From Top Boy to Wuthering Heights, the much vaunted and much celebrated prominence of cultural diversity in British film and TV shows no signs of abating and continues to rouse and excite cinema buffs both here and abroad. In a month which has already seen Sket, Demons Never Die & Death in Paradise entertain the masses, there is much to take in – including yet more awards for David is Dying; introducing the newest member of the BUFF board, journalist and filmmaker Jessie Grace Mellor; and not forgetting the latest James Bond title as the year draws to a close.
Much has already been said about Top Boy – most of it true. Ultimately, one does feel that with each re-invention of the wheel, there must be other kinds of stories that can do the job of re-inventing the wheel much more potently. For the million or so viewers who stuck with it over those 4 nights of primetime, it will be very much a case of ‘same again’ with news this month of Channel 4’s re-commission of the drama in 2012. Perhaps the answer lies back to the future as seen with Andrea Arnold’s re-invention of the Emily Bronte vehicle Wuthering Heights. Comfort can be taken in the case of David is Dying and Sus – 2 films to name but a handful for whom ‘re-inventing the wheel’ has paid off with a raft of awards and critical acclaim to boot. Needless to say, BUFF has always been at the forefront in terms of re-inventing the wheel and championing the very best in urban independent cinema. In addition to awards for messyrs Stephen Lloyd Jackson & Clint Dyer, the last 18 months has also seen success for other BUFF filmmakers including Wil Johnson, Mawaan Rizwan, Ida Akesson and Rohan Green.
Over the next 12 months, whilst we will be talking about Top Boy (again), BUFF’s cards have already been marked with a whole raft of potential BUFF titles from festival filmmakers past, present and future. And that was before the call went out officially for submissions for the 2012 festival earlier this month. The bar’s been raised (to paraphrase from a certain guest blogger) – buffness awaits… go to www.britishurbanfilmfestival.co.uk
and click on ‘BUFF submissions 2012’ for more information as the countdown begins in earnest…
Now about that guest blogger for whom ‘raising the bar’ has become his mantra ever since BUFF first crossed paths with him on November 29 2001. Yes its’ been 10 years since BUFF met Bernard Kordieh as a young, brash, 22 year old aspiring TV presenter in Northern Ireland. 10 years on, the youthfulness and the brashness remains in tact however his passion for the camera (as it turned out) now lies behind it. Bernard has been known to tell a few stories and where better to tell a few stories than on the BUFF Blog… so in his own words BUFF presents to you another of its’ board members and fellow entrepreneur, filmmaker and friend of the festival – Bernard Kordieh…
In November 2001, 3 ambitious young Londoners embarked on a special mission. They had each been shortlisted from thousands of talented young applicants to take part in a first-of-its-kind UK initiative bringing together some of the hottest young creatives in film and television.
The destination – Belfast, the initiative – The Cinemagic Unlocking Talent Awards – a unique 4 day boot camp consisting of masterclasses conducted by the industry elite. Think Big Brother, meets The Apprentice with a dash of The X Factor.
All the candidates had one objective in mind – to win an award in their category. For the majority of hopefuls – this was not only their first taste of ‘Hollywood’ but a real opportunity to stand out from amongst the crowd and be noticed by the people who mattered.
And if ‘being noticed’ was a special category on the final awards night, each of the Londoners would have been nominated. From special appearances on the regional news to opinionated discussions in hotel receptions, positively getting your point across became a London thing.
I remember witnessing a celebrated film producer at a full capacity Q & A session being probed about why his film (which was shot in West London) did not include any ethnic minorities.
Alas, no awards went back to London on that visit, instead, lessons learnt, pacts were made, and a lot of free alcohol was consumed. 10 years down the line one of the Londoners is the founder and director of the British Urban Film Festival – the definitive festival for the best in UK Urban Film. The other 2 are creating shock waves in film and television.
I remember Emmanuel calling me several months after our Belfast experience to tell me that he was the festival Director at the bfm (Black Filmmaker Magazine) International film festival. He asked me if I wanted to help out. I asked him how much he was going to pay me. He replied ‘I’ll pay for your petrol’. And that was pretty much the beginning of a beautiful working relationship.
To be honest, it was never about the money and for someone who initially wanted to work in front of the camera, being introduced to film via the bfm international film festival was truly a defining moment in my career.
What does it take to be a festival director? Total commitment to the cause and real passion for film. I’ve had the privilege of working with Emmanuel from his early days at bfm to his current at BUFF. He is undoubtedly one of the most focused and driven individuals I know in the game so when we sat in my car that evening 7 years ago, going through countless acronyms (BIFF, BAFF, BOFF, BAFF) I never had any doubts about the British Urban Film Festival soon becoming a reality.
I’m proud to say I was there at the Eureka moment.
I’m proud to say I’ve been there to watch the festival grow to become a major highlight in the UK film calendar.
I’m proud to be the first person to ask that most frequently asked question: ‘Bruv who’s going to pay for it if it’s free?’
Last but not least, I’m proud that through all adversity, BUFF 2011 was the biggest and most successful festival to date.
As a film-maker, I’ve been on the receiving end of the BUFF hospitality when my film ‘Stick With Me’ premiered on the opening night of BUFF 2009. As a BUFF board member I know about the hard work that goes into making each festival happen year after year so I have to give props to the dream team for the way the festival was executed this year.
They say sometimes in order to move forward you must look back. Well 10 years ago, 3 ambitious young men from London shared an experience which positively encouraged them to shout even louder to be noticed. And It’s in this same vein that BUFF continues to reach out to film-makers all across the UK to bring to you the best offerings in Urban Independent Cinema.
BUFF has showcased close to 100 films (and counting) and has created a viable platform for UK Urban Cinema. And with technology becoming more and more accessible, and more film-makers producing great independent films, its’ even more important for festivals like BUFF to keep doing its’ thing.
So what’s next for me in 2012:
If you haven’t heard of Manorlogz, check it out. The UK’s premier Spoken Word Showcase will be making some big boy moves in 2012.
Look out for the launch of my new show Quality Control – A ground breaking music show with a twist.
Look out for the launch of 4frontTV – our new online entertainment platform.
On a personal note, I’ve always said to Emmanuel that with the amount of time he spends watching films, isn’t it time he made one himself? 🙂
Just a thought bro.
Manorlogz Xtreme Spoken Word