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Does it make any difference who makes programmes?
You don’t ever want to get to the position where you think that you
can’t do anything unless it is written by somebody of that race or
class or creed, because I think that is wrong. Just that they really
know and understand or research what it is that they are doing,
that’s all, and that, no matter where you want to take it, the
foundation is based in some truth. - Producer
It’s about the tone and the choices you make. It’s where you’re
coming from and where your heart beats. You can do the research
but you then have to let go of objectification, then it will become
something. I think you can foster that, you can develop those skills.
It’s also about writers developing themselves and finding out about
themselves. - Writer
It is difficult, I think it depends on their background. I think there
are some White people that could write authentic Black characters,
for example. But there are some people that I suspect will never
have sat down and had a meal with someone of a different race or
colour, they have never been in their home or, in fact, they have
never had somebody different in their home. If you have never had
that experience then, forgive me, but what the hell do you know? -
Do people from minorities bring anything different to a
Some of my interviewees had not considered this question before and started to
look back at their work to identify whether they could ascribe a creative or
editorial decision to their cultural background or knowledge. Others were very
clear of their distinctive ability to look with a “different lens” at stories and
situations. They felt they brought a different sensibility, made different
connections and reached the parts where other programme-makers couldn’t.
Most came up with examples of where they had brought something distinctive to
a production because of their particular cultural knowledge and experience.
? Drawing on different sources of knowledge, experience and motivation
Several interviewees described the richness and variety of their own life
experiences that they brought into their work which was different from that of
their peers.
Drama director Alrick Riley described how his film making career started in the
London streets where he was brought up, but also how he drew on the influences
of a wide variety of directors from Martin Scorcese to Euzhan Palcy, whose films
Black Shack Alley and To Sleep with Anger gave him a powerful alternative role
model. At film school he felt being Black gave him an advantage because he
could tell stories that no-one else was telling, in a way that no-one else was
telling them.
Being black, some people will see as a disadvantage, but I see as an
advantage. So, I am at Film School and I am looking at all the good
films that everyone else is making and I am sure as hell not making
anything like that! When you are in an institution, you can lose
touch. You kind of get into a way of film-making that is actually very
similar to your contemporaries at Film School so everyone starts to
make similar-ish type of films. I was bringing a wider perspective.