For ten years the British Urban Film Festival has been unearthing hidden gems of innercity cinema and offering a platform to independent filmmakers who are often bypassed by the mainstream. The six day event returns next month with 27 screenings including four UK premieres and a host of gritty stories told by uncompromising up-and-comers.
Among the premieres, there’s a double header on opening night with That Daughter’s Crazy, a documentary about comedian and singer Rain Pryor (who’ll also be around to pick up an honorary award for her father Richard Pryor), plus Lapse of Honour about a young female rapper who finds herself pregnant and broke with crime lurking just around the corner.
There are several London-set indies being screened including: Brash Young Turks, a drama about a gang trying to negotiate modern life in the capital; Invisible Men, which deals with immigrants living in the margins; and The Truth, about a man wanted for murder who thinks he’s a spaceman. Also highly recommended is the sparkling superhero spoof Superbob starring Catherine Tate and rising star Brett Goldstein.
The festival also includes two days of free events aimed at developing home-grown talent. There’s a masterclass with Brixton writers Marlon Smith and Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan (who won a Bafta for Channel 4’s Run); a debate about the impact the US has on urban cinema here; plus a session of live script readings. There are also two nights of short film screenings which will showcase fresh talent.
Most of the screenings will feature Q&A discussions and will take place in Stepney Green’s beautifully-restored nineteenth century movie palace, the Genesis Cinema. Meanwhile over at the Cinema Museum in Kennington there’ll be the inaugural BUFF Awards which will look back over the last decade at the best work screened at the festival, with films by the likes of Noel Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor nominated for gongs.
The British Urban Film Festival runs from 16-21 September. Tickets for all films and events are available here.