The Black History Month film festival, Black Film Festival, was hosted by The Media Discourse Centre. It was orchestrated by students as part of the DMU Black History Month celebrations. The film festival took place on 30th October at The Gallery, DMU Campus.

The event was introduced by Yvonne Connikie, a curator working with the Black community of Cardiff and greater Wales to help young new filmmakers get their voices heard. 

Her presence in Leicester was welcomed warmly by all and her opening speech spread her vision of inclusion for young Black filmmakers in the industry. 

The festival consisted of a selection of ten-minute short films which showcased many issues facing the Black community today.The young filmmakers had the chance to show off the work they poured themselves into.

The audience was attentive to Connikie. The crowd was small yet, it represented people from different backgrounds and allowed for stimulating conversation between films. 

The diverse films picked up on many issues facing the Black community, including anxiety, crime and identity in the modern world.

One such film, If Slavery Were a Crown by Nottingham student, Grace Edu was especially quite powerful. 

It expressed a need to remember proud African traditions, communities and family. It touches on heritage in a way which was intimate and profound. Playing out as a montage of mesmerising dance performance and vibrant imagery, Edu presented us with a message of unity at a time of great political and social strife.This was the best film of the day and Edu should be proud of what she has achieved.

Other standout films include the timely Waiting (Anxiety is Real), a tough look at a man suffering from depression in today’s world and Rescue Alanda, a small but poignant love letter towards the importance of the environment.

The most interesting project was Once an Old Lady Sat On My Chest, a film about a young woman struggling with her identity in modern Britain. The videos were only a promotional video and a trailer, but I was intrigued and was interested in watching the entire film. 

The promotional video outlined the filmmakers’ intentions and the important messages they would like to convey. I would like to see the full film someday. The creators and the actress playing the old lady seemed very excited about the opportunity and it is their excitement and enthusiasm which spoke to me.

There were two other shorts by VSOP Productions which related to knife crime and the conditions faced by Black youths on the harsh and unforgiving city streets. 

Both films were well acted and reflected the sad reality of those who turn to knife crime. They both had good stories and great actors portraying realistic characters, which helped in hitting the message home.

All of the films shown at the Black Film Festival expressed the real issues facing society. Every film had a chance to show us a different vision of the world at large, using the medium of film to accurately portray them. 

No matter the issue, I could tell that each was carefully and lovingly crafted by people who cared about their films and have found ways to use it to great effect. They represent a type of vibrancy and originality that could only come from the heart, expressing themselves in new and exciting ways.

Capped off by an honest performance by singer David Mendie, the DMU Black Film Festival was a successful venture which saw the coming together of people from different walks of life to watch very personal shorts which were engaging and thought-provoking. 

As previously stated, the crowd was very few, but that made for a lower key and intimate festival. I learned a lot about the culture and am pleased that DMU organised an event such as this. The films were great, the people gracious and the venue was unique.

It gave me a chance to see a variety of shorts from talented little companies and which highlighted a universal message, that of unity through film.