Founder's Statement

bfmiff2015 / bringing the unseen to light

I am blessed to launch the 12th Edition of the bfm International Film Festival (bfmiff2015) in conjunction with the Bernie Grant Arts Centre (BGAC).  A new era of black world cinema in the capital city of London is about to begin. Those who remember the bfm International Film Festival will know of the standards we set in showing the best and important films from Africa, USA, Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

There are so many films being made, which we never get to see that reflect the range and dynamics of the black experience. This was why the festival was established in the first place – ‘to bring the unseen to light’.  Back in 1999 when it was first launched, black cinema was a new experience to many – outside of the Hollywood fare. Unfortunately, not much has changed. There are still few opportunities, for not only international work, but also the work of UK talent. These works remains marginalized and largely unseen.


The Festival is the place where the black independent sector can get some attention through showcasing their films. Also, through our industry-led seminars and workshops, this sector can gain insider knowledge and opportunities within the industry.  As a filmmaker myself, it was very important to bring the film and TV industry into our festival to share knowledge and to increase industry access. In the past these included BBC, C4, ITV, Kodak, the BFI and Equity.  Some of these organizations will be again participating.  So if you are looking to get in the film/TV industry or are already in the industry, we have 17 seminars and workshops that will be of interest.  The Festival is the place where UK talent can be at home to share and experience new ideas and benefit from networking opportunities.  The Festival is equally for those who want to see and experience black world cinema at its best.

Menelik Shabazz
Festival Founder/ Director

Menelik Shabazz