TODAY NETFLIX launched its first ever collection of black British stories. The selection of films and shows features Theresa Ikoko’s heartfelt coming-of-age film Rocks, the well loved sitcom Desmonds and Remi Weekes’ critically acclaimed thriller His House, set for release on 30 October.
Filmmaker Adeyemi Michael worked with the streaming platform to curate the special collection of films, series and shorts that capture the black British experience, showcase black British performances and black British creativity behind the lens.
We spoke to the Michael, whose short film Entitled, features in the collection.
There’s so much to choose from when it comes to portraying the Black British experience. How did you go about curating this list?
It was obviously very exciting to try and figure out, put together a list of films that portray us in a plethora of ways as opposed to the current narratives that are sort of constantly portrayed of us in certain types of shows.
The main thing for me with this collection was trying to showcase stories that allowed us to see ourselves on the screen in ways that we hadn’t seen before – in terms of us in more gentle moments; us in ways that speak to the social situations, for example, His House.
I had mentioned [to Netflix] that I really wanted to showcase directors like Steve McQueen as well on Hunger because it’s really important to see us tell stories that don’t only exist with black directors, telling black stories.
Your own film Entitled features in the collection. What does it mean to have this on Netflix and bring it to a new audience?
It’s such a big deal because it’s such a short film. Knowing that they don’t usually take shorts…I was really chuffed when I was approached. I didn’t expect to put my film on there.
For me, it’s incredible. I have to commend Netflix for looking at me and valuing me and valuing my voice. And just the fact that my mum is on a platform like Netflix, and what I’ve done with her, is really important to me. It’s really important to me that that story is accessible to more people.
What message do you want this collection to send?
I think the message it’s going to send is definitely one of people understanding that, oh actually I can relate to this person…hopefully to just normalise our narratives being seen in different ways, and just not being driven by the usual stereotypes.
My work is always about a message and about leaving people with things and leaving people with a distinct feeling that the work says something. I feel like the collection does say something it says, this is who we are, this is where you can find us, [these are] the types of stories that we’re here to tell, these are the stories that exist within our community, but also these are the filmmakers that are telling our stories.
See the Black British Stories schedule below: