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Eastenders and Holby City stars to host film awards

AWARD CEREMONY: Dean Alexander director of BIFF with Sindy Campbell of Film Birmingham

SOME OF the best known names in TV and film drama will be taking to the red carpet in Birmingham on Saturday night as the city hosts the sixth annual Music Video & Screen Awards organised by the Black International Film Festival (BIFF).

The lavish event at the International Convention Centre will be hosted by Hugh Quarshie, who plays Holby City Dr Ric Griffin and EastEnders actress Tameka Empson.

It brings to a finale a week of events which have included independent film screenings including a ‘Casino Royale’ night at Birmingham’s Grosvenor Casino and a women’s business seminar.

The festival was launched on Monday at Hotel Indigo’s Laurent Perrier Champagne Bar on the 25th floor of Birmingham’s new prestigious Cube building.

The sixth annual awards will also be the stage to officially launch a new Guild of Actors and Screen Associates (GASA) to provide better opportunities for black actors and screen professionals in the film industry.

Dean Alexander, BIFF director, said: “The lack of opportunity for black people is not a new phenomenon uncovered by us. This is something black entertainers have been saying in the media since the Windrush era.

“People in positions of influence, such as casters, commissioners, producers and directors are still largely not from the black community. As such there are still great inroads to be made in the fight for equality in the entertainment industry.

“With GASA the overall aim will be to stimulate and harness the burgeoning black British film/TV industry. Talent will have to be invited to take up membership of the organisation but for now the specific eligibility is up for discussion. What has been formalised is the structure.”

Actors already involved in its launch include Ellen Thomas, Rudolph Walker, MBE, Donna Cross and Jimmy Akingbola.

BIFF also has plans for a monthly movie club to keep film interest alive in the city throughout the year.

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