JOSEPH A. Adesunloye
There is a fundamental discussion that we need to have in our
country around the lingering injustice of racism.
And I have been heartened to see the remarkable coalition
of young people across every race leading the charge in various ways including peaceful protests to move us forward.
Most people in our society do not support racism
but that is not enough. As the refrain goes, our society
now needs to work to be anti-racist.
Turning to my own industry, the Film and TV industry
it is clear that there's still a lot of work to be done.
Progress has been made since the BFI launched BlackStar
back in 2016 where my own film White Colour Black premiered.
The BFI, BAFTA, BBC and Film 4 have a particular responsibility to do
better in this area.
Black directors should not only be brought into the room
when a Black film or TV show needs to be made. Black filmmakers
should be in the room and in consideration for all film and TV being made in this country and this industry.
We have to now move beyond 'diversity'. Black people are tired of
schemes. Black filmmakers are talented, highly educated and supremely qualified and we don't need anymore schemes. We need jobs. Hire us.
There needs to be active support to ensure that Black filmmakers
continue to have a career, long after these schemes are over. They need
to start supporting mid level filmmakers to build a long and sustainable
career in the industry. And frankly this is an area in which their record is woeful.
So as we rightly have a much needed discussion around the continuing impact of systemic racism and biases, everyone must commit to doing better. And yes BlackLivesMatter but it cannot be a slogan for institutions to jump on, Black lives need to see our industry walk the walk.
Joseph A. Adesunloye is a two-time Raindance Best British Short film nominee for his films Beyond Plain Sight (2014) and 46 (2017). His debut feature White Colour Black saw Joseph nominated for the BFI IWC Schaffhausen Prize in 2016. He was also longlisted for Best Screenplay for the film’s script at BIFA 2017.