The UK’s only Windrush film festival returns for a fourth run with a diverse array of films telling the stories of identity and belonging, racism, love, immigration and legacy, race relations and more, all wrapped up in the desire to tell “our” stories. This year WCFF has an impressive number of Black female directors and across the whole festival WCFF2023 films come from emerging talent and well known directors. More information about the workshops and talks will be announced in the coming weeks.
At the London Press Launch at Rich Mix Windrush Caribbean Film Festival (WCFF2023) announced that Southampton will be the host city for opening night on 6th June 2023.
The WCFF is organised by The Caribbean Tales Media Group, Other host cities this year include Bristol, #Birmingham, Newport and London, WCFF2023 will end with the Closing Awards ceremony in London on June 30. (Main image Official WCFF2023 Poster)
Southampton, a city with historical ties to the Windrush generation will host film screenings from the festival for the first time ever on June 6 and also on June 21, the day before National Windrush Day which this year marks the 75th anniversary since the Empire Windrush ship arrived at Tilbury Docks, the first stop en route to London for Caribbean citizens who were invited to live in the UK. Many Caribbeans had already arrived in the UK a year prior, docking at Southampton on board The Almanzora.
Festival founder and Oscars Academy member, Frances Anne Solomon says she wants WCFF 2023 to be the “best attended” event and aims to sell out the opening night in Southampton. In a statement, Solomon said: “They were our parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties. We inherited their courage, their struggles, their cultures of resistance. We are proud to stand on their broad shoulders and carry forward their stories”
The 2022 film festival was hosted in London, Birmingham and Newport – in June and July.
Co-Founders Garry Stewart and Patricia Hamhazee were in attendance at the Press Launch. In his Keynote speech Garry said.
“We are the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival nobody has been doing this work: if you asked me 10/15 years ago, I would have said I don’t know anything about Windrush. I can go back to the beginning of time to talk about Black history, I was coerced by certain people (laughs). One story I would like to tell is the story of the Windrush. People would tell you economic migrates were coming here, people with no jobs were coming here, that was incorrect, it was our vision, it is our story to tell people it is incorrect. The ship The Windrush was coming back here simply because it was bringing back Black veterans from the Caribbean and that is very key and important because they tried to whitewash that out of history”.
Patricia talked about the beginnings of the festival and some of the past year’s themes she said.
“It is a very intergenerational commitment to storytelling, that is what we are about, we are about celebrating, we are about educating, and creating, helping filmmakers to deliver their stories. When we started, we wanted to go nationwide as a festival, but the pandemic came so we had to be virtual. In 2020 our first every festival we centred it around justice because that was the height of the Windrush Scandal and all the injustices that we know. So, the films that we screened really reflected challenges, the difficulties and the stories evolved around that first generation of people who came here. In our second year we looked at the celebration of carnival, the educational aspect of our work as WCFF is to demonstrate what contributions we for those of us who have Caribbean heritage, what contributions we have made to this country for decades, within the Carnival theme also looked at the art of carnival with mask making, and sound system and the history of carnival. Last year WCFF coincided with the Commonwealth Games 2022, so we looked at From Empire to Commonwealth. What is the transition from being colonised and subjugated to independence?”
It is the 4th time that the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival has been held with over 40 screenings and talks taking place across 24 days in 5 cities, a move that Artistic Director Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe says “demonstrates the festival’s intent, ambition and purpose”.
2023 Windrush Caribbean Film Festival host cities and partner venues
Southampton – May Mastflower Theatre; Harbour Lights Picturehouse
Bristol – Watershed Cinema
Birmingham – Midlands Arts Centre
Newport – Riverfront Cinema
London – Rich Mix (Shoreditch); Genesis Cinema (Whitechapel – Awards ceremony);
Rio Cinema (Dalston); Channel 4 headquarters (Westminster); Picturehouse Central (Piccadilly Circus); Ritzy Brixton.
2023 Windrush Caribbean Film Festival official selections (subject to change)
After the Flood: The Church, Slavery and Reconciliation (Sheila Marshall)
Charts the roots and legacies of the 18th century church’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. It traces the ideas that justified and sustained the enslavement of black Africans, their lasting impact and what true reconciliation might involve and look like today.
