The undisputed voice of diversity in the arts British Blacklist Founder Akua Gyamfi joins the Breaking through the Len jury at Cannes, as 8th Jury member.
‘Breaking Through The Lens’ (BTTL) curates a small selection of the highest-quality feature films directed by women, projects that are already far along in development, and gives them the opportunity to pitch in front of top-tier financiers.
Akua told Alt Africa. “I am really excited and honoured to have been asked by Breaking Through the Lens. I am looking forward to seeing this year’s selection of films”.
The BTTL initiative launched in 2018 at the Cannes Film Festival, and all projects received material interest, with several already moving into production.
Akua launched The British Blacklist in 2012, leaving behind a hairdressing career, she studied journalism at London College of Communications and her career as a freelance journalist took off, assisting at French/British magazine Bolz, shadowing and interviewing Ken Livingstone during his 2008 mayoral campaign, editing the blogs for then radio 1Xtra DJ’s Ace & Vis, launched her own blog the Soul Pages, and was editor of print and online magazine, Candy. She has also written for the BFI online platform and their Sight & Sound print edition.
Akua worked at underground music digital TV station Channel AKA (formerly known as Channel U) and worked closely with a dedicated team who turned the channel around. Then moved to the BBC where she worked at their Performing Arts Fund, BBC Writersroom and then BBC R&D.
Talking of diversity, the composition of the Cannes Film Festival jury is becoming increasingly more and more diverse over the last five years, recent members including Maimouna N’Diaye in 2019, Khadja Nin and Ava DuVernay in 2018, and Will Smith in 2017. This year director Spike Lee has been named President of Jury the first a person from the African diaspora to be given that position.
Akua is also a sought-after commentator regularly speaking on news outlets Channel 5, BBC 5 Live, Victoria Derbyshire about diversity in the arts, and awards season opinion. She is on the board of The New Black Film Collective and is a regular collaborator with We Are Parable an events organisation who notably curated An Audience with Spike Lee in 2017.