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Afro-European Cinematic Storytelling Garners Numerous BIFA Nominations

The award-winning 'Les Misérables' by Ladj Ly is up for Best International Independent Film at the BIFAs.   -  
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Petros Giannakouris/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Afro-European Voices Impacting This Year's BIFAs

Micheal Ward and Holliday Grainger are having trouble picking their favourite projects out of the 2020 British Independent Film Award nominees — announced by the two on Wednesday via Facebook video.

Remi Weekes’ “His House,” is up for the second-highest number of nominations — 16 in total with nods for actresses Wunmi Mosaku and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù. 

The project contrasts asylum seekers’ real-life horrors with those of the supernatural kind.

Close behind in third place with 13 nominations — including best actress for the main protagonist, Bukky Bakray,  is the culturally impactful 'Rocks.'

Rocks for a Dash of European Black Girl Magic

Micheal Ward shares why he adores the film.

"When you watch it, you know, you realize, 'Woh, I ain't really seen something like this before.' You know what I'm trying to say? Like, 'Why haven't I seen something like this before?' It's quite crazy. I loved it, man. Like I said, you know, even with Kosar, she's with the same agent as me, so, you know, I've known about her for a while. So I was really excited to see the film, you know, because she's just an amazing person. But I've never seen none of her work. So when I saw it I was like, 'Right, this is incredible, man.' What it's done for them. It's amazing. It's really, really amazing. What a film."

Holliday Grainger also enjoyed the profoundly moving project. She outlines how it made her feel.

"And I think especially this year, just sort of like stories of like friendship and people coming together and those kinds of bonds. You just... you kind of...you're rooting for all of them. And by the end, you know, you feel like you're part of their crew."

Les Misérables to Inspire Black Boys in Europe

Ladj Ly's film Les Misérables which tackles racially motivated police brutality in France is nominated for best international independent film.

For Micheal Ward, this French-produced film might just come out on top. he explains why the thought-provoking project gets his vote.

"I think one of the best films I've seen this year is 'Les Miserables,' and that's one of the films that's nominated. It's really, really good. It is really good, man. And so, yeah, for me, that's one of my favourite films this year. So the fact it's on there is incredible. I didn't really know it was an independent film, to be honest, but I should have known."

Meaningful Entertainment

Rocks is a British coming-of-age drama that explores the life of a marginalised — but very resilient, black teenage girl in London navigating hardship while the already multiple award-winning Les Misérables explores the Afro experience in French society.

Both films premiered in 2019 and tell stories which directly speak to people of African descent in the Diaspora.

The winners of the 2020 British Independent Film Award will be announced in early February 2021.