A Very Brit(ish) Story (Jaha Browne)
Award-winning A Very Brit(ish) Voice is a documentary film that explores the stories of Caribbean people who traveled in the UK between 1948 and 1971 and settled in Leicester.
Asunder (Janet Marrett)
Olivia, a trainee professional, finds herself opposing the government that is seeking to criminalise her mother. ASUNDER offers an intricate story about family, politics and justice.
Black & White Duppy (Thomas Blackman)
A surreal coming of age horror exploring the impact of colonialism on London’s Caribbean community.
Black and Welsh (Liana Stewart)
Film-maker Liana Stewart is 50% Jamaican, 25% White Welsh, 12.5% Chinese & 12.5% Barbadian to be precise. When Liana was growing up in Butetown, Cardiff, there were few black and Welsh role models on TV. For a long time she’s wanted to make a film that brings people together from across Wales to share their experiences of what it means to be black and Welsh.
Buckra Maassa Pickney (Lal Davies)
Life of Enrico Stennett Windrush Elder is a compelling award-winning documentary with original archive footage of Enrico by Joanna Wright.
Death of England: Face to Face (Clint Dyer)
Unflinching examination of race, identity and toxic masculinity.
DỌLAPỌ̀ is Fine (Ethosheia Hylton)
She wants to succeed – but workplace standards threaten to erase her Black identity. How far should she go to fit in?
Falsehood (Leo Powell)
Araloyin Oshunremi, who plays Stef in the hit Netflix series Top Boy, stars as Richard (aka Reeks), who is caught between two worlds as he struggles with his identity.
HunmaniTree (Urban Circle Productions)
The HUMANiTREE documentary is an original feature-length production which was created by 8 young film makers out of Wales.
I Love St. Lucia (Leee John)
Discover the magic of the Caribbean Island of St Lucia with Leee John from Imagination. Together we visit the Piton Mountains, the Sulphur Springs.
Small Island Stories 2 (James Batchelor, Benjamin Harrap)
Small Island Stories 2 is an audio and visual production based around stories of those who came to Derby on the Windrush and those of their descendants, first, second and third generations.
Standing Firm: Football’s Windrush Story (Theo Lee Ray)
Benjamin Zephaniah celebrates the legacy of the Windrush generation and examines the impact Caribbean migration to Britain has had on British football.
The ID Project: My Dominica Story (Richard Etienne)
Travel to the beautiful island of Dominica as one British man documents his journey of discovery, of identity and learns about the birthplace of his late father.
OTHER WCFF2023 FILMS IN THE PROGRAMME
- I am Light (Julia Schönstädt)
- Hostile (Sonita Gale)
- The Roll Out (Dewayne Force)
- Ultraviolence (Ken Fero)
- V.Rocket International: A Sound System Dynasty (Marcus Hall)
- When I was a Younger (Noella Mingo)
- SUS (Robert Heath)
- The First Black Train Driver (Glenn Clarke)
- The Homemaker (Joanna N V Alexander)
- Spirits Run Deep (Gavin Porter)
- Menopause in Sisterhood, (Nicola Zwadi Cross)
- No Regrets (Krik Krak Productions)
- Pattern (Ivan Madeira)
- Rea’s Men (Aaron James Robertson)
- Rushed (Nadine O’Mahony)
- Strictly Prohibited (Freddie Stewart)
- Shantaye’s World (Matherine Emmanuel)
- Grief, Loss and Bereavement (Nicola Zwadi Cross)
Other selected titles:
501 Not Out (Sam Lockyer)
And Still We Rise (Chris Smith)
This year there will be special Tribute screenings for Menelik Shabazz more to be confirmed.
2023 Windrush Caribbean Film Festival official partners and sponsors
Alt A Review is the official 2023 Media Partner. ALT A REVIEW is the leading UK arts and culture newspaper and online guide covering the UK’s top events.
Check https://www.windrushfilmfestival.com/tickets/ or back here for #WCFF2023 ticket sales and more WCFF2023 programme news soon. Sign up to the newsletter for updates: On socials tag us on the hashtag #WCFF2023 #ALTAREVIEW
Other partners include Recognize Black Heritage and Culture, Shiloh PR, Integriti Capital, Caribbean Tales Media Group, Cinema Golau.