the BFI London Film Festival

A few Italian films to catch at this year’s London Film Festival. The Festival is running from the 8th-19th October 2014.

Check out our other recommended films: Jammie & ECs films to see at the London Film Festival

leopardiLEOPARDI – Director Mario Martone
Wednesday 8th, 6.00pm – NFT3
Thursday 9th, 6.00pm – VUE ISLINGTON 1
Strand: Love (135 mins)
Mario Martone’s Leopardi illuminates the life and soul of one of Italy’s most significant and influential poets. From his early days at home under his father’s watchful gaze, through to  leaving home and discovering that he does not fit into Italy’s high society, to love affairs in Florence followed by an immersion into a cholera ridden working class Naples, this sweeping, detailed film demonstrates the interrelation between the life and literature of this most freethinking of iconoclasts, strikingly portrayed by Elio Germano.
 Screens with INTO THE WAR (L’ENTRATA IN GUERRA), dir. Roland Sejko, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).
i-can-quit-whenever-i-wantI CAN QUIT WHENEVER I WANT – Director Sydney Sibilia
Saturday 11th, 12.15pm – CURZON MAYFAIR
Wednesday 15th, 8.45pm – ODEON COVENT GARDEN
Strand: Laugh (100 mins)
When Pietro is laid off from his university job, he decides to start up his own business. He recruits a group of his fellow down-at-heel university professors to enter the drug trade, albeit dealing only drugs made with yet to be banned substances. But their naivety is soon exposed as they fall foul of those on both sides of the law. Sydney Sibilia’s debut film is a comedy of misadventure with a smart, topical edge.
Screens with PANIC (PROGETTO PANICO), dir. Paola Randi, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).Paola Randi will be introducing her film, as well as the 9×10 anthology on Saturday 11th.
black-soulsBLACK SOULS – Director Francesco Munzi
Saturday 11th, 8.45pm – CINE LUMIERE
Tuesday 14th, 3.15pm – VUE7
Strand: Thrill (103 mins)
An adaptation of a novel by Gioacchino Criaco, itself based on a true story, Francesco Munzi’s Black Souls puts a new spin on the Italian family feud, playing out like a contemporary western. When a minor spat triggers the hostility of a rival clan, three brothers from Southern Italy who are steeped in the life of the ‘Ndrangheta (the Calabrian equivalent of the Mafia), are caught up in a spiral of events and emotions that escalate out of their control, heading towards tragedy.
 Screens with BORDERLANDS, dir. Alina Marazzi, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).
wondersTHE WONDERS – Director Alice Rohrwacher
Monday 13th, 8.30pm – VUE5
Wednesday 15th, 8.45pm – HACKNEY PICTUREHOUSE
Strand: Journey (110 mins)
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Alice Rohrwacher’s second film (after her critically acclaimed 2011 debut Corpo Celeste) tells the beguiling story of a summer in the life of 12 year old Gelsomina, whose family – exiled from modern life in rural Italy – is disrupted by the arrival of a bizarre TV talent show from the city, and a delinquent German boy from a rehabilitation program, who comes to work on their bee-keeping farm.
Screens with UNA CANZONE, dir. Alice Rohrwacher, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).
hungry-heartsHUNGRY HEARTS  – Director Saverio Costanzo
Tuesday 14th, 6.30pm – VUE5
Thursday 16th, 6.15pm – CINE LUMIERE
Friday 17th, 12.30pm – NFT1
Strand: Love (109 mins)
Winner of the Best Actor (Adam Driver) and Best Actress (Alba Rohrwacher) Awards at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Hungry Hearts tells the story of Jude (American) and Mina (Italian), who after a chance meeting in a New York restaurant washroom, embark on a whirlwind romance, marry and swiftly become pregnant. But their charming romance gives way to something darker and more disturbing when Mina’s obsessive protectiveness of her newborn son begins to endanger his life, and Jude has to act quickly, pushing both newlyweds to their emotional limits.
Screens with MY DUTIES AS BRIDE (IL MO DOVERE DI SPOSA), dir. Claudio Giovannesi, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).
dinner-theTHE DINNER – Director Ivano De Matteo
Thursday 16th, 12.00pm – VUE5
Saturday 18th, 2.35pm – CURZON MAYFAIR
Strand: Dare (92 mins)
Two brothers meet regularly for dinner at a fashionable restaurant with their wives. Their teenage children are also close school friends. One fateful night, the children are out, and something horrific happens, leaving the families with a terrible moral dilemma. The polite chitchat and civility of dinner disintegrate, as both couples demonstrate how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love. An enthralling psychological drama based on Dutch author Herman Koch’s best-selling thriller ‘Our Children’.
Screens with TUBIOLO AND THE MOON (TUBIOLO E LA LUNA), dir. Marco Bonfanti, from the 9×10 anthology (10 mins).

*** Locations ***

  • CINÉ LUMIÈRE
    Institut Français / 17 Queensberry Place, London, SW7 2DT
  • COV. GARDEN
    Odeon Covent Garden / 135 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8AH
  • HPF
    Hackney Picturehouse / 270 Mare Street, London E8 1HE
  • ISLINGTON
    Vue Islington / 36 Parkfield Street, London N1 0PS
  • MAYFAIR
    Curzon Mayfair / 38 Curzon Street, London, W1J 7TY
  • NFT
    BFI Southbank / Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XT
  • VUE
    Vue West End / 3 Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7AL