David Oyelowo To Headline BLACK STAR Symposium At This Year’s BFI London
By Media Desk
Saturday, October 1, 2016.
LONDON – The
highly acclaimed Black British actor and producer David Oyelowo, will be the
lead speaker at this year’s BFI London Film Festival. The event will take place
this coming Thursday, October 6, at BFI Southbank, London.
Oyelowo will be launching the Black Star Symposium
the morning after the Festival opens, with the European Premiere of Amma
Asante’s eagerly-anticipated A United Kingdom, in which he stars, and
he will be joined by British and international actors, filmmakers and
thought-leaders to explore why opportunities for black actors to shine on screen
in the US and the UK remain limited, and debate what more can be done to effect
David Oyelowo, who also stars in the Festival’s
Virgin Atlantic Gala presentation of Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe (European
Premiere), is a passionate advocate for changing the framework of opportunities
for black talent and for reversing the historical lack of recognition for their
He said: "I'm really hopeful we're about to segue from talking about diversity to
actually doing it."
The festival, which is celebrating its 6oth
anniversary is Britain's leading film event and one of the world's best film
festivals. It introduces the finest new British and international films to an
expanding London and UK-wide audience and attracts significant international
film industry participation.
One of the festival’s main goals is the BFI BLACK
STAR scheme – a focus on the achievements of actors of African
descent from the earliest years of cinema through to current icons. (see http://www.bfi.org.uk/black-star)
BLACK STAR is the UK’s biggest ever season of film
and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of
black actors. The organisers say that BLACK STAR celebrates the relationship
between stars and the audiences who love them, spotlighting great performances
by Black actors on screen, whilst exploring why opportunities to shine on
screen have been historically limited for black actors. It will also celebrate
films that feature black actors in central roles, bringing their work to a new
generation of UK audiences and helping to reposition them and their
performances in our collective memory.
The BFI’s Creative Director Heather Stewart will
also be unveiling the first phase of new and ground-breaking research at the
Symposium about the representation of black actors in British films. The first
findings focus on films released in the UK over the past ten years (2006-2016).
Stewart said the BFI is working towards a complete data set from the beginnings of
British cinema to today, to understand what has changed both on screen and
behind the camera.
"We want to make the data available – as both a tool and a
mirror – for everyone who is in a position to say ‘yes’ to new creativity and
new opportunities," she said. "It will help shape what funders, policy makers, producers,
directors and writers think about when they are making decisions in a world
where audiences hope for so much more than they are offered.”