Clare Anyiam-Osigwe joins elite list of Black British female directors to secure UK cinema distribution


Having become the first Black British female to be honoured by the Queen for services to dermatology in 2017, Clare Anyiam-Osigwe will join another illustrious list next month when she becomes the 6th Black British female director in history to have a feature film released in UK cinemas with her debut feature, ‘No Shade‘ on Friday the 2nd of November.

Today’s announcement follows the successful premiere of the film in Cannes, Washington and London where it opened this year’s British Urban Film Festival (BUFF). Written & directed by Anyiam-Osigwe, the award-winning dermatologist puts colourism and the problematic nature of skin-tone preference in the spotlight.

Historians have to go back over 2 decades to find the first Black British female director to have secured UK cinema distribution – a revelation in itself given that British cinema has had a storied history going back over a century.

In 1995, Ngozi Onwurah secured a release for ‘Welcome II the Terrordome‘ and was seen as a trailblazer in the industry. Many hoped that this marked the beginning of additional opportunities for black female directors. British audiences had to wait nine years for history to repeat itself, with the 2004 UK theatrical release of Amma Asante’s BAFTA award-winning debut, ‘A Way of Life‘.

It was another nine years before Asante directed her sophomore feature, ‘Belle‘ (2013), followed 3 years later by ‘A United Kingdom‘ (2016). 2014 saw the release of ‘Gone Too Far‘, directed by Destiny Ekaragha and in 2015, British audiences saw Debbie Tucker Green become the 4th Black British female director to have a release with ‘Second Coming’.

Last year saw the release of BAFTA award-winning ‘I Am Not a Witch‘ by Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni. Anyiam-Osigwe (born in Islington) completes the list of 6 and will be releasing ‘No Shade’ in selected cinemas nationwide from November the 2nd.