To be fair, BUFF first heard rumours about this just over a year ago when it was refused repeat funding for the British Urban Film Festival (In 2008, BUFF was one of the first beneficiaries of the council’s’ Black Film Exhibition Publicity Fund). Founded in 2000 under a Labour government, the state-sponsored film agency has pumped over 15 million pounds into UK films. In the intervening decade that followed, more than 4.5 billion pounds has been pumped back into the economy, supporting around 100,000 industry jobs with 75% of the money invested in London and the South-East. Within hours of the decision, online petitions to reverse it attracted 15,000 signatures and counting (if it can work for BBC 6 Music – why not?). Needless to say the shadow culture secretary has called the decision short-sighted, ill-considered, counter-productive and devastating. BUFF caught up with actor Wil Johnson who was of the opinion that dependency on handouts and a lack of creative freedom (traits usually associated with the Film Council) were crippling genuine film-makers and their art, both new and establishing. Actor Clint Dyer was talking in a similar vein when BUFF first caught up with him at a preview screening of ‘Sus’ back in April (Sus was co-produced by Clint Dyer).
Justin Marciano at Revolver Entertainment makes the point that without the additional funding support, ‘Kidulthood’ would not have been able to reach out to audiences across the UK as extensively as it did. He goes onto say that the success of that one film meant that the talent involved got the chance to make bigger films and build proper careers, all of which goes back into sustaining the industry. That said, the UKFC has funded films like ‘Nowhere Boy’, directed by Sam Taylor-Wood who had previously never directed a film. Readers of this blog over the past 18 months will have detected a decent amount of coverage being attributed to ‘Kidulthood’ and the almost two-tier industry which exists in the urban bubble – i.e filmmakers who resist the urge to model their films on ‘Kidulthood’ and those who do.
In amongst all this news was the debut of Buff on Tour. Held on the edge of town at the Heritage Inn in Cricklewood, the first fruits of Buff’s sponsorship came to being with the opportunity to showcase at ‘Film & Cabaret on the Broadway’ – a mixture of short film screenings and ‘live’ performances, anchored by Paulette Harris Germain, bringing the arts to the people of Brent who played host to the first ‘Buff-On Tour.’ For the lucky ones in the audience, there was a chance to see once again previous BUFF shorts including Diane Musafiri’s ‘Brothers’, Jane Thorburn’s ‘The Family Legacy’ and Jason Nwansi’s ‘Pavement Poetry’ with the man himself providing healthy debate after the screenings. At the time of going to press, Buff on Tour is currently screening shorts from last year’s festival at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will soon be showing more from its’ vast archive across other parts of the capital and beyond. Watch this space as they say…
And so to Wednesday and the Film London Best of Boroughs awards at BAFTA. On the way to the ceremony, actor Rafe Spall was plastered double-page in that evening’s edition of the Evening Standard. For the uninitiated, Rafe is the son of actor Timothy Spall of ‘Auf Weidersen Pet’ fame and countless other TV dramas, films and commercials. One look at Rafe’s year to date and it seems that the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree as far as our man Rafe is concerned – who can be seen currently in Channel 4’s new Friday night comedy ‘Pete versus life’ – as well as starring as Detective Wilby in ‘Sus’, showing on the opening night of this year’s British Urban Film Festival – the man is everywhere…
The last few days of the month saw an unwelcome hacking of BUFF’s wikipedia page, a radical overhaul of the BUFF website (which will be music to quite a few people’s ears), and a frantic last-minute rush of late submissions (deadline guys!!!) to the British Urban Film Festival including entries from serial auteur filmmaker Wayne Saunders and also from Daily Mirror journalist Jessie Grace Mellor – if only there was time to go into detail the conversations that took place that very evening as the final selection was being finalised and ripped apart for what seemed liked hours upon hours on end… Regrettably (and probably wisely) there isn’t any time (for now anyway). And all of these events, since Sunday August 25th, happened in just 1 week… who would be a film festival director ey?
And so to August and all roads lead to Tottenham which is where the juggernaut that is The British Urban Film Festival 2010 will pitch up from Saturday September 4 at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, the talking will soon be over… To book for your free ticket to be part of the experience, see the line-up* in full at www.buffenterprises.co.uk
*subject to change