International Film Festival Comes to Newham
NEWHAM will host an exciting film festival in September with the launch of BIFF East (Black International Film Festival East). The event is an extension of the London-wide BIFF festival, presenting a week of screenings from 7 to 14 September at Stratford Picturehouse and Stratford Circus in the Cultural Quarter.
There will be features, shorts, animation, documentaries, comedy plus a range of seminars, workshops and question and answer sessions to give insight into the film industry. Supported by Newham Council, this event will give a platform to black World Cinema from Africa, Caribbean, Latin America, US and the UK as well as showcasing British talent. It will also highlight the themes of faith and hip-hop.
BIFF is one of the premier black events held in London each year. The festival was established in 1999 with the aim of filling a void within London's film exhibition scene. Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales said: "It's a pleasure to welcome this festival to Newham and a privilege that such a vast array of talent is being showcased here in Stratford. It's fitting that the event is taking place in Newham because we boast a community that is young and hugely diverse.
Menelik Shabazz, BIFF founder, says: "There was a complete absence of black world cinema both in terms of the multiplexes and existing festivals like London or Edinburgh, which would show the occasional film but this was a long way short of the wealth and depth of work available."
Newham has also proven to be a popular filming location. Stanley Kubrick filmed his cult movie Full Metal Jacket in the borough and Newham also features in music videos by artists such as Richard Ashcroft and television dramas such as The Bill and EastEnders.