Modern Italy is racially diverse, yet Italian film remains overwhelmingly white. Why?
Dir: Fred Kudjo Kuwornu, Documentary, US / Italy, 2016, 65mins
The fight for diversity and increased inclusion in the media, specifically film and television, is not limited to the United States or the United Kingdom, but is a global concern. Much like how #OscarsSoWhite exposed this problem to a new generation of filmgoers, what we are doing with our Blaxploitalian documentary is introducing to audiences precisely how global this issue is, starting with one of the last places you expect to find the African diaspora – Italy.
Modern-day Italy is racially diverse, yet if you find it difficult to find noteworthy black characters in American cinema, not just tokens for a feel-good diversity quotient, it is ten times worse in Italy and throughout Europe. The journey through history that Blaxploitalian uncovers the story of how 20th century actors from Africa, the USA, and Latin America became Italian sensations.
This is juxtaposed with the struggles of contemporary Afro-Italian actors, who are only offered stereotypical roles. But the dedication to their craft, despite these tensions, is a testament to a better future, ripe with higher possibilities that the directors, producers, and actors of Blaxploitalian are working to make happen.
Black Europe on Film
Black Europe on Film is a programme of screenings curated by Black History Studies in partnership with the Bernie Grant Arts Centre celebrating the history and contributions of African people in Europe where their presence is significant but little known. The film festival will feature a selection of documentaries that document, examine and discuss stories from various parts of Europe and each session will end with an engaging post film discussion with audience members.