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London Film Festival to promote diversity

Category: Industry News, Festival, Celebration, talent, programme, initiative

London Film Festival to promote diversity

Black talent in the film industry claim audiences are being short-changed because the media does not reflect British society.

The British Film Institute says it is making an unprecedented push to promote diversity at this year's London Film Festival by putting a celebration of black talent at the heart of the programme.

A United Kingdom, a film with black British talent, will open the festival tonight.

It is directed by Amma Asante and stars David Oyelowo, who has welcomed the BFI's initiative.

He told Sky News: "Audiences are being short-changed because they are not seeing films and TV that is reflective of the society that we live in and that's wrong."

Oyelowo also called for "the colourfulness of the society we live in" to be better reflected in TV, cinema and on the covers of the nation's magazines.

The BFI is holding the Black Star Symposium to discuss the problems experienced by black talent.

Following that, it will promote a season of films highlighting why stars such as Denzel Washington, Will Smith and Idris Elba are still in the minority.

Image Caption:Shola Amoo is calling on the culture in media organisations to change

Shola Amoo directed A Moving Image - one of the films being shown this year - and says it is less about increasing headcount and more about changing the industry's culture.

"When we get people of colour of diverse individuals in these organisations, they have to feel that they can change the organisations, they can affect the organisations," he told Sky News.

"There's no point having them there if they're regurgitating the lines or mantra of the organisation.

"Hopefully they feel empowered enough to bring their ideas because what we're really after is diversity of thought, new ideas, different perspectives."

The debate over the lack of opportunities for black talent in the film industry intensified at this year's Academy Awards with the #OscarsSoWhite campaign.

Since then, rumours have been rife that Idris Elba could be the first black man to play James Bond, so this push for action from the BFI couldn't be timelier.

Image Caption:Director Amma Asante claims progress also depends on the executives who finance new films

Amma Asante was made a member of the Academy when the rules changed this year, but she believes progress is not just the responsibility of the film-makers.

She added: "It's about audiences making sure they see the films when they're open. It's about the financiers having more trust that this isn't a moral decision - it's about what's good for the box office, what's good for choice and what's good for audiences."

The London Film Festival will close with Free Fire, starring Oscar winner Brie Larson, on 16 October.

VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email info@vercida.com for more information.

We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email info@vercida.com for more information.

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