BFI partners with Diversity in Cannes to celebrate Black women filmmakers during the Cannes Film Festival

BFI partners with Diversity in Cannes to celebrate Black women filmmakers during the Cannes Film Festival
A delegation of UK filmmakers will be attending the festival to focus on growing international networks and building new creative and financial partnerships.

We’re partnering with Diversity in Cannes to present Celebrating Black Women in International Film, a curated programme of events and networking opportunities to build meaningful creative and financial partnerships. As part of the programme, a delegation of four UK Black female filmmakers, who are actively seeking partners for current projects, will go to the Cannes Film Festival to connect with their international peers.

With only one Black female director to have ever qualified for competition in Cannes until this year, the BFI with Diversity in Cannes is creating space for Black women filmmakers to challenge narratives and barriers that see them persistently underrepresented in the industry. The cohort of UK filmmakers travelling to the festival as part of the programme are Yvonne Ibazebo, Nadine Marsh-Edwards, Kelley Robins Hicks and Shantelle Rochester.

With additional support from the British Blacklist and Times Up UK, the programme includes two days of events, which will see Black filmmakers talk through their experiences, achievements and perspectives. Events will explore what it is to be a filmmaker from a historically marginalised background, to interrogate the importance and value of authentic authorship and how our experiences bring richness to stories.

After an overwhelmingly positive response to a very informal coming together of Black female talent at last year’s festival, it became clear how rare opportunities to celebrate female filmmakers of colour are. It has been a pleasure to shape this programme with our partner Diversity in Cannes, supported by the British Blacklist and Times Up UK; organisations who have been championing historically marginalised communities for so many years. We hope the events, coupled with supporting a group of UK filmmakers to travel to Cannes, offers a chance for international Black female filmmakers to develop creative pathways that serve their own voice and artistic practices, while operating in a structures that often presents them with barriers.”
Melanie Hoyes, head of inclusion at the BFI

Black women directors have been grossly underrepresented and have gone unrecognised at the Cannes Film Festival since inception. In 76 years, there’s been only two in competition, Mati Diop in 2019 and Ramata-Toulaye Sy this year. While I celebrate and uplift Sy, the Cannes Film Festival still has work to do. However, I have zero interest in fighting the patriarchy, as you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks. Instead, I will use the Diversity in Cannes platform to honour global black women in film at the Cannes Film Festival, indefinitely, and I’m excited to partner with Melanie Hoyes and the BFI to amplify their voices.
Yolonda Brinkley, founder of Diversity in Cannes


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