Over 275 BFI BLACK STAR events to more than 70 locations across the UK

Image: The Proud Valley (1940)
Image: The Proud Valley (1940)

Monday 17 October, London.

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The BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN) today announces details of events and screenings taking place across the UK as part of BFI BLACK STAR, the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors, which launches today and runs until the end of the year.

From STIR CRAZY (Sidney Poitier, 1980) in the nineteenth century Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast and a drive-in screening of BLADE (Stephen Norrington, 1998) in Bromsgrove, to a STORMY WEATHER (Andrew L. Stone, 1943) swing/jive party in the Blackpool Winter Gardens, a PURPLE RAIN (Albert Magnoli, 1984) Jam of the Year in Colston Hall in Bristol and a tour around Wales of THE PROUD VALLEY (Pen Tennyson, 1940) complete with Welsh choirs performing live, the season is full of bespoke events which offer audiences a chance to revisit classic films as well as seek out new discoveries. 

BLACK STAR celebrates the relationship between stars and the audiences who love them, spotlighting great performances by black actors on screen. As part of the season, the BFI FAN will deliver over 275 bespoke screenings and events in over 70 different locations right across the UK. BLACK STAR champions the achievements of black stars from the earliest years of cinema through to the present day, whilst exploring why opportunities to shine on screen have been historically limited for black actors. BLACK STAR is available to audiences everywhere in the UK; in cinemas including BFI Southbank, on BBC Television, on DVD/Blu-ray and online via BFI Player from 17 October – 31 December, with further projects planned to celebrate the contribution of black practitioners working across film and TV in the coming years.

Ben Luxford, Head of UK Wide Audiences, BFI said: “FAN are a key partner for BFI BLACK STAR, bring big, bold and brilliant film events and screenings to audiences in every nation of the UK. Not only is BLACK STAR timely and important, it’ll also be fun and accessible, mixing traditional cinema screenings with house party weekenders in Bristol, a screening of Car Wash in a Sheffield Car Wash, and even a trip to jail with Richard Prior in Belfast. We’re eager to get going and bring BLACK STAR to new audiences all over the UK, giving them the chance to watch some classics and seek out many new discoveries.”

Highlights of the BLACK STAR programme across the UK include:


Presented by Film Hub Wales, led by Chapter, Cardiff

Let Paul Robeson Sing! Chapter, Cardiff – Sunday 13 November and The Proud Valley tour

Paul Robeson’s impact on Welsh life will be celebrated in Cardiff and Welsh mining communities (Pontio Bangor, Welfare Ystragynlais, Newbridge Memo, Gwyn Hall and Phoenix Community Cinema and Theatre) with screenings of THE PROUD VALLEY (Pen Tennyson, 1940), which was filmed on location in the Rhondda Valley coalfields. The screening in Cardiff, from newly remastered material, will be followed by a panel discussion exploring Robeson’s impact on Welsh life, politics and black communities, and will feature a performance from the Treorchy Male Choir.



Picturehouse Cinemas presents: The Fabulous Nicholas Brothers, various locations and dates
The Nicholas Brothers, Fayard and Harold, were considered by many to be among the greatest dancers of the 20th century, boasting famous fans from Gene Kelly and Bob Fosse to Mikhail Baryshnikov and Michael Jackson (who once had Fayard as a dance coach). A special nationwide tribute to the brothers and their extraordinary dance feats, will take place at 15+ venues across the UK. The event will feature an exciting compilation tribute hosted by Bruce Goldstein, Director of Repertory Programming at Film Forum in New York, and writer and co-producer of a 1991 documentary on the brothers. This rare and unique tour is a collage of home movies, photographs and film clips, and features some of the Nicholas Brothers best routines in films such as DOWN ARGENTINE WAY, SUN VALLEY SERENADE and STORMY WEATHER. Supporting the tour will be screenings of a newly restored 4K DCP print of STORMY WEATHER (Andrew L. Stone, 1943), which the brothers starred in alongside Lena Horne, and features a jaw-dropping dance sequence which Fred Astaire cited as the greatest of all musical sequences.

Picturehouse Cinemas presents: Sister Act Sing-a-long, various locations – Sunday 6 November
Special audience participation screenings of the classic comedy SISTER ACT (Emile Ardolino, 1992) starring Whoopi Goldberg will screen across 18 Picturehouse cinemas (listed below) in their regular Vintage Sundays strand on Sunday 6 November. Audience members will be encouraged to dress up and join in singing along to the fantastic soundtrack which includes ‘Rescue Me’, ‘Hail Holy Queen’, ‘My Guy, My God’ and ‘I Will Follow Him’.

