Get ready for a Hip Hop weekender at the BFI Southbank

As part of its BLACK STAR season, the UK’s largest ever celebration of black actors in film and television, the BFI is bringing audiences back to the thrilling days when Hip Hop stars first made bold, successful moves into acting.  Presented by Sonic Cinema and in association with MOBO Film, the Hip Hop weekender will take place from 4 -6 November at the BFI Southbank in London and feature film screenings, DJ sets and a family funday.

Screenings include 90s film classics, from the theatrical re-release of John Singleton’s ground-breaking and Oscar®-nominated Boyz n the Hood (1991), starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, to Set It Off (dir. F. Gary Gray, 1996), starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise; Friday (F. Gary Gray, 1995), starring Ice Cube, Nia Long, Chris Tucker and Bernie Mac; New Jack City (dir. Mario Van Peebles, 1991), starring Wesley Snipes, Ice-T and Chris Rock; Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 1999), starring Forest Whitaker; House Party (dir. Reginald Hudin, 1990), starring Christopher Reid, Christopher Martin, Tisha Campbell-Martin and Martin Lawrence; Juice (dir. Ernest R. Dickerson, 1992) and  Gridock’d (dir. Vondie Curtis-Hall, 1997), both starring Tupac Shakur.

A Hip Hop weekend would not be complete without live music from a few of London’s top DJs: The Doctor’s Orders, Time Out’s ‘kings of the capital’s Hip Hop scene’, join BFI Southbank to present a club night for adults on Friday, 4 November and a special morning club event called FUN DMC, for kids and parents on Sunday, 6 November. WORK IT, on the scene since 2008, will bring their 90s hip hop and RnB tracks to the BFI Southbank following the screenings on Saturday, 5 November.

BLACK STAR Family Funday , which will take place at the BFI Southbank on Sunday, 6 November will include a screening of Joe Pytka’s Space Jam (1996), starring Michael Jordan, Bill Murray and Danny DeVito; and a Daytime Block Party with music from The Doctor’s Orders, dancing and a chance for kids to master their basketballs skills with players from the London School of Basketball.

The BFI’s BLACK STAR season, which will run until the end of the year, is the UK’s biggest season of film and television dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors. The season’s aim is to bring the work of black actors to a new generation of UK audiences, helping to reposition them and their performances in our collective memory.

BLACK STAR will be available to audiences everywhere in the UK; in cinemas including BFI Southbank, on BBC Television, on BFI DVD/Blu-ray and online via BFI Player from 17 October – 31 December.

The full BLACK STAR Hip Hop Weekender programme can be found here:



Bridget Jones’s Baby ★★★★★

I’m sure I’m not the only female Londoner who sees herself on screen at more than one point during the utterly brilliant Bridget Jones’s Baby and that is what is so compelling about Helen Fielding’s infamous character. The story of a somewhat clumsy, socially inept yet stoical single woman who has striven for a successful career at the expense of a meaningful relationship, strikes right to the heart of so many of us.

The third in the hugely successful film franchise sees our modern day heroin alone again and well into her forties, facing a future without love, while everyone around appears to be enjoying the fairytale she so desires. Former lovers linger in her mind like a nagging elderly relative who won’t get on and die and an exciting fling leads to some complicated conundrums.

As with the previous episodes (Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The edge of Reason) Bridget Jones’s Baby invites us to experience the loneliness of contemporary living, while suggesting that there is still hope as long as we gain a set of more attainable expectations.

This was the first of the trilogy I had watched without previously reading the novel, which gave me a much more open opinion of the flow of action.

Renée Zellweger’s lovable Bridget still harnesses everything that is wonderful about British comedy; perfectly timed slapstick, self-deprecation and an abundance of sarcasm. Patrick Dempsey is adorable and hateful in equal measure as new beau Jack and Colin Firth maintains his unwavering stiff upper lip as Mark Darcy.

Okay, there are a few moments when the tale becomes a little far fetched (like a dash to the maternity unit in a pizza delivery wagon), but on the whole, every ounce of humour is extricated from the very real and everyday scenarios without them ever becoming over egged and they therefore remain totally believable and fully relatable.

As the title would suggest, the tale concludes with an offspring being invited into the world and the scenes immediately following the happy event are real tearjerkers, particularly for parents, but the ability of the film to have audiences sobbing one minute and laughing like a drain the next, makes Bridget Jones’s Baby a complete triumph as far as I’m concerned.

BFI announces the acquisition of Stockholm My Love for theatrical distribution

The BFI announces the acquisition of Stockholm My Love for theatrical distribution and home entertainment release in the UK and Eire.

Stockholm My Love is the first fiction feature by acclaimed documentarian Mark Cousins, and stars the Swedish-born singer Neneh Cherry in her movie debut.

The film receives its World premiere at the BFI London Film Festival tonight, Tuesday 11 October 2016. The BFI will release it in summer 2017.

Directed by Mark Cousins, and written by Mark Cousins and Anita Oxburgh, Stockholm My Love is a city symphony and a love letter to the Swedish capital. It is the story of one woman’s journey towards recovery from a bad thing, as she wanders the streets of her native city exactly one year after a traumatic event. It’s a musical and visual celebration of urbanism, cityscapes, and the power of walking and looking to make us feel just a little bit better.

The cinematographer is the legendary Christopher Doyle ( In the Mood for Love, Hero and Mark Cousins’ previous film I Am Belfast).

The soundtrack features five new pieces of music by Neneh Cherry, written specially for the film with her husband Cameron McVey, RocketNumberNine’s Benjamin Page and Mark Cousins, along with music from Benny Andersson (of ABBA) and 19th century Swedish composer Franz Berwald.

Stockholm by Love is produced by Anita Oxburgh for Migma Film, and Mary Bell and Adam Dawtrey for Bofa Productions. Executive producers are Lizette Jonjic, Lisa Widén, Nichola Martin and Mark Thomas. The film is a Sweden/UK co-production, funded by the Swedish Film Institute, Creative Scotland, BBC Films, Film Capital Stockholm via Filmregion Stockholm-Mälardalen, and SVT.

The UK distribution deal was negotiated by producer Adam Dawtrey with Jane Giles and Agnes Orosz for the BFI. The BFI distributed I Am Belfast earlier this year, followed by a DVD/Blu-ray release in June.

Jane Giles, Head of Content at the BFI, said: “How wonderful to have Neneh Cherry shot by Christopher Doyle on the big screen in Mark Cousins’ beautiful and moving first fiction feature! The BFI is very much looking forward to unleashing the Love.”

Mark Thomas, executive producer for Creative Scotland, said: “We are delighted that Mark’s feature Stockholm My Love will receive its world premiere at this year’s London Film Festival and will be distributed in the UK by the BFI. We are proud to have supported the latest work from a truly unique filmmaker and we wish everyone involved with the film the very best for the premiere.”

Nichola Martin, executive producer for BBC Films, said: “We are so pleased to have secured distribution with the BFI for this very unique title. They are great partners and a perfect fit for this film. And we are really looking forward to sharing the film with its first audiences on home turf at the London Film Festival.”

More details on the film are at