Sundance London 2018 is nearly here... and women dominate the lineup

The cream of this year's American Sundance Film Festival crop comes to London again, once more in its Picturehouse Central home. The Smoke Screen's appetite is truly whetted by the line-up, having kept an eye on many of the titles since their original festival debut. Some have since gone on to theatrical release and to drown in evenmore acclaim. Two films stand out in particular. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a wry and empathetic look at an American girl struggling in a gay conversation therapy genre, comes from the mind of Appropriate Behaviour director/writer Desiree Akhavan, and Smoke Screen remains a huge fan of that debut and thus eager for this follow-up, which has garnered great reviews since its original Sundance US appearance. Then there is Ari Aster's Hereditary, a horror film starring Toni Collete that has been lavished with the kind of praise that puts it in The Babadook and Get Out zone of greatness. Collete is expected to attend a Q&A after the screening of the film, for those who haven't passed out in shock from the terror.

The festival will open with the international premiere of Jennifer Fox’s The Tale, starring Laura Dern and Ellen Burstyn, and close four days later with the UK premiere of Leave No Trace, Debra Granik’s highly anticipated follow-up to the Academy Award-nominated Winter’s Bone. Both these films have garnered great reviews stateside.

Sundance has made a point of curating a line-up dominated by female filmmakers this year (7 out of 12 films are female-directed), as well as sprinkling panels and talks into the programme that reflect the current conversations about sex and gender in the American film industry. #Metoo and #Timesup are here to stay. Major UK film funders will join Half the Picture director Amy Adrion for The Big Culture Shift panel to examine what is next for the film industry and the steps needed to create a fairer and more inclusive film future. Triple Threat: Three major filmmakers in conversation will see three of this year's female Sundance filmmakers come together to discuss their careers and approach to their craft.

Sundance Film Festival: London returns to Picturehouse Central from 31 May to 3 June. You can view the programme and book tickets at the Picturehouse Central website.

 The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

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Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Women to be championed by the BFI throughout June

 Agnes Varda is one of several female filmmakers celebrated by the BFI in June

Agnes Varda is one of several female filmmakers celebrated by the BFI in June

The BFI always have a lot going on, but June promises to be something extra special. Tying in with the Vote100 campaign, June will see the BFI celebrate work by and about women in a dizzying number of ways, through screenings, panels, Q&As, and more.

There will be a major season devoted to legendary french auteur AGNÈS VARDA, as well as the pioneering figure of IDA LUPINO, who carved out her own space in the male-dominated Hollywood of the 1940s as one of the few female directors and producers. The BFI’s new CLOSE UP series focuses on 13th and A Wrinkle In Time director AVA DUVERNAY, while women animators get their due as part of the BFI’s year-long ANIMATION 2018 programme. The WOMAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA SUMMIT will honour trailblazers of the past, explore the power and pitfalls of grassroots feminist cinephile activism, champion new voices in criticism and programming, and explore movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp. The summit will take place on Saturday 16 June, with events including The Guilty Feminist podcast and a screening of Working Girl (Mike Nichols, 1988)Also in June the BFI will mark the 70th anniversary of Windrush with a programme celebrating WINDRUSH WOMEN.

Gaylene Gould, BFI Head of Cinema and Events said: “One hundred years ago British women marched to the voting booths for the first time. One hundred years later, Frances McDormand brandished a little gold man and instructed the women at the Oscars® ceremony to stand up. A continuum of action has brought about seismic change and, just like those women and men a century ago, we are witnessing a shift. This month, in honour of the Vote 100 campaign, we pay tribute to the women who transcended their worlds to expand ours, and present a programme bursting with female stories.”

Find out more and book tickets on the BFI site here.

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Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Martin Scorsese to get the tribute he deserves in early 2017

The BFI today announced plans for a major focus on Martin Scorsese during January and February 2017, a tribute the American director of acclaimed fare such as Mean Streets and Taxi Driver surely deserves. The season coincides with the highly anticipated release of the director's new film SILENCE in cinemas in January 2017. Highlights of the planned multi-month season will include Scorsese's hit gangster flick Goodfellas being re-released back on screens across the UK on 20 January in a new 4K restoration, while Park Circus will release a 4K restoration of Taxi Driver on UK screens from 10 February. Both films will get an extended run at BFI Southbank too.

