News Brief

Amma Asante’s Drama About a Motswana-British Interracial Romance to Open the BFI Awards

Keep an eye out for Asante, Oyelowo and Moitheri Pheto at tne BFI Awards, which runs from Oct. 5-16 in London.

Film director Amma Asante is living up to her accolades from BAFTA for most promising newcomer for her debut "A Way of Life" and win for her second feature film "Belle," which Gugu Mbatha-Raw won best actress, at the British Independent Film Awards.


Variety reports, Asante has followed up these successes with a third, cause three’s a charm. Her upcoming film "A United Kingdom" has been selected to open the 60th British Independent Film Festival on Oct. 5 at the Odeon Leicester Square. Asante, born to Ghanaian parents who immigrated to London, is the first black woman to have her film open at the prestigious film festival. Yet, another example that 2016 is #PeakBlackGirlMagic.

"A United Kingdom," stars David Oyelowo (could this spell redemption for him after starring in major flop “Nina”?) along with Rosamund Pike ("Gone Girl"). "Mandela" actress Moitheri "Terry" Pheto of South Africa, will also appear. Produced by Rick McCallum of  "Star Wars," it’s a drama based on a true story that focuses on King of Bechuanaland (present-day Botswana) Seretse Khama (Oyelowo) and his controversial interracial relationship with a London office worker, Ruth Williams (Pike), who he married in 1947, despite discouragement from their families and the British and South African governments.

Courtesy of Pathe via Variety

“It’s a great privilege that 'A United Kingdom' has been selected as the opening night film of the BFI London Film Festival,” Asante says, according to Variety. "The festival means a lot to me personally, having showcased my first film, ‘A Way of Life,’ here and been honored with the U.K. Film Talent Award. I’m a proud Londoner, and in 'A United Kingdom' we’ve been able to film in some of the most beautiful parts of the city as well as in the wonderful landscapes of Botswana."

Clare Stewart, London Film Festival director, adds, according to the film's press release: "Amma Asante’s 'A United Kingdom' is testament to a defiant and enduring love story that also reveals a complex, painful chapter in British history. We are proud to be opening the 60th BFI London Film Festival with a film of such contemporary relevance, one that celebrates the triumph of love and intelligence over intolerance and oppression, and that confirms Asante as a distinctive and important British filmmaker."

Asante, Oyelowo and Pike are slated to attend the LFF gala screening, which will serve as the European premiere for "A United Kingdom." So far, the film has distribution in the U.K. and France.

Keep an eye out for Asante, Oyelowo and Pheto at the BFI Awards, which runs from October 5 to 16 in London.

Film
Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

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