Venues screening SISTER ACT:

  • Cambridge Arts Picturehouse; Cameo Picturehouse; Cinema City, Norwich; City Screen York; Clapham Picturehouse; Crouch End Picturehouse; Dukes at Komedia, Brighton; East Dulwich Picturehouse; Exeter Picturehouse; Greenwich Picturehouse; Hackney Picturehouse; Harbour Lights Picturehouse; National Media Museum, Bradford; Phoenix Picturehouse, Oxford; Picturehouse at FACT, Liverpool; Stratford East Picturehouse; The Little Picturehouse, Bath.
  • Norman Jay MBE BLACK STAR Tour, various locations and dates
  • Live Cinema UK and Film Hub North will present a UK-wide film and music tour with one of the most respected DJs in the world today, Norman Jay MBE. The tour will present screenings of some of his favourite films including BOYZ N THE HOOD (John Singleton, 1991), IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (Norman Jewison, 1967), SHAFT, (Gordon Parks, 1971) and TO SIR, WITH LOVE (James Clavell, 1967), in London (28 Oct), Bristol (13 Nov), Leeds (10 Nov), Exeter (17 Nov) and Manchester (30 Nov) to celebrate the very best in black cinema.
  • Before each screening Norman will introduce his on-screen black star icons, explaining the influences these stars have had on his career and life; then audiences can dance the night away to an exclusive DJ set with Norman featuring a history of black cinema soundtracks, including SHAFT, SHAFT IN AFRICA, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, ACROSS 110TH STREET, SLAUGHTERS BIG RIP-OFF plus many more.

Presented by Film Hub Central East, led by Broadway, Nottingham

Music Hall of Fame, Broadway Nottingham – throughout November
Broadway Nottingham will screen a selection of films with a music theme that connect with the rich, diverse music culture of Nottingham. There will be an event every week throughout November with screenings of BOYZ N THE HOOD (John Singleton, 1991), MO’ BETTER BLUES (Spike Lee, 1990), THE WIZ (Sidney Lumet, 1979), CAR WASH (Michael Schultz, 1976), CARMEN JONES (Otto Preminger, 1954) and SISTER ACT 2: BACK IN THE HABIT (Bill Duke, 1993). Each event will focus on a different
musical genre including Jazz, Hip Hop, Funk and Gospel, and will include live music after the screening.

Filmhouse Reggae Night, Errol Flynn Filmhouse Northampton – throughout November
On Saturday 5 November, the Errol Flynn Filmhouse in Northampton will host a reggae night with guest DJs in their underground studio and a screening of THE HARDER THEY COME (Perry Henzell, 1972) starring reggae legend Jimmy Cliff. Also screening in November will be other music-related films including THE BODYGUARD (Mick Jackson, 1992), DREAMGIRLS (Bill Condon, 2006) and PURPLE RAIN (Albert Magnoli, 1984).

Presented by Film Hub London, led by Film London

Norman Jay MBE BLACK STAR Tour, BFI Southbank – Friday 28 October
BOYZ N THE HOOD (John Singleton, 1991) – for more details please see UK-wide section

A Celebration of Black Cinema, Genesis Cinema – running until the end of November
The Genesis Cinema in Stepney Green will run two strands of programming as part of BLACK STAR: ICONS will feature cult & classic Film & TV from around the world - all defined by their strong Black presence and iconography. THE NEW SCHOOL will celebrate emerging British and worldwide youth talent in the field of screen performance. Highlights of the programme include a Pam Grier double bill of COFFY (Jack Hill, 1973) and FOXY BROWN (Jack Hill, 1974), a Nia Long double bill of LOVE JONES (Theodore Witcher, 1997) and The BEST MAN (Malcolm D. Lee, 1999) and screenings of the iconic documentary PARIS IS BURNING (Jennie Livingston, 1990).

Earl Cameron, CBE in conversation, BFI Southbank – Sunday 23 October
The multi-talented actor Earl Cameron CBE, acknowledged by many as one of the first African Caribbean screen actors to break the colour bar in the UK, will be inducted in the Screen Nation Hall of Frame at a special event, Earl Cameron CBE in conversation on Sunday 23 October at BFI Southbank. Cameron is the inaugural inductee and has had a career spanning over 70 years, starring in over 90 films and TV productions, including the seminal Ealing Studios thriller POOL OF LONDON (Basil Deardon, 1951).

A Season Celebrating Black Stars, Deptford Cinema – until December 3
Also taking place in London will be a series of screening at the Deptford Cinema, celebrating the success and acclaim of black stars including Sidney Poitier in IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (Norman Jewison, 1967), Halle Berry in MONSTER'S BALL (Marc Forster, 2001) and Denzel Washington in DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (Carl Franklin, 1995).

Presented by Film Hub Northern Ireland, led by Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast

Black Star, Queens Film Theatre Belfast – until the end of December
Queens Film Theatre in Belfast will feature three strands as part of their BLACK STAR programming: All About Forest will be a focus on the award-winning actor Forest Whitaker, featuring screenings of GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI (Jim Jarmusch, 1999) and THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND (Kevin Macdonald, 2006); Music Icons will be a season of a great music films with iconic performances while Wild Styles will be a day of classic Hip Hop with DJs and performances in the QFT bar.

