The top prize at this year’s Edinburgh international Film Festival, the 2019 Michael Powell Award for Best Feature Film, went to Farming, directed and written by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. The film is based on Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s experience of being sent from Nigeria to live with a white family in Essex and follows teenage Enitan as he searches for his identity in all the wrong places.
Now Farming, which stars Damson Idris, Gubu Mbatha-Raw and Kate Beckinsale as his foster mother, opens the new two-day film festival at the BFI , Soul Fest, a new collaboration between four Black British organisations SOUL Connect, We Are Parable, the British Blacklist and the new Black Film Collective.
The festival also features Shola Amoo’s film “The Last Tree”. With standout performances from Sam Adewumni and Gbemisola Ikumelo, the feature is about a young boy of Nigerian British descent, growing up in Yorkshire, who finds his life upended when his mother takes him back to London.
Meanwhile, the third feature film on offer is Julius Amedume’s adaptation of Graham Farrow’s stage play “Rattlesnakes”, which sees Jimmy-Jean Louis play Robert, a therapist with an exclusive clientele that may have put him and his family in danger. Finally, Veronica Mckenzie presents “Nine Nights”. Athletic teen Marcie Haines, and twin brother Michael share an unconditional bond, leaving mother Leonore feeling excluded from their intimate world. When tragedy strikes, the observation of the Caribbean mourning ritual ‘Nine Nights’ takes the family on a journey of grief and resolution.
The festival also hosts a special Symposium bringing together a group of leading thinkers from Britain’s diverse content creators to consider the role and responsibility of filmmakers with regards to the representation of diversity on screen. The Symposium will also feature a presentation of some of the best short films by emerging talent, exploring an eclectic range of tales touching on the Black British experience.
SOUL Fest runs from August 30-31 at the BFI. See bfi.org for details.