As part of the British Film Institute (BFI)’s BLACK STAR, a UK-wide celebration of the range, versatility and power of black actors, Come The Revolution partner up with Watershed, Colston Hall and Trinity Centre to present a season of films and events dedicated to some of the most magnetic performances ever to grace the cinema screen taking place across Bristol between October and December.
The centerpiece to Black Star in Bristol is a special showing of 1984 classic film Purple Rain, starring the ultimate star, the late (and much missed) Prince, with an after-party with the legendary “Good Times” DJ Norman Jay MBE taking place at Colston Hall on Sunday 13th November. The iconic quasi-autobiographical film starred Prince in his acting debut and catapulted the already successful music star to movie superstardom.
Come The Revolution curator Dr Edson Burton comments:“Where do I begin, before I discovered Chuck Berry or made sense of Tina Turner for that matter, rock music was White music, then came this pint sized dandy who made the guitar holler, stroke, scream, and shout. I was hooked; am still hooked and that addiction began with Purple Rain. More than the music, Purple Rain was the bible for any adult or adolescent who ever felt they were on the outside. Prince was our pied piper our guide, our guru. He showed us being on the outside is cool.”
The importance of the music biopic in the creation of on screen black stardom is further explored in ‘Stars Become Stars’, a series of late night events at Watershed taking in the biggest stars of jazz, soul, rock, funk and hip hop and showcasing some of Bristol’s finest talent. The strand launches at Watershed with a screening of all-star diva-thon Dreamgirls (loosely based on Diana Ross and The Supremes) starring soulstress Beyoncé and Oscar®-winning newcomer Jennifer Hudson followed by the Soul Sister No.1 after-party with DJ Kid Sister Selecta (The World is Listening, BCFM) and some of Bristol’s finest singers.
Saxophonist Camilla George, known for her collaborations with Tomorrow’s Warriors, Nu Civilisation Orchestra and Jazz Jamaica, performs live at Watershed before a rare showing of Bird, starring Forest Whitaker in a tour de force performance which earned him Cannes’ Best Actor award as jazz visionary Charlie “Bird” Parker.
DJ Style (Ujima Radio/Code of the Streets) provides the prelude to Straight Outta Compton which follows the meteoric rise and fall of seminal rap group N.W.A., and some of Bristol’s finest poets come together to perform a live spoken word tribute to one of the world’s most exciting, high energy music stars, Tina Turner before a special showing of What’s Love Got To Do With It. The warm-up to Jimi: All Is By My Side, starring boundary breaking Andre Benjamin (aka Outkast’s Andre 3000) promises time travel from Hendrix-to-Hip-Hop with a specially curated DJ set by Scott Xylo and visuals from Bristol’s Limbic Cinema and Come the Revolution’s Adam Murray.
Also at Watershed, ‘Stars Under The Radar’ looks at exceptional films and standout acting performances which did not get the recognition they deserved. Jackie Brown, the Quentin Tarantino movie starring Pam Grier and The Color Purple by Steven Spielberg, starring Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg, are just two of the films that will be shown.
Laughter will be the order of the day at Bristol’s Trinity Centre hosting a House Party Comedy Double-bill on the 4th December, an evening of film and entertainment celebrating Black comedy; Coming to America (Dir: John Landis 1988), Eddie Murphy’s shining moment and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988), the directorial debut by trailblazer Keenen Ivory Wayans featuring a young Chris Rock followed by a fast and furious session of 80s/90s themed hip hop and RnB.
BLACK STAR Bristol will also feature one off events such as The Fabulous Nicholas Brothers, a unique compilation of rarely seen home movies, photographs and film clips of two of the greatest dancers of all time and another chance to join DJ Norman Jay MBE for a screening of the Sidney Poitier classic To Sir, With Love showing as part of the Norman Jay MBE Black Star Tour, produced by Live Cinema UK.
Norman Jay MBE said:“As a lover of historic black music and film, I feel tremendously honoured to be involved in this amazing project by the ever forward thinking BFI”
Edson Burton, Artist & Curator, Come The Revolution said:“It’s been a long journey from our first discussions in 2015 through to the season’s launch. In between that time, we have wrestled over our favourite films and actors, written mountains of content on our own BLACK STAR and encouraged to do so, and have searched the world – ok the South West in particular – to bring you a plethora of artists to support the screenings. Come The Revolution are proud of what we and our partners will present to our audiences in the next coming months.”
Ben Luxford, Head of UK Wide Audiences, BFI said: “It’s fantastic to see FAN’s ambition growing year after year, and this collaboration with the BFI on the UK’s biggest-ever celebration of Black screen acting talent promises a real treat for audiences. Not only is it timely and important, it’ll also be fun and accessible, mixing traditional cinema screenings with house party weekenders in Bristol, a screening of Car Wash in a Sheffield Car Wash, and even a trip to jail with Richard Prior in Belfast. We’re eager to get going and bring BLACK STAR to new audiences all over the UK, giving them the chance to watch some classics and seek out many new discoveries.”
BLACK STAR champions the achievements of BLACK STARs from the earliest years of cinema through to the present day, whilst exploring why opportunities to shine on screen have been historically limited for black actors. BLACK STAR celebrates films that feature black actors in central roles, bringing their work to a new generation of UK audiences and 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 DVD/Blu-ray and online via BFI Player from 17 October – 31 December, with further projects planned to celebrate the contribution of black practitioners working across film and TV in the coming years. BLACK STAR is led by Film Hub South West & West Midlands on behalf of BFI FAN.
BLACK STAR in Bristol is presented by programming collective Come The Revolution, Watershed, Colston Hall and Trinity in partnership with Ujima Radio and the Norman Jay MBE Black Star Tour, produced by Live Cinema UK.