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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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PressurePressure

Drama1975121 minsDirector: Horace Ové

Hailed as Britain's first black feature film, Pressure is a hard-hitting, honest document of the plight of disenchanted black youths in 1970s London.

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Bullet BoyBullet Boy

Drama200486 minsDirector: Saul Dibb

Ashley Walters impresses in the hard-hitting Hackney drama that’s still one of the best of Britain’s black urban crime films.

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The Last TreeThe Last Tree

Drama201999 minsDirector: Shola Amoo

Femi, a young British boy of Nigerian heritage, has to adapt to the new environment of inner-city London, in this outstanding, BIFA-winning drama from Shola Amoo (A Moving Image).

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Young Soul RebelsYoung Soul Rebels

Drama1991105 minsDirector: Isaac Julien

The Queen's Silver Jubilee beats to the sounds of Funkadelic, Sylvester and the O'Jays in Isaac Julien’s feature debut.

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A Moving ImageA Moving Image

Drama201674 minsDirector: Shola Amoo

The gentrification of London’s Brixton is examined in this probing and stylistically ambitious debut feature.

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Second ComingSecond Coming

Drama2014105 minsDirector: debbie tucker green

What if an immaculate conception took place in a South London household? Idris Elba stars in a subtle, thought-provoking and original family drama.

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The Stuart Hall ProjectThe Stuart Hall Project

Documentary201399 minsDirector: John Akomfrah

Composed of film, music and photographs from the archives, a fascinating portrait of the life and times of the founder of cultural studies and the New Left Experience.

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Burning an IllusionBurning an Illusion

Legal and Courtroom drama1981102 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.

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HoneytrapHoneytrap

Drama201497 minsDirector: Rebecca Johnson

While attempting to settle into her new London neighbourhood, Layla finds herself thrown into the city's gang culture.

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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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BabylonBabylon

Drama198095 minsDirector: Franco Rosso

A young Rastafarian toaster (rapper) with Reggae Sound System Ital Lion, hopes to rise above the trials of his daily life and succeed at a Sound System competition.

More Black British Filmmaking in our Rentals collection.

More Black British Filmmaking in our Free collection.