BBC Film and BFI today announce a new season of British films beginning on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 23 October with Aleem Khan’s BAFTA award-winning After Love.
British Film Premiere presents a new premiere every Sunday night on BBC Two, celebrating a wave British filmmakers who are offering fresh perspectives on UK life and experiences. Each film will be available on BBC iPlayer after its transmission on BBC Two, and most will also be available on BFI Player.
These are films made for and played in cinemas. To celebrate that each one has a short introduction from a UK cinema programmer who has championed and played the film for their audiences.
Each of the seven feature films premiering in the British Film Premiere season has been critically acclaimed and premiered at top tier international film festivals, with many nominated for or winning major awards. The seven films were all developed and produced with the support of BBC Film, and each film will be followed by the premiere of a short film to showcase work from filmmakers who are on the path to creating their first features.
The BFI has also supported many of the features and short films, whether through awarding National Lottery funding or via its distribution arm or film festivals.
The aim of the British Film Premiere season is to complement theatrical release strategies, supporting the UK’s independent filmmakers and creating a national platform for exciting new cinematic voices on the BBC.
Eva Yates, director of BBC Film said: “This is an extraordinary collection of films showcasing the talents of a vital wave of British filmmakers who have something to say, and we can’t wait for BBC audiences to fall in love with films they may not otherwise have seen. It’s been a pleasure to work with colleagues at the BBC and BFI to bring this collection to UK audiences.”
Jason Wood, director of Public Programme & Audiences said: “This programme not only showcases a fantastic selection of films, but is also an indication of the wonderful talent we have in the UK. We are proud to work alongside BBC Film to co-fund many of these titles thanks to National Lottery funding, and also to partner with them on British Film Premiere as a way to bring these titles to new audiences, and celebrate British filmmaking and creativity.”
The feature films in the season are:
After Love written and directed by Aleem Khan, introduced by Isra Al Kassi of T A P E Collective
His House – written and directed by Remi Weekes, introduced by Mathieu Ajan of Bounce Cinema
Sweetheart – written and directed by Marley Morrison, introduced by Allison Gardner of Glasgow Film
Here Before – written and directed by Stacey Gregg, introduced by Michelle Devlin of Belfast Film Festival
Surge – written and directed by Aneil Karia, introduced by Nia Childs, freelance curator and programmer
Mogul Mowgli – directed by Bassam Tariq, co-written by Bassam Tariq and Riz Ahmed, introduced by David Kapur of Massive Cinema
Cow – directed by Andrea Arnold, introduced by Melanie Iredale of Birds Eye View
The short films premiering in the season are:
For Love – written and directed by Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor (following After Love)
Lizard – directed by Akinola Davis, written by Akinola Davies and Wale Davies (following His House)
Bulldozer – written and directed by Stella Scott (following Sweetheart)
Know the Grass – written and directed by Sophie Littman (following Here Before)
Precious Hair and Beauty – written and directed by John Ogunmuyiwa (following Surge)
Expensive Shit – written and directed by Adura Onashile (following Mogul Mowgli)
2003 – written and directed by Harris Dickinson (following Cow)
British Film Premiere: New Films from New Voices starts on BBC Two on Sunday 23 October and will run weekly until early-December.
Synopses and further information for the films appearing in the British Film Premiere season:
After Love – written and directed by Aleem Khan (23 October)
Winner of the Best Actress BAFTA for its lead, Joanna Scanlon, and the recipient of five British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) including Best Director, Best Actress and Best British Independent Film, After Love was selected for festivals including Cannes Critics’ Week, Telluride, and the BFI London Film Festival in 2020. After Love tells the story of Mary Hussain (Joanna Scanlan), who converted to Islam when she married and now is in her early 60s, living quietly in Dover with her husband Ahmed. Following his unexpected death, she discovers that Ahmed had a secret life just twenty-one miles away, across the Channel in Calais. The shocking discovery compels her to go there to find out more, and as she grapples with her shattered sense of identity, her search for understanding has surprising consequences. After Love is introduced by Isra Al Kassi of T A P E Collective.
His House – written and directed by Remi Weekes (30 October)
Winner of the Outstanding Debut BAFTA for filmmaker, Remi Weekes and the BIFA for Best Actress for Wunmi Mosaku, His House world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Bol (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) are a young couple who make a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan seeking asylum and a fresh start in England, but they’re tormented by a sinister force living in their new home. His House is introduced by Mathieu Ajan of Bounce Cinema.
Sweetheart – written and directed by Marley Morrison (6 November)
Nominated for five BIFAs including Best Debut Director and winner of the Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award, where it world premiered, Sweetheart is a coming-of-age story written and directed by Marley Morrison. A socially awkward, environmentally conscious teenager named AJ (Nell Barlow) is dragged to a coastal holiday park by her painfully ‘normal’ family, where she becomes unexpectedly captivated by a chlorine smelling, sun-loving lifeguard named Isla (Ella-Rae Smith). Sweetheart is introduced by Allison Gardner of Glasgow Film.
