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Thumbs up to team BUFF

FILM BUFFS: (l-r) BUFF founder Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe, actress Zawe Ashton, Emmanuel Akintunde from sponsor Jilali and actor Andre Royo

OVER 1,000 people attended the British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) over four days at a host of venues.

Sponsored by Jilali Argan Oil UK, the event’s opening night gala in Leicester Square was hosted by actress Zawe Ashton (Fresh Meat), and also marked the UK premiere of new film Calloused Hands, starring US actor Andre Royo (The Wire), who was in attendance for the event.

Actress Anjela Lauren Smith (Babymother) hosted the closing night UK premiere of Bloody Lip – an award-winning mockumentary about boxing.

Also in attendance during the festival was Cass Pennant (on whom the movie Cass was based); actor Nicholas Pinnock (Top Boy) and musician/actor David Essex, whose movie Traveller received its world premiere at BUFF.

Now in its eighth year, the festival is currently in discussions with Channel 4 about a broadcast partnership in relation to its selection of short films from this year's event.

I particularly enjoyed the film The Fade, about men’s barbers across the world, by documentary filmmaker, Andy Mundy-Castle. An interesting documentary, it examined the culture of the barbershop, the male relationships forged via the intimacy of male hair care and the artistry it forges – not just on the scalps of the customers, but with the ambitions of the barbers too.

Uniquely, Andy structured the film to trace the route of the Transatlantic slave trade, so it features singular stories, with their narratives inter-cut, of barbers in Ghana, Jamaica, America and the UK.

I loved that it also included musicians including Aidonia, Elephant Man, Pharrell, Jay Sean, DJ Envy and Joe Budden. All give testimony about their relationships with their barbers, and the importance and competitive nature of male grooming, especially within the music industry.

Well done to the BUFF team for another successful festival.



BIG BREAKFAST: Shane Filan, Jasmine, TJ Tobson and Cyrus Todiwala

IT WAS a 7am start for breakfast at City Hall, where Magic 105.4 and The Mayor’s Fund for London recently broadcasted live in aid of London’s Biggest Breakfast. Their aim was to raise awareness to expand the Breakfast Club project and feed thousands more schoolchildren across the capital.

Many children come to school too hungry to learn. Currently, one in four schoolchildren only have one healthy meal a day – school lunch – and 32 per cent regularly miss out on breakfast.

It’s a campaign that has seen Magic FM and the Mayor’s Fund come together to deliver 10,000 daily breakfasts to 50 primary schools across seven of London’s most deprived boroughs, feeding nearly 2,000 children each morning.

One headmistress at the event told me that some families are so poor nowadays, that often the parents join their children for this daily essential at her school.

Magic FM DJ Neil Fox hosted, and former Westlife singer Shane Filan gave a great performance, entertaining the 50 young schoolchildren in attendance.

Also in the house was TV chef and London restaurateur Cyrus Todiwala – the very cool ‘spice man’ who told me he likes to cook a spicy breakfast like a chili omelette and had us taste one made by Junior Masterchef finalist, 12-year-old TJ Dobson.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: "It's unacceptable that many of our young Londoners are going to school hungry. I hope that London's Biggest Breakfast will encourage more people to get involved so that this initiative can reach more children across the capital."

The positive impact of the Breakfast Clubs is clear with 93 per cent of head teachers saying they result in increased concentration and energy amongst pupils.

Let’s ensure that our nations youths leave home daily with a healthy meal inside them. A happy tummy equals a smart, functioning brain!


HACKNEY EMPIRE recently hosted a comedy night with a twist. Strictly Come Laughing was an evening full of great urban comedians, but it was put on in aid of a Ghanaian village, which the Strictly Come Laughing team has been supporting for 10 years.

Hosted by Robbie Gee and Eddi Nestor (right), the event was akin to BBC’s Comic Relief and featured comics including Slim, Axel, Glenda Jaxson, and Richard Blackwood, and a guest appearance from Lenny Henry.

A great example of arts making the world a better place.

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