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Blacks Britannica + panel discussion (N/C 15+)

11 October

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  • A Autism friendly
  • C Captioned
  • D Dementia friendly


Made in 1978, David Koff’s insurrectionary film Blacks Britannica was banned in its day, labelled dangerous, untrue and extreme. This hard-hitting documentary on racism and resistance in Britain was immediately subjected to suppression, censorship and a US court battle that lasted more than three years. Made in the heat of 1970s militant Black British anti-racist struggle, it discusses the history of Black people in Britain since the era of colonialism, which led to mass migration to the UK.

In one sequence of the film, writer and activist Ron Phillips tells the story on screen for the first time of David Oluwale’s life and his murder by two Leeds policemen in 1969. Oluwale's death resulted in the first successful prosecution of British police officers for involvement in the death of a Black person.

In a time in which the film describes the Black community as being ‘the new underclass’ of the British working class, and Black people were portrayed in the media as caricatures - paradoxically seen either as ‘taking all of the jobs’, or as ‘work shy’, even criminal - we rarely heard about the Black experience in Britain from the Black community.

In this documentary, activists and citizens replace a narrator as they explore the impact that systemic racism has on them: from police harassment and the inability to find work, to the world of education. Blacks Britannica’s message was deemed too rousing at the time and thus highlights its significant entry into the canon of documentations of the lives of Black People in Britain. This screening will be of the authorised version - digitally remastered in 2008.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Mary Osei-Oppong, Tawona Sithole, Graham Campbell and Ndaye Lisa Badji. Reflecting on the significance of Blacks Britannica within a Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and human-rights context, the guest panel will discuss Black British experience and the impacts of racism.

All tickets £6.50

About the Panellists

Mary Osei-Oppong is a mother, teacher, an advocate for diversity in the teaching profession, published author and human rights campaigner.

Tawona Sithole is a poet, playwright, musician and academic with a keen interest in creativity as a means of connecting people.

Graham Campbell is Chair of Africa in Motion Film Festival board of Trustees and has been an elected member of Glasgow City Council since May 2017. He is also a cultural performer and producer in dub poetry, reggae calypso and ska music.

Ndaye Lisa Badji (She/Her) is the head of advocacy and partnerships at Intercultural Youth Scotland, Scotland’s leading charity for BPoC young people.

This programme is supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and National Lottery funding from the BFI.

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Black Histories on Film

Part of our Black Histories on Film season - find out more about the films and events here.

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  • Director David Koff
  • Country UK
  • Year of Production 1978
  • Running Time 54m
  • Certificate N/C 15+ - strong language, violence, racism
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