*The British Film Institute has launched Black Star, a series of events and screenings being billed as “the U.K.’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors.”
Highlights of the season include the release of three films in movie theaters across the U.K., including John Singleton’s 1991 pic “Boyz N The Hood” and Norman Jewison’s 1967 movie “In the Heat of the Night.” The third film is yet to be announced.
“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,” said Heather Stewart, creative director of the BFI.
Running Oct. 17-Dec. 31, Black Star will include more than 275 screenings and events in more than 90 locations across the U.K., delivered through the BFI Film Audience Network and its partners.
Black Star programmer, Ashley Clark, said: “Black Star shows us many stories of black stardom, on both sides of the Atlantic. From cinema’s earliest trail-blazers to today’s transatlantic stars, I’m excited for audiences to enjoy icons, heroes and heroines back on the big screen where they belong.”
Other Black Star events include:
• An audience-led poll to discover the British public’s Best Black Screen Performances of All Time, with two of the top films brought to movie theaters across the U.K. through a partnership with the Independent Cinema Office.
• Black Star events at BFI Southbank complex in London include an on-stage reunion with Trix Worrell, the creator of ground-breaking British sitcom “Desmond’s” and members of the cast.
• An “agenda-setting” Symposium event at the BFI London Film Festival, bringing together international filmmakers and industry professionals from both sides of the Atlantic to question why opportunities for black actors to shine on screen in the U.S. and the U.K. remain limited, and ask what more can be done to change the situation.
• The BFI’s intensive four-day professional development program for U.K.-based writers and directors, [email protected], will be focused on supporting black, Asian and minority-ethnic filmmakers for its 2016 edition.
• A two-month film season at BFI Southbank, programmed by Clark, exploring the history of “transatlantic stardom” and focusing on key historical moments and important stars for British audiences.
• A multi-channel editorial partnership with the BBC, including Black Star Movie Night on BBC Two in November, films on BBC iPlayer, and a broadcast of a Paul Robeson documentary.