Stuart Brown, BFI Head of Programme and Acquisitions said: “Martin Scorsese’s contribution to cinema is unique and unparalleled; not only is he is one of America’s finest filmmakers with a remarkable body of work, but he has also, through his non-profit organisation, The Film Foundation, brought back to life many classic, silent, independent and world cinema titles that might otherwise have disappeared from view. Scorsese’s own films are formally inventive, original in style, expertly cast, full of insight and highly entertaining. The BFI are thrilled to be bringing them back to the big screen where they belong”.

The full details of the tribute season are:

  • BFI brings GOODFELLAS back to screens across the UK on 20 January in a glorious 4K restoration, in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures International. Park Circus will release the 4K restoration of TAXI DRIVER on UK screens from 10 February including an extended run at BFI Southbank. Complete Martin Scorsese retrospective at BFI Southbank, including his new film SILENCE which will be released on 1 January. The season will also include a new 4K restoration of THE AGE OF INNOCENCE.
  •  Scorsese personally curates 20 films restored through The Film Foundation to play at BFI Southbank.
  • BFI and Southbank Centre (as part of the Film Scores Live Series), presents, in association with Sony Pictures and Park Circus TAXI DRIVER IN CONCERT with the original Bernard Herrmann score performed live with the film by the BBC Concert Orchestra. 
  • WHO’S THAT KNOCKING AT MY DOOR and ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE released on DVD/Blu-ray in BFI Dual Format Editions
  • ‘Scorsese collection’ released on BFI Player, focusing on his documentary work and the great works of cinema that inspired him.
Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

The BFI launches the biggest UK celebration of black talent on screen with the BLACK STAR season

At a special event held at BFI Southbank in London with comedian Gina Yashere and DJ Norman Jay MBE, the BFI today launched what is being billed as the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating black talent: BLACK STAR.  Appropriately, this launch coincides with the UK premiere of Amma Asante's London Film Festival opener A United Kingdom, which stars David Oyelowo in a Botswana-set true story. The landmark film season at BFI Southbank, programmed by Ashley Clark, will run from 17 October – 31 December.

David Oyelowo also was a key speaker at the Black Star Symposium Speech, marking the launch of the season. In a forthright speech, Oyelowo criticised the fact that black and minority talent was not "baked in" to the British way of film and TV production, and pointed out that his painful awareness of this fact had driven him to feel that "I had to leave" [he now resides in LA]. "Please stop the talent drain", he urged.

Heather Stewart, Creative Director of the BFI said: “Imagine cinema history without Paul Robeson, Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier, Pam Grier, and Samuel L Jackson – some of the greatest actors to light up our screens with their charisma and talent. Now imagine how much richer our shared memory would be, had the opportunities available to black actors matched their abilities. With BLACK STAR we are celebrating great performances and bringing them back to the big screen for everyone to enjoy. And we are also asking searching questions, of our industry and of ourselves, driven by a passion to meet the expectations of audiences who rightly expect to see their stories and aspirations reflected on screen.”

BLACK STAR will spotlight:

  •  The leading men of classic Hollywood cinema; from Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier to Jamie Foxx and the hugely popular Samuel L Jackson.
  •  The star as political activist; the great Paul Robeson and Lena Horne through to Danny Glover and Beyoncé.
  •  Stars who have gone on to be major power players, who can open films, get films made, from Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith to Denzel Washington.
  •  Powerful and glamorous female stars who have created memorable big screen icons, from Dorothy Dandridge to Oscar®-winning Halle Berry.
  •  British home grown talent with star power who have gained international acclaim and found significant leading roles in the US: Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sophie Okonedo and David Oyelowo.
  •  The star names who have dominated music and film stories, from Sammy Davis Jnr through to Diana Ross and Motown, to Ice Cube and Hip Hop.
  •  The stars who have created a powerfully subversive take on the black star as entertainer; comedians including Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg and Eddie Murphy.
  •  Black rebels and Blaxploitation icons; Mario van Peebles, Fred Williamson and Pam Grier.
  •  A story of new and emerging talent, John Boyega, Michael B. Jordan, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Lupita Nyongo’o.
  •  Pioneering Afro-Caribbean stars who transformed the face of British film and television, like Earl Cameron, Carmen Munroe, Norman Beaton and Lenny Henry.
  •  And celebrating the stars emerging out of the fast-growing film industry and new star system of Nollywood, including Nse Ikpe-Etim.
  • BLACK STAR won't just celebrate the cream of the crop when it comes to black film and TV talent, it aims to address the controversies over why opportunities to shine on screen have been historically limited for black actors. Via celebration of the diversity of roles and talent, the hope is that this season will reposition black stars and their performances in the 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.

