MUST DO: I Will Tell Film Festival

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An entire weekend of films, workshops, discussions and events in Leytonstone to encourage black filmmakers and the wider community to come together

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Last year's I Will Tell. Photo: PR
A discussion at last year’s I Will Tell. Photo: PR
Heard of the I Will Tell film festival? Well, this year – its 10th, count ’em – the opening weekend gala takes place over three days right here in Leytonstone, starting tonight (it moves to Walthamstow thereafter). And we reckon it’s worth checking out.

The event comprises films, workshops, discussions and events to encourage black filmmakers, and the wider community, to come together to discuss the way forward with issues connected to race within black culture.

But why the name? In 2007 the festival’s founder, Jenny Lee, met an inspirational young woman called Anel on the plains of Thoera in one of the impoverished regions of Mozambique.

Educator and author Joy De Gruy, who features this weekend. Photo: PR
Educator and author Joy De Gruy, who features this weekend. Photo: PR
Anel had dreams to travel, although women in her community were not allowed to do the one thing that could make all those things happen: get an education. When Lee asked what Anel would do about her dreams, she replied, “Ndinadsawapanga mschool”.

The interpreter explained that Anel meant that she would tell everyone she met about the importance of getting an education; and she too would in turn be empowered by her telling. “So years later,” says Jenny Lee, “Anel’s dream lives on, in part, at the I Will Tell film festival which she named.”

Lee believes we as a nation have an intrinsic discomfort talking about race. “But the only way to solve some of the problems we experience is to acknowledge they exist, and then to go right to the root of the issue, pull it out and plant a new seed of true celebration of diversity and community cohesion.”

Here’s the full lineup for this weekend, including some free events.

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Opening Weekend Gala

Poster for The Hard Stop. Photo: PR
Poster for The Hard Stop. Photo: PR

Friday 7pm WHAT BLACK MEN THINK
The most provocative film since Roots exploring the stigmas and stereotypes within and about the black community. Post-screening discussion.

Saturday from 12 noon DIVERSITY PLAYROOM (FREE EVENT)
Fun activities exploring and celebrating diversity.

Saturday 2pm POST TRAUMATIC SLAVE SYNDROME WORKSHOP
Live recording of Joy de Gruy with a post-screening discussion

Saturday 4pm FILM PITCH
Chance for a filmmaker to win £25,000 and a trip to Hollywood.

Saturday 7pm HARD STOP
Inspirational documentary about the killing of Mark Duggan. Post-screening discussion with the Director George Amponsah, Writer Dionne Walker and retired superintendent Leroy Logan.

Sunday 7pm WAR ROOM (FREE EVENT)
Inspirational drama on the power of prayer followed by community prayer for issues connected to the black community

The events this weekend take place at Elim, Hainault Road E11. Next week screenings are in Walthamstow at the Empire Cinema until Sept 9th. Full info and how to get tickets for all events here

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