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Celebrating Black History Month at MetFilm School

By Elise Czyzowska

10 November 2023

As part of this year’s Black History Month we celebrated the work of black artists in Film and Television. Our staff and students got involved in a wide range of activities – from on-campus film screenings, to an online panel discussion, and more.

Here’s a look at how we celebrated the month across our London, Berlin, and Leeds campuses…

Panel Discussions & Guest Speakers

We began the month with an online ‘Representing Realities’ Panel, moderated by MetFilm School Leeds tutor Christopher Cole.

On the topic of Diversity’s Role in Shaping Film & TV, our students were lucky enough to hear from Tobi Bamtefa (Actor, Tin StarMayor of Kingstown), Abíólá Rufai-Awójídé (Producer), Leanna Smith (Film4 Production Manager), and our own MA Directing Graduate, Director, and Host of Dailies, Tomisin Adepeju.

The panel were very knowledgeable, and gave some excellent insights on how to interact and get on in the industry.

Christopher ColeMetFilm School Leeds Tutor

Across October, we also held Guest Speaker sessions for our students to attend both on-campus, and online through MetFilm Futures. These included Stephanie Boateng (Director, Producer & Writer), Iyare Igiehon (Creative Diversity Partner for BBC & Founder of S.O.U.L.), and Nicci Topping (Casting Director).

Head of MetFilm Futures Sarah Winstanley sits down with Iyare Igiehon

Film Screenings & Mixers

Our Thursday Film Screenings are a staple of life at MetFilm School, and over the four weeks of October, we highlighted films and shows by Black artists. Our watchlist included…

  • Rye Lane (Raine Allen-Miller, 2023)
  • Dolemite Is My Name (Craig Brewer, 2019)
  • Small Axe: Lovers Rock (Steve McQueen, 2020)
  • Mo Gilligan: There’s Mo to Life (Chris Howe, 2020)

Special congratulations also to the entire cast & crew behind Rye Lane, which last week received 16 nominations for next year’s British Independent Film Awards.

Alongside ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best British Independent Film’ nominations, Rye Lane‘s Co-Writers Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia also received a ‘Best Screenplay’ nomination. We explored the Rye Lane writing process in our Masterclass with Nathan Bryon here.

Casting Director & Producer Nicci Topping at our Leeds campus

#YELLIT From The Mountain

Created in 2020 by MetFilm School Berlin tutor Benita Bailey, #YELLIT From The Mountain featured Black artists from the performing arts industry in conversation with Benita. Last year, ahead of the fourth season of the show, MetFilm School joined the project as Co-Producers, and students from all three campuses had the opportunity to get involved in the production of six new episodes.

Each week, a new #YELLIT episode was screened for our students, including conversations with Film & TV Producer Nataly Kudiabor, Hairstylist Fatima York, and Writer & Producer, Tunde Aladese.

This last episode was particularly special for the the MetFilm School community, as Tunde Aladese is a BA Practical Filmmaking Graduate from our Berlin campus! Last year, Tunde was a Writer on Set and Executive Producer on Anna Winger’s limited series, Transatlantic, which is available to watch now on Netflix.

One of the #YELLIT sessions from MetFilm School Berlin

Looking back at the month…

Speaking on the month as a whole, Jonny Persey (MetFilm, Director) mentioned how ‘wonderful it has been to be part of a team celebrating Black History Month at MetFilm School this October’. He continued:

Celebrating Black history is something that we should do all year round, and will do. The opportunity to focus this work in allyship with communities across the UK each year is something that just allows us to amplify this voice.

At MetFilm School, I’m proud of how all our teams, all our campuses, and everyone across the organisation was able to come together in this endeavour. Thank you!

Jonny PerseyMetFilm, Director

  • Learn more about Benita Bailey’s #YELLIT From The Mountain in last year’s blog.
  • Our Black History Month activities were run through MetFilm Futures, our dedicated careers department. Find out more.