We all love a good film, and most of us don’t care if they are produced by someone from an ethnic minority. There are many unseen films scattered around the web that are worthy of being seen, and some deserve awards and the respect of being shown in the cinema for visible publicities. Unsurprisingly, some of these deserted films are predominately produced by people that are under-represented in society. The British Film Institute reported 2012 statistics on the UK film industry which shows that just 5.3% of the film production workforce, 3.4% of the film distribution workforce and 4.5% of the film exhibition workforce were from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in 2012 (source: http://www.bfi.org.uk/about-bfi/policy-strategy/diversity).
Iyare Igiehon, a black filmmaker, in response to the lack of diversity in the UK media industry workforce founded the Screening Our Unseen Lives (S.O.U.L) in 2013. The S.O.U.L. Celebrate Connect strives as a platform to showcase unseen films produced by ethnic minorities. The S.O.U.L event on the 28th of August 2015 at the British Film Institute (BFI) in Southbank London, showcased several films that were produced by blacks and other ethnic minorities living in the UK. I attended the after-film showcase networking event and spoke to several people about the films they had just watched.
“Brilliant!”, “It’s been wonderful sitting in the cinema with an audience watching the film I produced” and “I collected plenty of business cards from people interested in working with me”, were just some of the positive feedback from the many attendees. Undisputed, my observation at the venue proves that the S.O.U.L event is bringing respect and dignity to those ethnic minority media professionals in the UK that are struggling every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every week and every year just to have a voice in the UK film and TV industries. A small event like this is all it takes to strengthen the long journey in empowering ethnic minorities in pushing for more recognition and opportunities to engage in projects that will dominate our TV screen and cinemas. An extra positive aspect of the event lies in the ‘no fees to pay’ for attending, therefore encouraging more attendances from both companies and individuals.
Everyone that knows me enough will testify to my love for films. I am a passionate film reviewer. I watch more than three movies a week at home and go to the cinema at least twice a month to watch mainly horrors, comedies and fantasy films. Now, what I never do is acquire a prior knowledge of who directed or produced the film before I decide if it is worth watching. I believe that most film lovers are not prejudiced about this fact either. Instead, we ponder more on whether the film will be as interesting as the trailer we saw online. Likewise, most of us are more interested in great acting than the colour of the actor’s skin. All viewers love great films and great acting! It’s very simple – viewers want to be entertained! That is a simple ABC. It is a proven fact that people from the ethnic minority can produce and direct a great film given the right financial assistance and guidance. So, why are the top decision-makers within the UK film and TV industries still placing high emphasis on the race of their directors, producers and casts in their films and TV programmes? It’s time for change!
S.O.U.L next free event is on the 20th November 2015. http://www.soulfilm.co.uk/
Scroll down for more photos taken from the S.O.U.L event.