BLACK STAR screenings as part of the Belfast Film Festival – October and November
STIR CRAZY (Sidney Poitier, 1990) starring Richard Pryor will be shown in the extraordinary setting of nineteenth century Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast as part of the Belfast Film Festival on Sunday 13 November. Plus there will be a series celebrating Black Indie Cine Stars in beanbag cinema on Sundays throughout October and November, featuring films such as Charles Burnett’s KILLER OF SHEEP (1978) and Ousmane Sembène’s BLACK GIRL (1966).

Presented by Film Hub North West Central, led by HOME, Manchester.

Norman Jay MBE BLACK STAR Tour – Gorilla, Manchester – Wednesday 30 November

SHAFT (Gordon Parks, 1971) – for more details please see UK-wide section

STORMY WEATHER in the Blackpool Winter Gardens – Friday 9 December
In addition to the FABULOUS NICHOLAS BROTHERS tour (see UK-wide section) will be an immersive screening of STORMY WEATHER (Andrew L. Stone, 1943), in the Blackpool Winter Gardens as part of the Winter Gardens Film Festival. For one night only, Blackpool Winter Gardens will be transformed into the Grand Foyer Club, with an Art Deco cocktail bar and cabaret-style seating. After a screening of STORMY WEATHER starring Lena Horne, who herself performed in the Blackpool Winter Gardens in the 1950s, audiences will be able to jive the night away to the swinging sound of live band the Billionaires.

BLACK STAR at HOME, Manchester from Friday 28 October until the end of November
HOME in Manchester will shine a light on black British talent who went on to achieve stardom and recognition for their electrifying performances including Ashley Walters in BULLET BOY (Saul Dibb, 2004) and Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sophie Okonedo in DIRTY PRETTY THINGS (Stephen Frears, 2002). Plus there will be screenings of the re-releases of BOYZ N THE HOOD (John Singleton, 1991) and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (Norman Jewison, 1967).

Presented by Film Hub Scotland, led by Scottish Film

Document Film Festival’s Marlon Riggs Freaky Free: Retrospective – 22-23 October
Document Film Festival Marlon Riggs Freaky Free: Retrospective 1984-1994, will include a series of screenings alongside a series of creative poetic responses, celebrating Marlon’s legacy as poet, educator, gay rights activist and filmmaker. TONGUES UNTIED (1989) is his seminal documentary that uses personal testimony, rap and performance to describe the homophobia and racism that confront gay men. BLACK IS … BLACK AIN’T (1994), Riggs’ final film, explores the much-debated subject of black identity as well as Riggs’ own quest for self-definition and community as he neared the end of his life.

Glasgow Women’s Library Celebrating Black On Screen Talent – various dates
Curated by Glasgow Women’s Library, Celebrating Black On Screen Talent invites audiences to watch and discuss with black female cultural figures films that have been intentionally selected for a wide audience: AKEELAH AND THE BEE (Doug Atchison, 2006), screening on Saturday 29 October, is a critically acclaimed drama focusing on an eleven year old’s struggle to overcome her insecurities; THE COLOR PURPLE (Steven Spielberg, 1985), screening on Tuesday 15 November, was nominated for eleven Oscars and highlights the tale of an African-American woman who survives incredible abuse and bigotry; finally, BELLE (Amma Asante, 2013), screening on Thursday 8 December, is inspired by the true story of an illegitimate mixed race daughter raised by the aristocrat that put an end to slavery in England.

Africa in Motion’s Nollywood Nights – 6 November
The Nollywood Nights strand, part of Africa in Motion Film Festival, offers the latest work from three of Nigeria’s most popular bright new directors. THE CHAMPAGNE ROOM (Olumide Fadeyibi, 2016) is a Scottish/Nigerian co-production bringing together interrelated stories and real life experiences of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking. A red carpet double bill, to be held at the Corinthian Club in Glasgow, starts with THE ROAD TO YESTERDAY (Ishaya Bako, 2015), which centres around a couple’s troubled relationship and intertwines moments of matrimonial bliss with episodes of profound heartache. In Kunle Afolayan’s THE CEO (2016) five top-level employees vie to out-do one another in a bid to be selected for the top job, in this truly pan-African cinema experience featuring a star-studded cast and shot on location across Africa.

Presented by Film Hub South West & West Midlands, led by Watershed, Bristol

Norman Jay MBE BLACK STAR Tour
TO SIR, WITH LOVE (James Clavell, 1967) – Sunday 13 November, Bristol Watershed, followed by a DJ set at Colston Hall following a screening of PURPLE RAIN (see below)

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (Norman Jewison, 1967) – Thursday 17 November, Exeter Phoenix
For more details please see UK-wide section.

