The BFI and African Odysseys today announce a new season of documentaries that spotlight the injustices experienced by black British communities at the hands of the police, and the international black struggle for human and civil rights over decades. The season, African Odysseys Presents: Injustice, will take place at BFI Southbank from 1 September to 6 October, as well as online for UK-wide audiences via BFI YouTube.
The season has been programmed by the BFI African Odysseys steering committee, including activists and racial equality campaigners Tony Warner and Kunle Olulode. Online events taking place on BFI YouTube (which will also be screened at BFI Southbank) will include talks with directors like Ken Fero (Injustice), with more names to be announced, and activists such as Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg died in police custody in 2008.
African Odysseys Presents: Injustice will feature 8 titles, including Mangrove Nine (1973), a rarely seen documentary about the 1970 Black Power march in Notting Hill against police harassment; independent community documentary The People’s Account (1985) about the Broadwater Farm uprising; and George Amponsah’s BAFTA-nominated The Hard Stop (2015), which relates to Mark Duggan’s death in 2011.
There will also be a focus on the work of Migrant Media, a collective of radical filmmakers whose work includes features such as Injustice (2001), Who Polices the Police? (2012) and Britain’s Black Legacy (1991). There will also be a look at international features from Australia and Brazil, which will add additional context around the global nature of the recent anti-racism protests.
Now in its 14th year, BFI African Odysseys programme monthly events at BFI Southbank, as well as larger seasons and celebrations of work by and about the African diaspora. The vast majority of the films in this season have been screened by BFI African Odysseys in the past. Screening them anew in 2020, during a time when renewed calls for action against racism have reignited movements the world over and galvanised a new generation of activists, underlines the long-term activism that programmers, filmmakers and communities have championed.
“Utilising the expertise of community activists, the African Odysseys programme has long dealt with the subject of police brutality and institutional racism,” say Tony Warner (founder of Black History Walks) and Kunle Olulode (director, Voices4Change). ”The reaction to the murder of George Floyd has catapulted these issues back into the mainstream agenda.
“However, the UK is not ‘innocent’, and independently produced civil rights films from Ceddo and Migrant Media (featured in this season) were routinely banned. For these reasons we revisit the black British struggle for human and civil rights and link it with the international fight against racial injustice, with titles from as further afield as Australia and Brazil.”