Windrush Caribbean Film Awards 2023: Winners Announced

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Windrushwinners
Windrushwinners

The 2023 Windrush Caribbean Film Awards was the climax to this year’s 4th annual Windrush Caribbean
FIlm Festival, marking the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the ship at Tilbury Docks. The event was presented by CaribbeanTales Media Group, Integriti Capital and Recognize Black Heritage & Culture with the support of the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery in order to grow audiences for the festival, focusing on those aged 16-25.

Held at the Genesis Cinema in London last Friday, the closing ceremony red carpet was filled with an array of Caribbean personalities, VIP’s and filmmakers whose films have graced cinema screens around the country as part of the 4th annual Windrush Caribbean Film Festival which took place last month in Southampton, Bristol, Birmingham, Newport and London.

Hosted by Judith Jacob, amongst those in attendance were actor Rudolph
Walker and broadcaster Alex Pascall who both received the Paulette Wilson justice award for their long-standing work in the community. The award is named posthumously after the Windrush campaigner who fought tirelessly against deportation to Jamaica, helping to bring the Windrush scandal to national attention in 2016.

Rudolph Walker is best known as Patrick Trueman in BBC’s long running soap EastEnders. He began acting at the age of eight and left his birthplace Trinidad to move to the UK in 1960. By the 1970s, he was well known as one of the first Black actors regularly seen on television screens. Rudolph also set up The Rudolph Walker Foundation in 2009, which helps disadvantaged youth find careers in the arts through inspirational role models and positive activities. He received a CBE for services to drama and charity in 2020.

Alex Pascall was the host of Black Londoners, the first Black daily show in mainstream British broadcasting which ran for 14 years on BBC Radio London from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s. He played a huge role in setting up The Voice newspaper in 1982 and was chairman of the Notting Hill Carnival in 1984. In 1996 he received an OBE for services to community relations.

Also in attendance at the closing ceremony was Adjani Salmon who received the inaugural Menelik Shabazz legacy award (in partnership with Alt A Review), named after the Barbadian filmmaker who died in June 2021 and is considered one of the godfathers of Black British cinema. His body of work includes “Burning an Illusion”, “The Story of Lovers Rock” and “Step Forward Youth” stretching over 40 years. Last year, Adjani received a BAFTA and an RTS award for his breakthrough comedy “Dreaming Whilst Black” which piloted on BBC 1 in 2021 and will air as a full series on BBC 3 later this month.

Friday’s awards also recognised excellence in other categories, including best short film won by director Aaron James Robertson for “Rea’s Men” (starring Josette Simon), best documentary won by director Gavin Porter for “The Spirit Runs Deep”, and best breakout film won by director Nadine O’Mahony for “Rushed” (starring Cherelle
Skeete).

Closing Ceremony highlights

– Singer Leee John introduced his documentary short film “I Love St
Lucia”.

– Croydon Poet Laureate Shaniqua Benjamin stirred emotions with a Windrush
inspired poetry set.

– Tributes were paid to Barbadian filmmaker Menelik Shabazz in a moving short film including from broadcaster Dotun Adebayo, actor Brian Bovell and comedian Eddie Kadi.

– Co-founder of the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival and CEO of Caribbean Tales Frances Anne Solomon delivered her keynote closing speech via video link from Toronto.

In her closing remarks, Frances Anne Solomon said: “It is our purpose and mission like our Windrush ancestors before us to keep pushing boundaries and breaking down doors. Film, music and art are mediums through which we share our lives, connect with our community and the world. They are how we leave our legacy for generations to come so that they know who we were.”

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