BFI Black Star

During November and December, we are showing a series of movies from the nationwide BFI BLACK STAR, the UK’s biggest ever season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the power and versatility of black actors on film. Chosen from the Black Musicians on Film selection, screenings include the classics Boyz n the Hood, The Bodyguard and Purple Rain.

BLACK STAR aims to bring strong characters and trail-blazing performances to the widest possible audience, championing 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.

On Saturday 5 November the start of the Errol Flynn Filmhouse’s BLACK STAR season will be celebrated with a Reggae Launch Party at the nearby NN Café, inspired by iconic film The Harder They Come.

To kick start the evening, from 8pm Royal & Derngate Community Choir, featuring reggae sensation Robbie Valentine, will be setting the mood with a selection of songs that reflects the BLACK STAR season. This will be followed by a night of pure old-skool reggae music from Jah Troopers SoundSystem along with special guest artist Zebby Melody. Entry is £3 and tickets can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.errolflynnfilmhouse.com.

The quintessential reggae movie, The Harder They Come stars Jimmy Cliff and is said to have brought reggae to the world. The famous soundtrack features tracks by Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, The Slickers and Toots and the Maytals. The film is being screened at the Errol Flynn Filmhouse at 8.30pm on Saturday 5 November, with film ticket holders invited to join the reggae night afterwards from 10.30pm at NN Café (due to limited capacity entry is on a first come first served basis).

The other films in the season include Oscar-nominated drama Boyz n the Hood on Sunday 13 November, re-released by the BFI as part of the season, starring Cuba Gooding Jr, Ice Cube, Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, romantic thriller The Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston as a musical superstar who hires a former Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner), on Sunday 20 November, and the film adaptation of Tony Award-winning musical Dreamgirls, on Sunday 20 November, with a star-studded cast including Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy.

The BLACK STAR season continues in December with screenings of Purple Rain, the 1984 cult classic starring Prince, and the 1978 Wizard of Oz adaptation, The Wiz, featuring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

Our selection of BLACK STAR films has been curated by Rebekah Taylor, who joined our staff team earlier this year on a 9-month paid traineeship, funded by ICO, as part of the Film Exhibition, Distribution and Sales (FEDS) Trainee Scheme, which aims to support candidates from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds. As part of this scheme, trainees gain hands-on experience in the film industry, along with regular insider training to provide a comprehensive overview of the industry.

Now Rebekah’s training placement has been converted into a permanent post, allowing her to continue to gain experience in programming and marketing films for the Errol Flynn Filmhouse, as we enter an exciting period in our development with work starting on building a second screen.

Rebekah explains: “The BFI BLACK STAR season is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best performances from a variety of black film talent and reinforce the argument for more representation and diversity on the screen. At the Errol Flynn Filmhouse we have decided to remind audiences of the brilliant performances from black musicians on film. I grew up on the music of Jimmy Cliff, Diana Ross and Prince, and love that their performances in The Harder they Come, The Wiz and Purple Rain will stay with us forever.”

Tickets for the Sunday screenings in the BLACK STAR season are £8.50 (concessions £7.50) with tickets for screening of The Harder They Come on Saturday 5 November costing £9.50 (concessions £8.50). All tickets can be booked in advance by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or here on our website. The Errol Flynn Filmhouse’s BLACK STAR events are supported by funding from the BFI Film Audience Network.

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