Black British Filmmaking

A selection of shorts and features by black writers and directors, from milestones of the 60s and 70s to contemporary hits.

For much of the history of British film and TV, black stories were overseen by white filmmakers. By the 1960s, black writers and directors were demanding to tell their own stories, in their own way. This collection celebrates the work of black storytellers who have enriched our understanding of the black British experience. Landmark features like Horace Ové's Pressure (1975) and Menelik Shabazz's Burning an Illusion (1981) stand beside earlier milestones in short filmmaking by Lionel Ngakane and Lloyd Reckord, and 1990s work by Isaac Julien and Julian Henriques. And you'll find hits by leading lights in new black British cinema, including Noel Clarke, Destiny Ekaragha and Debbie Tucker Green. The collection also highlights the work of Ngozi Onwurah, who became the first black British woman director to get a UK theatrical release with her extraordinary debut feature Welcome II the Terrordome (1995), a controversial dystopian fable unavailable for many years.

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Ten Bob in WinterTen Bob in Winter

Drama196312 mins Location: Westminster

An early classic of Black British cinema about the intriguing social dynamics that arise as a ten shilling note is passed around the black community.

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Tunde's FilmTunde's Film

Documentary drama197440 mins Location: Stepney

Tired of being hassled by the police and with no job opportunities, a group of teenage East End lads plan to rob a bank.

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Jemima + JohnnyJemima + Johnny

196629 mins Location: Notting Hill

Touching short about the friendship between a white boy and a black girl in 1960s Notting Hill.

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The Body BeautifulThe Body Beautiful

Animation & Artists Moving Image199024 mins

Autobiographical account of a mother-daughter relationship, exploring beauty standards and female sexuality.

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Flight of the SwanFlight of the Swan

Drama199212 mins

A young black ballerina rejects prejudice and finds her African spirit in Swan Lake.

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White Men Are Cracking UpWhite Men Are Cracking Up

Drama199420 mins

The fatal fascination with the myth of the black feminine mystique is uncovered in Ngozi Onwurah's short

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The Homecoming: A Short Film about AjamuThe Homecoming: A Short Film about Ajamu

Drama-documentary199517 mins Location: Brixton

Queer activist and artist Ajamu prepares to leave Brixton for an exhibition of his work in his hometown, Huddersfield

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We the RagamuffinWe the Ragamuffin

199226 mins Location: Peckham

Julian Henriques' urban musical showcases the style, vernacular and vibrancy of British Caribbean Dancehall culture.

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Drama-documentary199215 mins Location: Brixton

Early 90s London gets a vibrant dose of African culture in this mini odyssey fusing dance, music and fashion.

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Drama201025 mins

A young woman attracts the attention of a street criminal after she prevents his gang from pick-pocketing.

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Cedar Wood & SilkCedar Wood & Silk

199514 mins

Insightful exploration of the relationship between a Jamaican mother and her British-born daughter.

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Home Away from HomeHome Away from Home

199311 mins

A powerfully bittersweet image of the loneliness and sacrifice in migration stories, centred on a Nigerian-British family

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Caribbean Honeymoon No. 1Caribbean Honeymoon No. 1

Travelogue196017 mins

‘My People!’ Connor returns to his birthplace of Mayaro to celebrate his homeland’s natural beauty and manufacturing, capturing pre-independence Caribbean islands in all their glorious warmth.

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Caribbean Honeymoon No. 2Caribbean Honeymoon No. 2

Travelogue196015 mins

Shown at the 1960 Edinburgh international Film Festival, this dazzling travelogue records Guyana’s idyllic flora and the industries that supplied raw materials for British homes.

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Bound for LagosBound for Lagos

Romance196031 mins

Commissioned in 1960 to mark Nigeria’s independence, Connor directs and stars in this troubled production about shifting social relations in an emergent West African middle-class.

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Blues Is My Middle NameBlues Is My Middle Name

Drama199914 mins

Troubled relationship amidst a background of a Jazz Club scene.

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Carnival FantastiqueCarnival Fantastique

Documentary196018 mins

Vibrant documentary that captures Trinidad's famous street carnival in 1960.

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The Big PrideThe Big Pride

Drama196157 mins

Three convicts escape from prison in British Guyana but cannot find personal freedom.

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