BFI Black Star Launches


BFI Black Star Launches

BFI Black Star

Nationwide Celebration of Black Actors hits the North

Over the next three months, Northern Ireland will take part in the BFI’s major UK-wide season BLACK STAR, celebrating black actors. BLACK STAR NI is a season of events, from October – December, exploring the range, versatility and power of black actors on film and television.

In Belfast and Derry, screenings, talks, and special evenings will be taking place, all exploring the impact of black stars, both locally and internationally. 

The QFT, Belfast Film Festival, Banterflix and Nerve Centre Derry have come together in partnership with BFI Film Audience Network, Into Film and the Independent Cinema Office to produce the dizzyingly diverse BLACK STAR NI programme. 

It’s a programme which puts the spotlight on the galaxy of black acting talent and examines the creativity and charisma of trailblazing performers and celebrates the transatlantic wave of black British talent currently breaking across our screens. 

Screenings includes Big Budget classics such as 48 Hrs, Sister Act and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, powerful examinations of Black American History such as The Colour Purple, 12 Years a Slave and Selma and dazzling art house explorations such as Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and Clint Eastwood’s little known Charlie Parker biopic Bird. The latter two movies star the great Forest Whitaker, who is one of the pivotal figure in BLACK STAR’s Northern Ireland Programme. Whitaker of course also stars in Neil Jordan’s seminal “troubles” thriller The Crying Game – another QFT BLACK STAR Screening. 

Another focus of attention will be the great - if not “The Greatest” – Muhammad Ali. There’ll be screenings of his Greatest Fights, When Ali Came to Ireland and a panel discussion Ali: The Greatest?, followed by the incontrovertible proof of When We Were Kings. Elsewhere the late, great Richard Pryor is remembered in film, and there is a mini-season of explosive underground and independent black cinema. 

Local author Tim Brannigan, whose memoir Where are You Really From? has recently been optioned for cinema adaption will be speaking about his experience  of growing up black in a Republican family at the height of the armed conflict in Northern Ireland. 
Hugh Odling-Smee of Film Hub NI said:
“We are delighted that the membership have responded so creatively and passionately to the BLACK STAR opportunity from the BFI. The BFI and ourselves wanted the season to not only to celebrate black acting achievements, but also ask the searching questions that underpin this season. How have we represented black communities on screen, and how has this representation affected issues of identity and exclusion? All four of the programmes boasts brilliant titles, with QFT’s deserved spotlight on Forest Whittaker, Nerve Centre’s exploration of Ali on screen, Belfast Film Festival’s brilliant programme of underground gems and Banterflix’s celebration of the late, great Richard Pryor. Collective programming like this can highlight the rich and varied black talent on screen, and the coming together of our membership to ensure a wide distribution of the BFI’s vision is to be welcomed.’

A full list of Black Star events can be found here

BLACK STAR runs from October – December 2016.
For further information, images or to arrange an interview, please contact Joseph Nawaz on 07599798472.
Northern Irish events can be found at
The full UK programme of events can be found on
About the BFI
The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:
· Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema
· Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
· Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK - investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
· Promoting British film and talent to the world 
· Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences
The BFI is a Government arm’s-length body and distributor of Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role:
· As the UK-wide organisation for film, a charity core funded by Government
· By providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK
· By working with partners to advance the position of film in the UK.
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter.
The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.
About the BFI Film Audience Network
The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) is a ground-breaking initiative that gives audiences across the UK the opportunity to see a broader range of films in a cinema setting. For filmmakers, getting films onto cinema screens is a highly competitive business, particularly for specialised films which includes archive, documentary, independent and foreign language films.
With £8.7 million of Lottery funding over four years (2013-2017) the BFI FAN works with cinema exhibitors, film festivals, educators, film societies, community venues, film archives and other organisations in their regions or nations to boost audiences for film across the UK.
The film hub partners which drive audience engagement across the UK comprise:  Broadway Cinema, Nottingham; Chapter, Cardiff; HOME, Manchester; Film London; Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast; Scottish Film; the University of Brighton; Showroom Sheffield; and Watershed, Bristol.
BLACK STAR champions the achievements of black stars from the earliest years of cinema through to the present day, whilst exploring why opportunities to shine on screen have been historically limited for black actors. BLACK STAR celebrates films that feature black actors in central roles, bringing their work to a new generation of UK audiences and helping to reposition them and their performances in our collective memory. BLACK STAR will be available to audiences everywhere in the UK; in cinemas including BFI Southbank, on BBC Television, on DVD/Blu-ray and online via BFI Player from 17 October – 31 December, with further projects planned to celebrate the contribution of black practitioners working across film and TV in the coming years.