Here Before – written and directed by Stacey Gregg (13 November)
Here Before world premiered at the SXSW film festival, had its UK premiere at the Belfast Film Festival and won the Best International Film award at the Galway Film Fleadh. Here Before is a supernatural thriller written and directed by Stacey Gregg and starring Andrea Riseborough. When a new family moves in next door, their young daughter, Megan (Niamh Doran), quickly captivates Laura (Riseborough), stirring up painful memories of her own daughter who died several years previously. Before long, Laura’s memories turn to obsession as Megan’s unsettling behaviour begins to convince her of something supernatural. As Laura’s determination to get to the bottom of it becomes all consuming, her family begins to fracture and the line between the extraordinary and the real becomes ever more obscured in this haunting story about a mother’s love. Here Before is introduced by Michelle Devlin of Belfast Film Festival.
Surge – written and directed by Aneil Karia (20 November)
Surge had its worldwide premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where lead actor Ben Whishaw won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting, and its international premiere was in the Panorama Section of the Berlin Film Festival. Joseph (Ben Whishaw) is trapped in a soulless job, living a life devoid of emotion and meaning. After an impulsive act of rebellion, Joseph unleashes a wilder version of himself. He is propelled on a reckless journey though London, ultimately experiencing what it feels like to be alive. Surge is introduced by curator and programmer, Nia Childs.
Mogul Mowgli – directed by Bassam Tariq, co-written by Bassam Tariq and Riz Ahmed (27 November)
Mogul Mowgli world premiered at the Berlin Film Festival where it won the Fipresci prize for the best film in the Panorama sidebar. It was nominated for Best British Film at the BAFTAs and multiple BIFAs including Best Actor and Best Screenplay. The film follows the story of Zed (Riz Ahmed), a British Pakistani rapper, who, on the cusp of his first world tour, is struck down by an illness that threatens to derail his big break and forces him to face his past, his family and the uncertainty of his legacy. Co-written, produced by and starring Emmy award-winning actor Riz Ahmed, Mogul Mowglli is the debut fiction feature from the award-winning documentary filmmaker Bassam Tariq (These Birds Walk), who co-wrote the screenplay with Ahmed. Mogul Mowgli is introduced by David Kapur of Ourscreen and Massive Cinema.
Cow – directed by Andrea Arnold (4 December)
Cow world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and also played at Telluride and was nominated in the Documentary category at the 2022 BAFTA film awards. The debut documentary of acclaimed British filmmaker, Andrea Arnold, Cow is a powerful film shot over seven years. Cow is a portrait of the life of a dairy cow called Luma. This observational documentary unflinchingly chronicles its subject’s daily life, from grazing in green fields to giving birth, making milk and everything in between. Cow is introduced by Melanie Iredale of Birds Eye View.
For Love (short) – written and directed by Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor (23 October)
Illegal immigrant, Nkechi, lives happily in the shadows with her partner Martha, but when immigration officers turn up unexpectedly, they have to make difficult decisions about their future together.
Lizard (short) – directed by Akinola Davis, written by Akinola Davies and Wale Davies (30 October)
Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film and nominated for a BAFTA. An 8-year-old girl with an ability to sense danger gets ejected from Sunday school service. She unwittingly witnesses the underbelly in and around a Mega Church in Lagos.
Bulldozer (short) – written and directed by Stella Scott (6 November)
Ray’s estate is being bulldozed. On the way to fireworks night, Ray and her daughter take a detour through the new development that is being built in its place
Know the Grass (short) – written and directed by Sophie Littman (13 November)
Nominated for Best Short by the London Critics Circle and BFI London Film Festival. 15-year-old Mattie has dreamlike premonitions which she is encouraged to ignore by her older brother Marco. But during a trip out of town, Mattie senses her visions could have some substance and that her brother’s life might be in danger.
Precious Hair and Beauty (short) – written and directed by John Ogunmuyiwa (20 November)
Nominated for the BIFA for Best Short. An ode to the mundanity and madness of the high street, told through the window of an African hair salon.
Expensive Shit (short) – written and directed by Adura Onashile (27 November)
Nominated for BAFTA Scotland 2021 for Best Short Film. In a Glasgow nightclub, Tolu, a toilet attendant, manipulates unsuspecting women for men behind the mirrors. Tonight, she is forced to choose between saving herself or harming a punter.
2003 (short) – written and directed by Harris Dickinson (4 December)
Premiered at the BFI London Film Festival. Before embarking on his first tour of duty, a young soldier and his father must face up to the painful realities that have long gone unspoken between them.
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