Are we entering the Black renaissance in film?
Is the artistic celebration of black people in film indivisible from activism in cinema ?
How is this realisation for black filmmakers, in front and behind the camera, leading a revolution that goes beyond race and is changing perspectives for those considered ‘other’.
Jordan Peele, Ryan Coogler, Ava DuVernay, Clare Anyiam-Osigwe – recent years have seen recognition for Black directors skyrocket. Yet, how do filmmakers reconcile their art and their activism? What were the precursors to their success, and how can these be replicated by rising stars? What will it take to increase representation in the art form of film, for all people seen as ‘other’?
Chair: Simon Frederick
As a child, British artist and filmmaker Simon Frederick was told by his Caribbean grandmother that he had a gift of ‘being able to see people’. This ability to reveal the character and the soul of his subject is what makes his work so arresting. He conceived, produced and directed the award winning series Black Is The New Black for BBC Two. The portraits he shot of his subjects during filming went on to become the largest acquisition of African-Caribbean sitters by the National Portrait Gallery and remain part of the Gallery’s permanent collection.
BAFTA award-winner Noel Clarke is best known for the script of Kidulthood, and writing directing and starring in the sequels Adulthood and Brotherhood. The darling of the Black British film industry, now a Hollywood heavyweight in Star Trek: Into Darkness; Clarke prides himself on foregrounding new talent through production company Unstoppable Entertainment.
Missandei, Game of Thrones; Ramsey, The Fast and The Furious— Nathalie Emmanuel has been part of some of the best-loved franchises of our time. A dancer, presenter, singer and thespian — it is safe to say this talent has come a long way since Hollyoaks.
Actor David Gyasi has appeared in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Cloud Atlas (2012), What a Girl Wants (2003) and Interstellar (2014), to name a few. On TV, he has appeared in six-part drama White Heat (2012) and starred as the lead role in TV series Containment in 2016. Most recently, Gyasi signed on action-thriller Hunter Killer (2018). He joins Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common and Billy Bob Thorton in the film.
He has also worked on stage, performing in the National Theatre production of War Horse.