Black Star To Showcase Range, Versatility & Power of Black Actors at BFI

There is not one single story of black stardom, but a myriad. The BFI are launching Black Star, the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors.

Black Star explores the relationship between stars and the audiences who love them, spotlighting great performances by black actors on screen. Alongside iconic work from much-loved contemporary greats like Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett and David Oyelowo, the BFI will spotlight contributions from important but less-heralded figures like the late Paul Robeson, who seared his singular brand of intensity and moral clarity on to screens in America and the UK.

Traveling back to the earliest days of American cinema, where black performers fought against racism and stereotypes to blaze a trail for their inheritors to tread, the programme will chart the giant impact of small-screen performers in Britain.

The programme presents a selection of Blaxploitation films from the 70’s to 80’s hits like Purple Rain; to the classic 90’s films New Jack City, Juice, Gridlock’d, Boyz In the Hood, Friday, Set It Off, Malcolm X, House Party; to contemporary biopics Ali and Ray: and heads beyond Nollywood to showcase fresh Nigerian talent.

Black Star will focus on the work of contemporary actors including Samuel L. Jackson, David Oyelowo, Denzel Washington, Lupita Nyong’o, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sophie Okonedo alongside cinema’s first black stars, such as Josephine Baker, Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge, and enduring icons like Sidney Poitier, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Robeson and Angela Bassett. The season takes place October – December 2016 at cinemas nationwide, on BFI Player, on DVD and at BFI Southbank.

The 60th BFI London Film Festival recently announced that highly acclaimed British actor and producer David Oyelowo will be the lead speaker at this year’s Festival’s headline industry event, the Black Star Symposium on Thursday, 6 October at BFI Southbank.

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. Joined by British and international actors, filmmakers and thought-leaders the symposium will 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 positive change. Speakers at the Symposium panel discussions will include Oyelowo who will be joined by Amma Asante, Noel Clarke, Julie Dash, Barry Jenkins amongst others.

David Oyelowo, who stars in the Festival’s Virgin Atlantic Gala presentation of Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe (European Premiere), is a passionate and articulate advocate for changing the framework of opportunities for black talent and for reversing the historical lack of recognition for their achievements – “I’m really hopeful we’re about to segue from talking about diversity to actually doing it.”

The LFF Black Star Symposium heralds the UK’s biggest celebration of black screen actors and the BFI’s cultural focus for 2016 – BFI Black Star – launches immediately after the Festival and charts the achievements of black actors from the earliest years of cinema through to current icons.

The programme includes a series of screenings, events and Q&A’s including an evening with John Singleton who will talk about his classic 90’s film Boyz In The Hood.

Tickets go on sale 4th of October, for more information and to watch the trailer click here.