Director and Filmmaker Amma Asante, who graces our European Edition of the August/September Issue is the first ever black person to open the BFI London Film Festival in its 60 year history, as the programme for the acclaimed event launched today, with Festival Director Clare Stewart presenting this year’s diverse selection of films and events.
The Festival will open with the European Premiere of Asante’s A UNITED KINGDOM, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. Director Asante, a previous winner of the Festival’s UK Film Talent Award, returns to the Festival for a second time with a film that tells the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments.
She discusses the film and her ascent in the high male-dominated and whitewashed movie directing industry, in an exclusive interview with New African Woman which is now out on newsstands.
There will be a live cinecast from the London event and simultaneous screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK.
This year’s festival includes an agenda-setting Symposium event that heralds the BFI’s BLACK STAR project, the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors coming in late October. Films within the Festival programme will amplify the season, while the Symposium will ask searching questions about the continued under-representation of black actors on screen, probing why opportunities for black actors in the US and the UK remain limited and aiming to drive forward a progressive agenda by spotlighting and exploring key issues for the film industry.
To name a few, some of the films to showcase under the BLACK STAR lineup include Queen of Katwe. Again staring David Oyelowo, QUEEN OF KATWE is the vibrant true story of a young girl, Phiona Mutesi (played by newcomer MadinaNalwanga) selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess by Robert Katende ( Oyelowo) a soccer player turned missionary. As a result of the support she receives from her mother Harriet (palyed buy academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o), family and community, Phiona is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.
Another is ‘76’, a movie inspired by true events, set in 1976, six years after the end of the civil war in Nigeria, in which a heavily pregnant woman’s life crumbles when the news of her husband’s involvement in a botched military coup attempt hits the headlines. ‘76’ celebrates the quality of the true African woman by exploring the usually invisible pain of a soldier’s wife; it highlights the enduring Nigerian cultural values of courage, resilience, patience, loyalty, faith and family. It is visually ground breaking, emotionally engaging and amorously therapeutic. All shot in Nigeria by award-winning director, Izu Ojukwu starring Nigerian Nollywood megastars, Rita Dominic, Ramsey Nouah, Chidi Mokeme, Ibinabo Fiberesinma and Memry Savanhu. Also starring in the movie is actor Daniel K Daniel who recently won the best actor award at the 2016 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
The 60th BFI London Film Festival from 5 – 16 October 2016. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday 1 September 2016.
The Black Star blockbuster season, will run from 17 October to the end of the year.