British Urban Film Festival signs new rights deals through to 2017

The home of urban film coverage in the UK will continue to host its flagship event under a new rights deal which takes effect from July 2014 with the UK premiere of ‘Music for Mandela’ – marking the festival’s return to free screenings for at least one day per year. BUFF will also screen 1 film season per year online, on-air and in cinemas having successfully launched the Spring Season in April 2013. The next season is scheduled for December 2014 with the launch of BUFF Africa Season in association with The Africa Channel UK.

Today’s announcement comes after months of negotiations with Channel 4 who have agreed to host free festival events for the second year running with an option also to screen festival content on its main network. ‘Music for Mandela’ explores the role music played in the remarkable life of one of the greatest icons of all time. The effects of this relationship continue to ripple through the poorest South African townships as well as the world stage. From Nelson Mandela singing at his own prison concert to the present day celebrations of his legacy, the music born out of his inspirational journey is commented on by his closest friends and family, former exiled musicians, current international artists (including BB King, Sean Paul, Estelle, and Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins) and community volunteers who use music today to motivate and educate. The documentary also explores what music means to all South Africans and how it became both a unifying force and weapon against apartheid.

The broadcaster Jacqueline Shepherd will present coverage of the summer screening with director Jason Bourque in attendance. Tickets will only be available from the British Urban Film Festival website.

“No other festival delivers films the way we do,” said founder and director of the British Urban Film Festival, Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe.”

Today’s agreement underscores BUFF’s unique commitment to urban independent cinema that no other festival has.”

Although this year’s line-up has yet to be announced, the festival was eager to lock in a new long-term rights deal as it gears up to mark its 10th anniversary of urban film coverage in 2015. Increasing the number of screening events and keeping some of them free will also buy the festival some goodwill with audiences and sponsors who organisers hope will continue to take up BUFF’s content offering.

The 2013 festival generated audiences of 1400 across 4 venues, showing 27 features and shorts in both fiction and documentary with more than 40 filmmakers and scriptwriters attending to showcase their work.

Watch the trailer for ‘Music for Mandela’ here: http://youtu.be/oWjhMiuD3iA

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