Monday, June 29, 2015

BRITISH URBAN FILM FESTIVAL

Dear gorgeous person you! 

With British Urban Film Festival starting in September this year, and the so raved about 'AMY' screened at the Genesis cinema on Friday just gone, I thought I'd share with you my BUFF experience from last year. Before I do, just to remind you that deadlines for submission is today at 5pm. So get involved NOW if you want your film to be considered.



In November last year, I got the email from the TV Collective to represent them at the BUFF Africa film festival and excited was not really the word to describe how I felt. I was ecstatic!! I’m not an actress and I have never really tapped into the world of film professionally, even as a presenter but I’m a HUGE film lover. I’m that person that gets very upset when I get to the end of a film and things just didn’t add up. I get very frustrated, shouting at my TV screen and arguing about it with the poor soul that may have watched it with me. On the flip side, I LOVE a GOOD movie - a film with a great plot, one that has just the right amount of complexity but then does not insult your intelligence as a viewer. I don’t care whether it’s a short film or a feature length film, if I’m spending longer than a minute of my time watching it, then it needs to be worth it, period.

For these reasons, I have always wanted to be part of a real life film festival. As a proud member of The TV Collective, I am a huge supporter of diversity in media – film, radio, and television – the lot… and nothing quite screams diversity more than an urban film festival. That being said, I’d like to share my experience of the evening with you. Here's one of the three videos I made on the night. The other two can be seen on my youtube channel here.


BUFF AFRICA



The event was held at the Africa Channel on Friday the 21st of November. I was a little bit nervous about attending, as I simply wasn’t sure what to expect. The event was scheduled to begin at 12 noon which meant I started off the day with a lot of time on my hands. So I decided to make the most of it by filming a ‘Get-Ready-With-Me video. I was feeling very positive and all of this got me in a great mood, just what I needed to attend a new event with unknown people.

MEETING BUFF FOUNDER EMMANUEL ANYIAM-OSIGWE


Almost immediately after I arrived at the Africa Channel where the event was being held, I was introduced to Emmanuel and at this point, all my nerves flew totally out of the window. He wasted no time in shaking my hand and welcoming me straight away. More than anything, he just seemed so grateful that I was able to attend; especially knowing I was associated with TVC. He took his time to explain the intended proceedings of the day and made sure everyone was kept informed throughout.

Emmanuel was very hands-on with the project and undeniably passionate about BUFF. I got a chance to speak with him in-between screening and I was very surprised to learn that he had never been an actor, film producer or director – in fact, he has never professionally been involved in film – talk about #TheSimonCowellSyndrome. This made me have even more respect for him because it became clear he founded BUFF simply out of his love for film. Also he had cleverly spotted a gap in the system where urban films weren’t catered for and was quick thinking enough to make the most of it.

PRIVATE SCREENING OF MUM, DAD, MEET SAM (MDMS).



Before I attended, I was very excited about watching MDMS as I had seen the trailer and knew it was going to be a fantastic film. The main character Josiah is a Nigerian man from a very wealthy family. He is at the peak of his career but only one thing is missing – a wife. Suddenly, he gets an offer to work in London, England for nine months and it is in this time that he meets Samantha – a well spoken, stunning English rose. They fall in love and Josiah decides to take Sam home to Nigeria and of course all hell breaks loose. Josiah’s mother is quite open about her dislike for Sam as she doesn’t approve of him dating an English girl but Sam’s troubles do not stop there – she also has the ex-girlfriend (invited to stay at the house by Josiah’s mother) to contend with.

I’m afraid I can’t give too much away but I can definitely tell you this is a must-see. The cast is fantastic and they couldn’t have been more carefully selected. Co-writers and producers who also both star in the movie Edith Nwekenta and Segilola Ogidan were present at the private screening. They were the coolest people ever and you could tell they were extremely proud of their work.

I particularly loved the movie because I could totally relate to it. I’ve been on both Sam and Josiah’s side and I can tell you each is just as awkward as the other. MDMS not only explores the newly awkward relationship with both Sam and her parents-in-law to be, it also explores how the dynamics between a couple can change in times like this. Along the way, a few characters annoy you and some make you laugh so much, you want to cry! You can find out more about the movie and cast here.

MAASAI: 10TH LOST TRIBE OF ISRAEL


After MDMS - a romantic, feel-good movie , we had a break in which time we took some press pictures and then we started screening Maasai. I had seen the trailer but I didn’t quite understand what the documentary was about, so did not know what to expect.

Emmanuel had introduced me to Dante Montagnani (the director) earlier. He seemed very lovely and we had talked about the film but not in detail. Parts of it were a little hard to watch – a lot of if was very graphic – animals being killed, Maasai people drinking animal blood straight from the dead animal’s body, people in extreme trance etc. In addition, it was an observational documentary – Dante literally filmed the Maasai tribe – there were no translations which meant I simply couldn’t understand what they were saying and most times, doing. I’ve always known a documentary to follow for example the progression/development of a certain character or perhaps the leading up to an event – just something you could say this is building up to but there was no such thing. It was merely filming the Maasai people. I couldn’t tell who was who: relatives, friends or peers. Frankly, I was left confused and stunned.

I spoke with Dante after the event and he was aware of the above and this was something he intended when he filmed this in 2008. He wanted to steer away from being one of those documentaries that lead you to believe one thing or another. Rather, he wanted people to watch it and form their own opinions. I guess this is a rather clever thing to do in a documentary – it empowers the viewer rather than patronise them especially because every time you see a documentary about Africa on TV, it gives you the impression that everyone is poor and suffering and you really need to help them. In this case, it shows you as it is but it’s up to you how you take that. I couldn’t have asked to spend my Friday evening in a much better way or with a much better bunch of people. Emmanuel treated us all to dinner at a lovely restaurant straight after.



Find out more about premiere dates and everything else BUFF 2015 will be offering here including the film 'Amy' directed by Asif Kapadia.

Lots of love,
J
xo xo 


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