BLACK STARS RISING – BFI launches a celebration of back screen talent


Last night at London’s BFI Southbank, the BFI launched the UK’s biggest and most wide ranging film and television season ever, dedicated to the talent of black actors on screen.  Attended by comedian Gina Yashere and DJ Norman Jay MBE the event unveiled the Black Star season, which will run from 17th October to the 31st December 2016, highlighting the importance of the place black actors have in film, both today and in the past.




The BFI’s Creative Director, Heather Stewart, cast more light on the significance of black stars in today’s cinema and how the BFI season will reflect this, celebrating their performances with a range of films for everyone to enjoy: “Imagine cinema history without Paul Robeson, Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier, Pam Grier, and Samuel L Jackson – some of the greatest actors to light up our screens with their charisma and talent. Now imagine how much richer our shared memory would be, had the opportunities available to black actors matched their abilities. With BLACK STAR we are celebrating great performances and bringing them back to the big screen for everyone to enjoy. And we are also asking searching questions, of our industry and of ourselves, driven by a passion to meet the expectations of audiences who rightly expect to see their stories and aspirations reflected on screen.”




Black Star will encompass all aspects of black cinema, highlighting everything from films focusing on leading men from classic Hollywood such as Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier, to stars who have combined musical and acting talents to great effect such as Sammy Davis Jnr, Diana Ross and Ice Cube.




Amongst a number of events the BFI Black Star season will include:

The release of three major films into cinemas across the UK, including Boyz in the Hood (1991) and the Oscar winning classic In the Heat of the Night (1967).

275+ bespoke screenings and events in over 90 different locations across the UK.

An on-stage reunion between Trix Worrell, creator of Desmond’s and cast members including Carmen Munroe and Robbie Gee.




A host of others events, screenings and DVD, Blu-Ray and book releases will also take place, including the release (in October) of the latest book in the BFI’s Compendium series, which will accompany the season and include contributions from poet Claudia Rankine and novelist Kit De Waal.

Further details of the BFI’s Black Star season can be found on the BFI’s website at:


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