A Time To Breathe: Addressing Racism in the Film and TV Industry - panel session

In the wake of the death of George Floyd, we have seen a groundswell of outrage and protests. The Black Lives Matter movement in the US has provided the catalyst for demonstrations, direct actions and remorseful proclamations from many spheres of society around the world, keen to denounce systemic racism. Every industry has had to take a long hard look at itself and its contribution and the world of TV and film has been no different.

It’s only been a month since George Floyd’s life was taken by a US police officer, but the ripples and responses have been rapid. YouTube has pledged $100m to support black creators; Sky created a £30m racial injustice fund; Channel 4 declared themselves an anti-racist organisation and the BBC has committed £100m to making its content more diverse and inclusive. There have been a slew of open letters signed by thousands of Black people in the film and TV industry and their allies from other communities demanding meaningful, substantive change. All this against the backdrop of a global pandemic that is still disproportionately affecting Black and Asian people and other minorities across the globe.

This timely session gives Black filmmakers, producers and execs in the industry a moment to reflect on how all of this is affecting them, their peers and their community and how the future can feel more equal than the present.

A recording of this panel is now available to all Digital Industry Pass Holders on our Doc/Player platform.


Produced and chaired by Derren Lawford (Creative Director of Woodcut Media and Sheffield Doc/Fest Trustee)

The panel features:

Dionne Walker (Writer/producer of BAFTA nominated The Hard Stop. Her current project Invisible Woman 2.0 was selected for Sheffield Doc/Fest’s MeetMarket. Current projects also include Neopolitan and Regent's & Vicky.

Cherish Oteka (Edinburgh Television Festival's One's to Watch, Sheffield Doc/Fest Doc Next and The Grierson Trust's Doc Lab alumni; director of BBC One’s Too Gay For God?)

Adeyemi Michael (Grierson award winning director of Sodiq, Blue Ice Group Fellow, Durban Film market alumni. Notable credits include Murder on the Streets for Panorama and Entitled for C4’s Random Acts strand.)

Mathieu Ajan (BFI Talent Exec and founder of Bounce Cinema.)

Cassie Quarless (Co-director of BFI supported doc on young black activists, Generation Revolution, which premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest)