On 31 January 2022, highlights of The 2021 BUFF Awards ceremony were streamed exclusively on Bohemia Euphoria, a new UK streamer

dedicated to showcasing diverse content. [32] The ceremony took place at London’s Peckhamplex cinema (in front of a live audience for the first

time in 2 years) and was hosted by Femi Oyeniran for the fourth time in 6 years. Other guest presenters included director James Webber,

actress Ruby Barker, actors Arnold Oceng, David Ajala, Andre Fyffe and Stephan Pierre Mitchell. The 3 live script awards were presented by

lead judge Clare Anyiam-Osigwe. The recipient of the honorary award was Menelik Shabazz, a prominent Barbadian-British filmmaker and

director of Burning an Illusion who passed away suddenly in June 2021. On behalf of his family, Menelik’s friend, the actor and poet Victor

Richards received the award which was presented to him by comedian and host Mr Cee.[33]

On 5 August 2022, festival director Justin Chinyere announced 94 official selections for the 17th British Urban Film Festival to be screened at

Rich Mix from November 26 – December 3.[34] The festival’s opening night will be headlined by the World theatrical premiere of Emmanuel

Anyiam-Osigwe’s “Absolutely Marvellous”, marking his debut in the director’s chair.[35] Filmed over a 5-year period, the documentary profiles the

aptly named Marvel Opara, the visually impaired mother of British Olympic heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce. Featuring interviews with close friends,

family and boxing figures including Frank Warren and Spencer Fearon, cameras follow Marvel in and around Putney (where she has lived for

most of her life) as well as at ringside to be present for Joe’s fights to get a sense of how she comes to terms with her disability.

[36] The 2022 British Urban Film Festival was hosted at Rich Mix in Shoreditch from 26 November – 1 December. The programme included a series

of talks with representatives from All3Media, the British Film Institute, PBS and BET UK. For the first time ever, an animated feature formed part

[37] of the line-up with the UK premiere of RIFT (directed by Haz Dulull). 138

On 2 December 2022, The 8th BUFF Awards ceremony took place at Rich Mix and was hosted once again by Femi Oyeniran (for the fifth time)

and new co-host Mosique Lavontelle. Awards were handed out in 9 categories including the inaugural ‘Best International Film’ which was won by

‘Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story’ (directed by the late Denise Dowse). [38] Other winners included Nicholas Pinnock who took home

‘Best Actor’ for his performance in “Can I Help?” and director Tracy Kiryango who won ‘Best Documentary’ for “Buddleia – The Unchained Story” –

sponsored by PBS. The recipient of the honorary award was prolific British Nigerian filmmaker Obi Emelonye in recognition of his 20+ years

contribution to cinema with films including Black Mail, The Mirror Boy, Oxford Gardens and Badamasi. Presenting him with his honorary award

[39] was producer/director Don Omope (Makate Must Sell, TATU, The Wedding Party).

Also on 2 December 2022, the Scottish crime drama Granite Harbour (co-created and co-written by Adriel Leff) launched on BBC 1,[40]

Audiences in Scotland had already seen the 3 part series before it was broadcast to the rest of the UK. Adriel was a previous winner at The

BUFF Awards – winning on a record 3 occasions in the best live script category – in 2014, 2016 and 2017.[41]

On 9 December 2022, the 6000th episode of long running soap drama Hollyoaks was broadcast by Channel 4. Viewers had already seen the

climactic episode (directed by Clare Anyiam-Osigwe) air on sister station E4 the previous evening. Episode 5999 (which was aired by Channel 4

on 8 December 2022) was also directed by the former lead script judge of the British Urban Film Festival who was making her directorial debut

on network television.[42] 

Official consolidated figures from BARB revealed that 436,000 watched Episode 5999 – the 50th most watched programme on Channel 4 during

that week. 458,000 watched Episode 6000 – the 3rd most watched programme on E4 during that week, behind Episode 5998 (which revealed

the murderer of Verity Hutchinson) and the reunion episode of reality show Married at First Sight.

On 22 December 2022, the Black British family drama “Riches” (created by Abby Ajayi) was broadcast in the UK on ITVX (previously known as

ITV Hub – a free streaming service available to audiences in the UK. The 6 part series (originally broadcast internationally on 2 December 2022)

was notable for several prominent performances from actors Adeyinka Akinrinade (a former director of the British Urban Film Festival in 2017)

who played the character of Alesha and Emmanuel Imani (a previous winner in the Best Actor category at The BUFF Awards in 2016) who

played the character of Simon. [43]


On 17 January 2023, the appointment of film producer Paula Crickard as artistic director of the British Urban Film Festival was announced by multiple industry outlets. [44] Also announced was the appointment of Muriel Narh as lead script judge, replacing Clare Anyiam-Osigwe.

Paula Crickard named British Urban Film Festival Artistic Director

The British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) has today named Paula Crickard as its Artistic Director. Paula has worked in the film industry for almost 30 years, debuting as an award winning documentary director in 1994 with Northern Visions in Belfast. Her career has spanned a variety of roles for multi award winning companies such as Killer Films in NYC, Elle Driver & Wild Bunch in Paris and Millennium Media in LA.

Paula spent several years as head of production at Finite Films and TV developing and producing live action and animation, earning a BIFA nomination as breakthrough producer along the way. She has also worked across multiple genres as a producer and post-production supervisor on over 45 feature drama and documentaries including Memory (starring Liam Neeson) and Absolutely Marvellous (featuring heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce).

Paula is co-founder of HaZimation, an animation and gaming company formed with director Haz Dulull. HaZimation’s most recent feature animation (RIFT) is currently premiering at multiple film festivals around the world including SPARK Animation (Canada) and BUFF (UK). Paula is also Vice Chair of the Production Guild’s Northern Ireland Committee.

Crickard is the latest addition to the British Urban Film Festival team, now under the stewardship of director Justin Chinyere which has also announced Muriel Narh as lead script judge, replacing Clare Anyiam-Osigwe who has been directing episodes on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks since August 2022.

Commenting on the announcement, BUFF Festival Director Justin Chinyere said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Paula Crickard as Artistic Director for the British Urban Film Festival. Paula’s experience in the industry and knowledge will definitely help us to push past the ceiling to the next level of where BUFF should be. I’m very excited to see what the future holds and what great ideas we will implement going forward with Paula’s assistance.”

Paula Crickard said: “My first feature Calloused Hands with Andre Royo premiered at BUFF in 2013. Over 30 films later RIFT, my animated feature with HaZ Dulull, premiered here. BUFF grows talent and I am honoured to join the team of such an important film festival. It will be a pleasure to ensure the rest of the world knows what BAFTA and BIFA discovered a while ago, that BUFF is the real deal!”

In her role as Artistic Director, Crickard will assume responsibility for conceiving, developing, and implementing the artistic and commercial vision of BUFF as it approaches its 20th anniversary in 2025.