Highlights of BFI BLACK STAR include:

• The release of two major films into cinemas across the UK (with a third to be announced soon): 

- John Singleton’s game-changing, Oscar®-nominated BOYZ N THE HOOD (1991), starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long and Angela Bassett, will be re-released during the season in association with Park Circus and Sony Pictures

- Park Circus will re-release Norman Jewison’s multi Oscar®-winning IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967), starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger and Warren Oates

• Over 275 bespoke screenings and events in over 90 different locations right across the UK, delivered through the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) and its partners 

• A new audience-led poll to discover the British public’s Best Black Screen Performances of All Time, with two of the top films brought to major, independent and community cinemas across the UK, through a partnership with the Independent Cinema Office (ICO)

• BLACK STAR events at BFI Southbank include a special on-stage reunion with Trix Worrell, the creator of Desmond’s and members of the cast including Carmen Munroe and Robbie Gee

• An agenda-setting Symposium event at the BFI London Film Festival (LFF) – the UK’s leading film festival - bringing together leading international filmmakers and industry professionals from both sides of the Atlantic to question why opportunities for black actors to shine on screen in the US and the UK remain limited and ask what more can be done to effect positive change

• NET.WORK@LFF – the BFI’s intensive four day professional development programme for exciting UK-based writers and directors, which takes place at the BFI London Film Festival will be focused on supporting BAME filmmakers for its 2016 edition 

• Landmark two-month film season at BFI Southbank, programmed by Ashley Clark, exploring the rich history of ‘transatlantic stardom’ and focusing on key historical moments and important stars for British audiences

• A major multi-channel editorial partnership with BBC Radio and TV, including BLACK STAR Movie Night on BBC Two in November, films on BBC iPlayer, and a broadcast of a Paul Robeson documentary

 • New BFI Blu-ray and DVD releases including the first ever Dual Format Edition of The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992), and Blu-ray release of Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954); Dual Format Editions of Odds Against Tomorrow (Robert Wise, 1959) and Paris Blues (Martin Ritt, 1961); DVD release of The Glass Shield (Charles Burnett, 1994); separate Blu-ray and DVD box sets of Pioneers of African-American Cinema 

• A new BFI book, the BLACK STAR Compendium, from a hand-picked selection of outstanding cultural writers, investigating the history and responding to the theme of black stardom in film and TV, to be published on 17 October 

 • An extensive collection of over 50 titles made available online to audiences through BFI Player 

• An education programme in partnership with Into Film which includes a dedicated strand at the Into Film Festival, featuring contemporary black British talent and a BFI Schools event with Floella Benjamin

 

 

www.bfi.org.uk/blackstar

@BFI  #BFIBLACKSTAR

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.

Help the Barbican curate their What London Watches film season

The Barbican is currently on the hunt for public submissions for their new season "What London Watches", which gives audiences the chance to participate in curation by submitting the films that shook their world. 

The actual festival with the final choices taken from all submissions will run 6–13 April 2017. 

Get involved @BarbicanCentre’s #WhatLondonWatches film season.

Visit the Barbican website for more information and to suggest a film here

All entries are submitted into a prize draw to win a meal at Bonfire up to the value of £150 and cinema tickets for four people to a film of your choice (subject to timing and availability). Plus, there’s a chance to win an extra special prize if your choice makes the shortlist...to be revealed. 

Submit your short film about your choices by Sunday 30 October: http://www.barbican.org.uk/whatlondon... 

Comment

Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.