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The two men who broke Britain’s film-making colour barrier

MAKING HISTORY: Scene from Britain's First black feature film, Pressure , directed by Horace Ové

THESE DAYS, it is still difficult for black filmmakers to get their films made but in the 1960s and 1970s two men, Horace Ové and Lloyd Record broke the colour barrier to produce films that not only made history but helped to explore and highlight Britain’s black experience.

To inspire today’s young black filmmakers to keep going, below The Voice highlights these two filmmakers who inspired younger generations.

Horace Ové
HAILING FROM Trinidad, Horace Ové was an artist and a photographer, working in Italy before coming to Britain.

It was here that he became interested in making films, starting off with Baldwin's N****r , a 1969 film made based on his recording of a lecture given by author and political commentator James Baldwin.

Horace Ové became Britain's first black director of a feature film when he directed 1975's Pressure
The lecture was about race, racial separatism and the African Diaspora. In 1975, Ové made history when he directed Britain’s first black feature film, Pressure . The BFI, which funded the film, said Pressure dealt with issues such as ‘the struggle of the children of immigrants to reconcile their culture of origin with the culture of the country of their birth.'

Ové is the only Black filmmaker to have sustained a career in Britain over four decades, encompassing feature films, television dramas and documentaries, BFI said.

“I believe in quality,” Ové told Caribbean Beat Magazine . “[So] I’ve always made up my mind I’m going to make films as good as anybody else in any country, England, France, Hollywood or wherever.”

Lloyd Reckord
JAMAICAN-BORN writer, actor and director Lloyd Reckord, already a talented writer and performer in Jamaica, came to London to continue a career in the theatre. Known for acting roles on shows such as ITV’s Danger Man , shown from 1960 to 1961, he later turned to filmmaking. Among his films is the experimental short Ten Bob in Winter (1963). The BFI said the film looked at the outcome of a loan of a ten-shilling note between two Caribbean men.

5 Other Pioneering Black Films
1. Babylon (1980)- The trials and tribulations of a young Caribbean rapper. Director: Isaac Julien
2. Burning an Illusion (1981), Black feature film about a young woman questioning her life. Director: Menelik Shabazz
3. Handsworth Songs (1986). It explored experimental documentary exploring race and social unrest in 1980s Britain
4. / Jemima + Johnny (1966) – looks at a friendship between a white boy and black girl
5. Territories (1984), a documentary exploring black culture and the media
Source: BFI

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