S.O.U.L. (Screening Our Unseen Lives) Fest 2024 will take place from Friday August 30th to Sunday 1st September, and for the first time the full festival is being hosted at the London’s BFI Southbank.

Competition for short films has officially opened. Each year, S.O.U.L. awards short films which support, promote and showcase the best of burgeoning black British talent in categories including Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Performer, the Craft Award, and the We See You award. is a celebration of Black British talent in film and TV, showcasing new features and shorts and allowing audiences the opportunity to see a diverse representation of Black Britain.

The S.O.U.L  project was originated in 2014 by Iyare Igiehon and Nuru Rimington-Mkali to be an organisation that advocates for BAME practitioners in British film and television. In 2019 Igiehon and Rimington-Mkali, along with founder of The British Blacklist, Akua Gyamfi, and We Are Parable co-founder and director Anthony Andrews, collaborated to launch a new Black British film festival: S.O.U.L Fest, partnered with the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).

ABFF London is the European instalment of the American Black Film Festival’s international event series. The weekend festival features screenings, panel discussions, master classes and networking activities. ABFF London is dedicated to promoting the universal appeal of Black content and encouraging collaboration between artists throughout the African diaspora.

Speaking at the launch, Iyare Igiehon, Co-Founder and Director, S.O.U.L., says “We’re planning to make this year’s S.O.U.L. Fest, our sixth, the biggest one we’ve ever put together. We’re thrilled to once again be partnered with the incredible teams from the ABFF and Sony Pictures. Expect an exciting programme of shorts, features, TV previews, our annual Awards and a programme of educational masterclasses and workshop. The road to the festival is always long and twisty so follow us on social media as there are bound to be surprises along the way.

“Our partnership with S.O.U.L. FEST provides a platform for filmmakers, industry professionals, and enthusiasts to converge and support the artistry of black cinema. This event is not just a film festival but a catalyst for progress in the entertainment industry. It stands as a testament to the power of film to unite, inspire, and effect positive change on a global scale”, said Nicole Friday, President of NICE CROWD and Producer of ABFF London.

Neeta Patel, Executive Director, Diversity, Inclusion & Talent, Sony Pictures Television, said: “Amplifying and showcasing Black British talent is key if we want to see a greater array of authentic representation in our industry. We have supported S.O.U.L Fest since 2021 and it is a fantastic platform, and is becoming an increasingly important fixture of the annual UK industry events calendar for Black British creatives. We loved hosting the 2024 programme launch at our London HQ, and we look forward to working with Iyare, Akua, and Anthony as their plans for this year’s festival come together”.

Short films can be submitted here: https://filmfreeway.com/SOULFest

S.O.U.L. Fest is partnered with ABFF London and is a BAFTA and BIFA qualifying festival.

Pippa Considine

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