Iyare Igiehon Tells Us About His Latest Project ‘S.O.U.L’ Film Festival @ The BFI

iyare

Tell us about the SOUL film festival…

S.O.U.L. Celebrate Connect is a showcase and networking forum for emerging black film and TV. It can be difficult to secure prestigious platforms for your work as a new black filmmaker and there are few more well known film venues in the UK than the BFI so it seemed a great place to celebrate our talent in a meaningful way. We also believe that the stronger the links between creatives, from our communities in this industry the greater Black British film and TV will be. So we have created a forum where Black film, TV and media people can connect.

What inspired you to create this event?

I often work at the BFI and repeatedly get asked about how new filmmakers get their films shown there, so in response to that I secured a theatre at the BFI and set about trying to organise a screening for the films of a couple filmmakers I know. It became apparent quickly that we needed to do more and S.O.U.L. (Screening Our Unseen Lives) was born. The numbers of black and ethnic minority people in the film and TV industry is falling and we think there are a number of different things that contribute to that. However, can we all say that we are doing all we can the address the issue ourselves? I realised that I had the opportunity to perhaps create a platform for our communities at the BFI so I’m taking it.

You’re renowned for being a DJ how have you made this transition into film?

I was never really a DJ. I trained in music, wrote about it, promoted it and eventually got to present it on the radio but I can’t mix Jason was always the DJ. I have always done a range of things even when I was on 1Xtra; in the mornings I would go off to teach in the afternoons, produce other shows and documentaries or host events. I got interested in film as a radio producer because the networks were demanding 360 content so I had to learn video skills, and web skills. I was also doing events at the BFI, a lot, and the two things merged as the radio stuff slowed down. Now I make and teach film, present, make digital content and even do the occasional stand up comedy gig. You just adapt as you need to.

Tell us about the films you’ve have chosen for the event?

We have a great selection of shorts, some comedy sketches and a couple of feature trailers to show at our first event. There is a diverse group of talent represented too. We have everything from ‘Some Girls’ actor Nathan Bryon showing a new sketch to filmmaker Kwame Lestrade’s ‘Calm’ which is a powerful piece on the subject of female genital mutilation. We have fiction and documentary films all from either writers, performers, directors and producers from Black or ethnic minority backgrounds. There is some real quality here and hopefully we can get people talking about it.

What’s been the biggest hurdle getting this event off the ground?

The event started as just a chance for few filmmakers to get that ‘screened at the BFI’ credit on their CV’s and has grown into a brand that represents Black British Filmmaking. To try do that justice has been scary. I’ve also had to ask many people to give me a lot even though I have little to offer them in return

Which film has had the biggest impact on your life?

Just one!? Star Wars, Pulp Fiction, E.T., City Of God, The Matrix, Friday…

What are your hopes for the SOUL film festival?

My hope is to establish a fully rounded support system for our community in this industry – screening, networking, training funding. One day not only will we be screening films but we’ll be making them too all from within our own community.

How can people get in touch with you regarding SOUL?
You tweet me @soulfilmuk or @1yare or email me at info@soulfilm.co.uk If you’re ready to get on with improving the Black British film industry we need to talk.

The first S.O.U.L Film Festival takes place today at the BFI.

4 Comments

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  1. 16 December 16, 11:41pm

    Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!

    Other then that, great blog!

  2. Rob J says
    28 November 16, 1:00pm

    Dear Iyare,

    Fran reminded me of another gem, you should watch –

    Pinky (An overlooked classic from 1948).

    These films are also worth viewing :-

    Across 110th Street
    Hickey And Boggs (Since Bill Cosby’s recent demolition of his image as a “family man”,
    this bleak 70s film noir is impossible to obtain, but it was a fine film.)

    Regards,

    Rob

  3. Rob J says
    28 November 16, 12:03pm

    Dear Iyare,

    I had the good fortune to meet you on Friday, with my friend Fran. We had just seen “In The
    Heat Of The Night”, and was looking at the remarkable collection of posters celebrating the
    history of films made by Black directors. As a former trainer in matters of diversity,I was
    highly impressed, to say the least.

    Anyway, look out for these equally important independent films, made by Black directors :-

    Nothing But A Man
    The Spook That Sat By The Door

    Check out these books on the Black experience :-

    The Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
    Devil In A Blue Dress – Walter Mosely
    In Black & White – The Untold Story Of Joe Louis And Jesse Owens – Donald McRae
    Toms, Coons, Mutattoes, Mammies & Bucks – Donald Bogle
    The Civil Rights Movement – William T Martin Riches

    It was a pleasure to meet you.

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