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The 2010 Buff New Year's Message (from Buff Enterprises)

Film buffs will continue to be spoiled in 2010 as the awards season continues in full swing with the long awaited release of ‘Precious’ at the end of January. Produced by Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, Precious (Based on the novel 'Push’ by Sapphire) is set in Harlem in 1987 and is the powerful and disturbing story of an obese teenage black girl whose life is a living hell. Pregnant for the second time by her father and bullied and abused both emotionally and physically by her mother, she can neither read nor write. Threatened with expulsion from school she is offered the chance to transfer to an alternative school, where she finds understanding and help. Help comes in the form of Mariah Carey who plays a far from buff-looking social worker. She was picked for the role after Helen Mirren backed out at the last minute and is part of an eclectic cast that also includes musician Lenny Kravitz, comedienne Mo’Nique and 25-year-old newcomer Gabby Sidibe. Most recently screened at the Toronto Film Festival, seasoned observers would be forgiven for thinking that wasn’t it this time last year, that Slumdog Millionaire (another rags-to-riches, family-friendly, winter warmer) was screened at the Toronto Film Festival and went onto multiple success at the Baftas and the Oscars (Incidentally, Slumdog Millionaire is being screened by Channel 4 on January the 13th).   Another film with Channel 4 involvement, 1day, continues to be talked about since its’ debut in October. Originally scheduled to launch last September, Penny Woolcock’s film could well have gone down the rags-to-riches road, however there was no doubt about the film’s agenda from the moment you notice the poster to the unapologetic trailer, despite the distributors protestations that 1day would be sold as the UK’s 1st hip-hop musical – a film version of Into the Hoods if you will. It will be interesting to assess the reaction to the film should it ever be screened on terrestrial television – as I predict Adulthood will be at some point this year. Speaking of Adulthood, Noel Clarke is back at work and the release of his latest movie – 4,3,2,1 is expected to hit cinemas before this summer’s world cup.  Also expected to hit screens in due course are Kolton Lee’s ‘Freestyle’ – dubbed by those in the know as the UK’s answer to ‘Love and Basketball’ and ‘Shank’ – initially released on DVD last November. I also expect big things from Lawrence Coke’s ‘Melvin’ - a film that’s been almost a decade in the making – and Baff Akoto’s ‘Football Fables’, a film I first heard about during BUFF 2008 and is doing the rounds on the international circuit.   Artists seem to be the new vogue in filmmaking right now with the likes of Steve Mcqueen’s Hunger and Sam Taylor-Wood’s ‘Nowhere Boy’, recently released over the Christmas period. Here’s a poser for the new year – there maybe a change of government, money’s tight and you’ve been given the job to spot potential filmmaking talent, who do you back? – an up and coming director who’s probably studied film as a course or an established artist who’s probably never studied film but who has an eye which is just as creative? Answers on a postcard…   2010 is a big year for us and on behalf of Buff Enterprises I’d like to thank not only all the filmmakers who have screened their films with us, but also all those individuals and organisations who participated in its first five years. None of what we do here would be possible if it wasn’t for your contribution and your support. 2005 was a momentous year in London – and there was 1 week in particular which was to define the landscape for generations to come. On July the 6th, London won the rights to host the 2012 Olympic games in Stratford, East London. A day later, 52 people died as the result of a terrorist attack on London. On July the 11th, Buff Enterprises was formed, identifying the need to become the standard bearer of independent cinema from the UK’s inner cities.   In the 5 years since then, the company has been vindicated in its approach to showcase films from a cross-section of society, defined by so-called sub classes. Recognising the struggle that individuals and families face financially, the British Urban Film Festival remains free to the public – and is the only one of its kind in the UK. And as we recognise the landmark we have reached, the way we watch films and media in general is forever changing and forever growing. Our mantra demonstrates the company’s mission to deliver to fans of film from far and wide. We hope that filmmakers young and old recognise the opportunities that are available, and the role that we can play to support a profession blessed with supreme British talent – a valuable asset in a globalised economy.  

Our call for submissions is already in progress. The address to send your DVD entries to is: British Urban Film Festival 2010, Buff Enterprises c/o 4front Films, 27 Ithica House, Romford Road, London E15 4LJ. For full details about how to submit, the company’s website is  


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