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Filmmaker Corine Dhondee travelled to Atlanta, supported by the British Council, to attend BronzeLens Film Festival.
My short film Bradford Young: Cinema Is The Weapon (2019) explores the Oscar and Bafta nominated cinematographer's earlier works.
Bradford Young comes from a distinguished line of African American cinematographers including Ernest Dickerson, Malik Sayeed and Arthur Jafa. He is at the forefront of contemporary cinema both in the visual range of his storytelling and in inspiring young Black cinematographers across the globe.
Cinema is The Weapon was selected to screen at BronzeLens in Atlanta, a film festival dedicated to nurturing and supporting black filmmakers and, thanks to a Short Film Festival Travel Grant from the British Film Council, I was able to attend.
The BronzeLens Film Festival (BLFF) is held in August the week before Labor Day. Over five days screenings, workshops, special events and brunches are held in the historical city of Atlanta. My connection to Black American culture, arts and philosophies began through novels, music, films and, much later, academic studies where I studied bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins, and the writings of Martin Luther King to name a few. So travelling to Atlanta as custodian of a film about Bradford Young had great significance to me.
I’m currently writing up a doc series celebrating African American filmmakers and another about some of the great black British women in film and television. At the end of the year I will be shooting a short I wrote based on an interview I did with a woman whose brother died in custody. Hearing Raymond Santana and Yusuf Salaam speak at the BronzeLens Brothers Brunch about When They See Us (2019), how Ava DuVernay worked with them and their visions for the future was uplifting and a fitting way for me to end the festival.