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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Drama2018107 minsDirector: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

A fostered Nigerian boy growing up in Essex loses all sense of identity and joins a racist skinhead gang. Actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Oz, Lost) directs this powerful drama based on his own, extraordinary upbringing.

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Welcome II the TerrordomeWelcome II the Terrordome

Drama199394 minsDirector: Ngozi Onwurah

A ferocious dystopian nightmare, this was the first film directed by a Black British woman to receive a UK theatrical release.

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Speak Like a ChildSpeak Like a Child

Drama199877 minsDirector: John Akomfrah

Moving drama about three close friends forever tied to a dark secret from their teenage past.

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Drama200591 minsDirector: Menhaj Huda

Noel Clarke and Menhaj Huda’s explosive youth film follows the drug, sex and crime-fuelled antics of a group of West London teens over the course of a single day.

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Drama200899 minsDirector: Noel Clarke

After being released from prison following a murder charge, Sam Peel (Noel Clarke) attempts to reboot his life and seek redemption.

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Crime2016104 minsDirector: Noel Clarke

A decade after the release of Adulthood, Sam (Noel Clarke) is trying to keep his family safe while simmering old grudges threaten to resurface.

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The Hard StopThe Hard Stop

Documentary201586 minsDirector: George Amponsah

The story of Mark Duggan, who was shot and killed in Tottenham in 2011, is brought to the screen in this humane, thought-provoking and topical documentary.

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Riots and Rumours of RiotsRiots and Rumours of Riots

198134 minsDirector: Imruh Caesar

Radical resistance in the postwar British Caribbean community, from the 1948 Nationality Act to the 1958 Brixton riots.

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Generation RevolutionGeneration Revolution

Documentary201672 minsDirector: Usayd Younis

This urgent, impassioned documentary follows a new generation of Black activists as they fight for social and political change in London and beyond.

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Musical199877 minsDirector: Julian Henriques

Neeta and her crew rise to dancehall fame in North West London's Caribbean community, in the first Black British musical.

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Dog Eat DogDog Eat Dog

Comedy200093 minsDirector: Moody Shoaibi

David Oyelowo makes his first feature film role as one of posse of DJs who enrage a local drug baron after stealing his dog.

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Gone Too Far!Gone Too Far!

Comedy201388 minsDirector: Destiny Ekaragha

Riotous urban comedy adapted from the hit Royal Court play, about a Peckham teen affronted by the arrival of his long-lost Nigerian sibling.

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Blood Ah Go RunBlood Ah Go Run

Documentary198213 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

This documentary by Menelik Shabazz (Burning an Illusion) about the response to the New Cross Fire in 1981 prefigures the widespread social unrest later that year.

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Sidney's ChairSidney's Chair

Drama199521 minsDirector: Roberto Bangura

What do you do when a Hollywood star makes a film in your neighbourhood? Nick his chair, of course!

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Animation & Artists Moving Image19974 minsDirector: Victor Olusola Opeyokun

Animated awakening: a young black man in an oppressive urban environment finds a new outlook by embracing his African roots

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12 Years a Slave12 Years a Slave

Biopic2013134 minsDirector: Steve McQueen

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender star in Steve McQueen’s fearless, Oscar-winning story of a free man who’s sold into slavery.

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Smack and ThistleSmack and Thistle

Drama198995 minsDirector: Tunde Ikoli

When a young black wide-boy rescues a rich white girl from a heroin overdose – and falls for her – he’s drawn into a world of high-class crime.

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Midnight BreaksMidnight Breaks

1988113 minsDirector: Laurens C. Postma

Big Audio Dynamite’s Don Letts made his acting debut in this gripping, gritty 1990 drama of dreads, drugs, and music business corruption.

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Crime2018102 minsDirector: Idris Elba

In his thrilling directorial debut, Idris Elba brings to life Victor Headley’s cult crime novel.

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Omega RisingOmega Rising

198850 minsDirector: D. Elmina Davis

The women of Rastafari talk about their relationship to the movement’s development.

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Coffee Coloured ChildrenCoffee Coloured Children

Biopic198817 minsDirector: Ngozi Onwurah

Experimental monologue about the trauma of racial harassment and self-hate that accompanies growing up mixed-race in Britain.

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Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White MaskFrantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask

Documentary199670 minsDirector: Isaac Julien

Isaac Julien and Mark Nash’s celebrated experimental documentary about the Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist and revolutionary.

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The Nine MusesThe Nine Muses

Documentary201092 minsDirector: John Akomfrah

John Akomfrah mixes archive material, literary and musical quotations and newly shot silent footage in a wry, rapt meditation on memory and migration.

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Dream A40Dream A40

Drama196516 minsDirector: Lloyd Reckord

A young gay couple’s relationship is put to the test as a road trip takes a sinister turn in Lloyd Reckord's daring underground short.

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Playing AwayPlaying Away

Sport1986102 minsDirector: Horace Ové

A cricketing comedy of manners exploring white and black stereotypes, from pioneering British filmmaker Horace Ové.

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The WeekendThe Weekend

Comedy201694 minsDirector: Sheridan De Myers

Street-smart Hackney comedy about three friends whose unexpected cash windfall funds the mother of all parties; from the talents behind YouTube hit Mandem on the Wall.

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Thriller200888 minsDirector: Mark Tonderai

A tense and terrifying motorway thriller about a man whose girlfriend is kidnapped by a malevolent trucker, directed by former Radio 1 DJ Mark Tonderai.

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