What Is Black Words Matter?
Black Words Matter is a project created by Birmingham Young Filmmakers Network which has seen members (aged 16-21 years old) collaborating with local poets to create three short films inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Premiering in an online event on Thursday 7th October, each of the poems are personal, exploratory and confrontational as these young people share their perspectives. Poet Ivana says “Amplifying black voices is so important, and this project enables the black experience to be showcased in an artistic form, which is so beautiful. It is essential to celebrate black culture and stories. Even if they derive from a painful place, we are promoting a sense of community and safe place for them to be shared.”
Facilitating the project, it was important for BYFN to allow the participants to feel comfortable enough to take ownership of the films and collaborate openly. Poet Ryan Sinclair says “I found the experience very worthwhile and nurturing as I got to take a poem of mine and create a visual alongside it which I think enhanced the piece. I found it easy working alongside the filming team which is what I’d have hoped as I wanted the input of the team to maximise the potential of the poem.”
The collaboration has helped push our filmmakers to develop their craft and broaden their experience. Director Ruth Holder says "It was very daunting for me to create a film based on someone else's material. I'm so used to creating things for myself so I was very nervous about this project, but working with Ivana to see her vision and with the BYFN to make her vision a reality was really fun!"
The project has seen fantastic support gaining financial support from Beatfreeks’ Fuel Funding, as well as support from BFI Network and Film Birmingham. BYFN founder Cassie Smyth says “It’s important that we all use the platforms we have to make changes where we can in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement. Birmingham is a multicultural city and our network reflects that; we’re really excited that our filmmakers have been able to channel their skills into an issue they’re passionate about, connect with other creatives and centre their experiences.
“We’re so proud of the network for being able to create such essential work in this year despite such challenging circumstances. The pandemic has made activities difficult but these young filmmakers have displayed resilience and creativity in order to deliver these films, showing what future stars of the film industry we have right here on our doorstep!”
Black Words Matter online premiere
Wednesday 7th October