British Urban Film Festival founder Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe is stepping down after 2 terms and 16 years at the helm. Anyiam-Osigwe will be succeeded by London-based actor Justin Chinyere (Venus vs Mars, No Shade) who officially assumed his post last month and played a key role in hosting last year’s virtual edition of the festival on Apple TV. The announcement was made at an event hosted by Anglia Ruskin University where Anyiam-Osigwe was the guest speaker for Black History Month.
Chinyere has long been identified as Anyiam-Osigwe’s successor since the entrepreneur was honoured by Her Majesty The Queen for services to the Black and ethnic film industry in March 2020. Anyiam-Osigwe was recently appointed as a film and TV columnist by Screenlately.com and also served as a juror for The Creators of Colour Incubator, a development lab founded by Caribbean Tales and hosted in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival. Anyiam-Osigwe will continue to work as a producer on other projects across the BUFF Originals portfolio.
Speaking on his new role as festival director, Chinyere said: “I’m so thrilled and delighted at this fantastic opportunity of becoming the festival director for #BUFF2021.
“Emmanuel’s work ethic is second to none and I am very much still learning the role as we go on. However I am committed to carrying on the wonderful work that the BUFF team has been doing for over 15 years. Emmanuel & Clare [Anyiam-Osigwe] have been mentors to me throughout this process and then some. Understanding their daily process, love, passion and attention to detail shows why this is a truly magnificent festival loved by many.
“I feel it is important going forward to uphold the ethos of BUFF being the leading film festival for diversity especially at a time where many voices from around the world are getting louder and need a platform to be heard. BUFF has been doing this before “diversity” was even a buzzword and it is this type of integrity that BUFF has been recognised for within the industry and continuously receiving all the plaudits it deserves.
“I hope to enable more filmmakers from the UK and across the world just like Emmanuel, Clare & the whole BUFF team have done over the years.
“There are some exciting times ahead and much granola to be eaten and I am thoroughly looking forward to #BUFF2021 which is already in full swing behind the scenes”.
During his accomplished tenure at BUFF, Anyiam-Osigwe led the creation of BUFF Originals, enabling the organisation to produce and release their own original content, including “No Shade” and the upcoming “Finding Forever” movie scheduled to go into production in 2022. In addition, Anyiam-Osigwe brokered numerous licensing deals which saw official selections secure screenings on Channel 4, BBC i-player and iTunes. Anyiam-Osigwe also oversaw the organisation’s accreditation with BAFTA, BIFA, AMAA and the Iris Prize LGBT+ festival.
“Where do you start when it comes to looking back at the journey, from the memorable opening nights at Rio Dalston and Odeon West End, to honouring the daughter of Richard Pryor and hosting the festival inside the BT Tower, there are so many great memories to cherish and tell the children about,” said Anyiam-Osigwe. “I shall look back at the last 16 years fondly and take great satisfaction that I leave the festival in great shape. I look forward to seeing how Justin takes the festival forward”.
This year’s British Urban Film Festival is set to take place in early December.