The end of my first week and my body is burning, I’ve lost some of the ageing weight I’ve put on over the previous 2 years and I’m left with a sense of satisfaction that I haven’t known since I was 16 and working full time as an assistant hairdresser. But it hasn’t been with out its faults. The fault being ICO Screening Days.
For anyone reading this that doesn’t know what ICO Screening Days are is too lazy to use Google to clarify, let me break it down for you.
Screening days are a way to bring films to people in the film industry, such as programmers (the people responsible for deciding what and what not to bring to their cinema) before their general release under the guidance (watchful eyes) of the distribution company. I was very excited to be invited and three times as excited when I saw what films were there. But I’m not here to talk about films per se, or give reviews on what I’ve seen, I’m here to talk about the film industry. Here I am, at the BFI Southbank, in Central London watching what I’m watching and all I can see bald white heads, these are the people from film venues across the country, decided what, and what not to show the general public and I counted a total of 5 BAME attendees. In a sea of 400 white men and woman, with the proportion of women to men being only SLIGHTLY better. The worst part being the fact that i can’t be the person to say a goddamn thing. because i’ll be met with: ‘oh, big surprise the black man thinks there should be more black asian and minority ethnic people in the industry. Big surprise.’ Let me just iterate that ICO are a great company and this was not the people they invited. This is representative of the people that work behind the scenes in distribution and film exhibition. Now here’s my issue. There is no point in having a fantastic BAME produced film unless programmers programme it. And the only reason that films starring minority leads or about our history as minorities is because it’s popular in the media right now. When that fades, so will all our visibility. And with a team of essentially old white bald men in charge of our stories being shown to the public. I doubt we’ll be seeing another success like moonlight in our futures anytime soon. Meanwhile the predominantly white film industry are using exceptions to the rule like Viola Davis and Moonlight to silence the very real problems in our industry. It’s not the actors you see on screen that need diversifying in this industry
So, I have so much respect for both Flatpack Film Festival and Independent Cinema Office, for starting and taking part in FEDS. They aren’t doing it because it’s easy, or because is being talked about right now. They’re doing it because it’s right.
Back to my first week as a FEDS, it started awkwardly, as is with anything new. There were ice breakers and a lot of conversations. I think I pissed everyone off by asking questions that probably didn’t fit into the programme at the induction, but they were still accepting and kind in answering.
My first day at Flatpack was awesome. It was so refreshing to be a part of a team that I liked and responded well too, I felt great pride in event the smallest contribution. I’ll be looking hard at those flowers during the festival.
I can’t wait until I get on top of working here, and get given responsibility, I’m interested to see how much of my degree I retained and what I’m actually capable of.