Q&A with Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe, Director of British Urban Film Festival

Established in 2005, the British Urban Film Festival was initially formed to showcase urban independent cinema in the absence of state-sponsored activity in the UK. Currently supported by a board of actors, journalists, film critics and filmmakers, BUFF stands out with its triple offering of on-line, on-air and spectator platforms where filmmakers and scriptwriters are presented with the opportunity to have their work showcased to the largest audience reach possible. In 2014, BUFF Founder and Director Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe attended Meet the Film Festivals at ASFF in York. We speak to Anyiam-Osigwe in a post-festival Q&A and hear about his ASFF highlights and advice for emerging filmmakers in 2015.

ASFF: What were your ASFF 2014 highlights?
My ASFF 2014 highlights include some great venues which really stood out, fantastic hosts and staff who made everybody feel welcome, and the fish and chips weren’t too bad either!

ASFF: In your opinion, why are film festivals like ASFF and BUFF important to the short film industry?
Film festivals like ASFF and BUFF are great shop windows for filmmakers to showcase their talent and their personalities as producers and directors. It’s a great opening also for actors, actresses, cinematographers, writers, musicians and other key crew to showcase their talents and personalities to an appreciative audience.

ASFF: As director of BUFF, what advice can you offer emerging filmmakers submitting films to festivals?
Irrespective of production budgets, my advice to filmmakers is to never ever scrimp on quality and attention to detail. Over the last 10 years, it has become more expensive to run the British Urban Film Festival. This is counter productive because the quality of submissions we receive has increased year on year. Consequently, that quality is reflected in broadcasters like Community Channel, Channel 4 and The Africa Channel prolonging the shelf life of films showcased by BUFF. We believe that our submission fees are a small price to pay given the track record we have established with filmmakers like Aml Ameen, Ida Akesson, Lyrical Healer, James Webber & Jane Gull.

ASFF: How can short film make an impact in today’s image saturated society?
The best short films have 1 thing in common: They make audiences care and also, they shock and awe audiences in equal measure. Given that the average short film is 11 minutes long, it is a skill that very few people have mastered in all the years that i’ve watched short films (and i’ve watched thousands).

ASFF: What’s next for BUFF this year?
What’s next for BUFF? BUFF will be co-producing it’s first feature film in 2015 (Follow @Monalisa_lives on Twitter). We’ll also be marking 10 years of BUFF with a variety of showpiece events throughout the year including BUFF Spring Season in May and the granddaddy that is the festival itself (in association with Channel 4) in October.

Find out more at the British Urban Film Festival at www.britishurbanfilmfestival.co.uk.

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1. BUFF logo.