Purple Rain Jam of the Year at Colston Hall – Sunday 13 November
The iconic quasi-autobiographical PURPLE RAIN (Albert Magnoli, 1984) starring Prince in his acting debut, will be screened at Colston Hall on Sunday 13 November followed by a DJ set from legendary DJ Norman Jay MBE in the venue’s Foyer.

Black Comedy House Party at Trinity Community Arts Bristol – Friday 4 November
Come the Revolution will host a Black Comedy House Party double bill on Friday 4 November at Bristol’s Trinity Centre. I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA (Keenen Ivory Wayans, 1988) and COMING TO AMERICA (John Landis, 1988) will be screened before a 90s-themed music night hosted by some of Bristol’s best DJs.

Horror at the Drive-in, Artrix Bromsgrove – Sunday 30 October
This Halloween Artrix in Bromsgrove will host a drive-in screening of BLADE (Stephen Norrington, 1998), starring Wesley Snipes. BLADE is one of the few titles in the Marvel universe to feature a leading black superhero and stars Snipes as a half-mortal, half-vampire who fights to protect humans from sinister forces. Audiences are invited to dress up for an immersive horror experience offering guaranteed goosebumps.

BLACK STAR at mac Birmingham – Wednesday 26 October – Friday 30 December
mac birmingham’s From Comedy to Classics season will feature a broad range of films starring some of the biggest names in cinema such as John Boyega, Richard Pryor and Dorothy Dandridge. Films being screened include JACKIE BROWN (Quentin Tarantino, 1997), ATTACK THE BLOCK (Joe Cornish, 2011) and CARMEN JONES (Otto Preminger, 1954). mac birmingham will also host: Adrian Lester – Master of Contained Power Retrospective, a season highlighting Lester’s career as an award winning star on screen and stage, which began at mac as a member of the Birmingham Youth Theatre based in the arts venue. The screenings will include films such as PRIMARY COLOURS (Mike Nichols, 1998) and JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE (John Ridley, 2013).

Presented by Film Hub North, led by Showroom, Sheffield

Norman Jay MBE BLACK STAR Tour, Leeds International Film Festival, Thursday 10 November

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (Norman Jewison, 1967) – for more details please see UK-wide section

BLACK STAR events at Sensoria in Sheffield – October - November
As part of the Sensoria festival of music, film and digital media, there will be BLACK STAR screenings and events throughout October and November. One of the highlights will be an immersive screening of CAR WASH (Michael Schultz, 1976) starring Richard Pryor which will take place as a Drive-In at a disused Sheffield car wash (date TBC). Also part of Sensoria will be a focus on Blaxplotation films such as SHAFT (Gordon Parks, 1971) and CLEOPATRA JONES (Jack Starrett, 1973) and Hip Hop Pop Up Breakin Beats and Street Eats, taking place on Sunday 6 November and featuring screenings such as iconic documentary WILD STYLE (Charlie Ahearn, 1983).

– ENDS –

Press Contacts:
Liz Parkinson – Press Officer, BFI Cultural Programme
liz.parkinson@bfi.org.uk / 020 7957 8918

About the BFI

The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

  • Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema
  • Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
  • Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK - investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
  • Promoting British film and talent to the world 
  • Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences
  • The BFI is a Government arm’s-length body and distributor of Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role:
  • As the UK-wide organisation for film, a charity core funded by Government
  • By providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK
  • By working with partners to advance the position of film in the UK.

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter.

The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.

About the BFI Film Audience Network
The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) is a ground-breaking initiative that gives audiences across the UK the opportunity to see a broader range of films in a cinema setting. For filmmakers, getting films onto cinema screens is a highly competitive business, particularly for specialised films which includes archive, documentary, independent and foreign language films.

With £8.7 million of Lottery funding over four years (2013-2017) the BFI FAN works with cinema exhibitors, film festivals, educators, film societies, community venues, film archives and other organisations in their regions or nations to boost audiences for film across the UK.
The film hub partners which drive audience engagement across the UK comprise: Broadway Cinema, Nottingham; Chapter, Cardiff; HOME, Manchester; Film London; Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast; Scottish Film; the University of Brighton; Showroom Sheffield; and Watershed, Bristol.

BLACK STAR champions the achievements of black stars from the earliest years of cinema through to the present day, whilst exploring why opportunities to shine on screen have been historically limited for black actors. BLACK STAR celebrates films that feature black actors in central roles, bringing their work to a new generation of UK audiences and helping to reposition them and their performances in our collective memory. BLACK STAR will be available to audiences everywhere in the UK; in cinemas including BFI Southbank, on BBC Television, on DVD/Blu-ray and online via BFI Player from 17 October – 31 December, with further projects planned to celebrate the contribution of black practitioners working across film and TV in the coming years.