Themed From Empire to Commonwealth: Legacies of the Windrush Generation, the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival bounces back into cinemas – online as well – with a packed programme of films, from shorts to full-length features, new releases to classics.
Festival director Patricia Hamzahee said in a statement: “We’re excited to finally be in cinemas, after two years where we were all unable to meet due to the worldwide pandemic. We’re keen, however, not to lose those fans across the world who enjoyed our films via our digital platforms, so we have an amazing online on-demand programme lined up, which is available throughout the festival.”
The month-long festival runs from 17 June to 17 July, starting in Newport, South Wales, where there will be three days of black films, panel discussions and Q&A sessions from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 June. The curtain next goes up on Windrush Day itself – Wednesday 22 June – at the Princes Charles Cinema in the heart of the capital’s cinemaland, Leicester Square. On Saturday 25June it’s the turn of Brixton to host the show, at The Ritzy, and the final stop on the London circuit is the Genesis Cinema, Bethnal Green, on 1 July. WCFF’s last reel will roll at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham on Sunday 17 July.
For SN readers some highlights are likely to include Tony Oldham’s 2019 film Arts of Conflict: The Discourse about Notting Hill Carnival, which focuses on the portrayal, chiefly by media, police and politicians, of Europe’s biggest annual blackcentric cultural event as a “carnival of violence”.
Look out also for Mike McKenzie’s biopic on Russ Henderson and a rather touching cartoon treatment, by Tate Kids, of photographer Charlie Phillips’ journey from Windrush Era migrant to acclaimed chronicler of the black experience in and around Notting Hill.
Rebel Dread, by William E Badgley, chronicles the career of filmmaker, DJ, musician and cultural commentator Don Letts – the man who introduced punks to reggae. Pan-Africanist Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s short but influential life is the focus of African Redemption (Roy T Anderson).
Two standout feature films that should be on any cinemagoer’s bucket list are Pressure, by Sir Horace Ové, a “hard-hitting, honest document of the plight of disenchanted British-born black youths”, and Franco Rossi’s Babylon, about a Jamaican dancehall DJ’s musical ambitions in South London and his struggles against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbours, police and the National Front.
Panels will cover topics such as Horace Ove’s career, the threat of a return to the “hostile environment” that led to the Windrush Scandal, and the role of sound systems as “the soundtrack to our culture”.
But there’s a lot more, so be sure to check the website – windrushfilmfestival.com – for full details and to purchase tickets. From 17 June to 31 July 2022, the website will include recordings of in-person screenings, panel discussions and Q&As. For the keen screen-lover, the best-value approach is to buy the Festival Pass for £25.
Dates and venues
- Fri 17-Sun 19 June – The Riverfront, Newport, South Wales NP20
- Windrush Day Wed 22 June – Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square, London WC2H
- Sat 25 June – The Ritzy Brixton, London SW9
- Fri 1 July – Genesis Cinema, Bethnal Green, London E1
- Sun 17 July – Midlands Arts Centre, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 (includes awards ceremony)
- 17 June-31 July – Online on-demand including talkbacks.