Screen and Film School Brighton second-year student Lauren Louise reflects on the challenges she has faced as a biracial woman in the film industry, and the development of the Film in Colour Society- a place of unity for minority students within the film school community.
Break The Table
I am a student at Screen and Film School Brighton and like many of my peers, I find myself filled with all these hopes and desires for my life. Filmmaking is the passion, as I am sure it is for many of the people that go here.
Except, for me, I find myself idled by the very prospects of my being. As a bisexual biracial woman, the climb to the top feels a lot like sinking in quicksand. Though I feel film school has treated me equally alongside my peers it can often feel alienating to be the odd one out in the room. A feeling I did not think many others my age felt. So I kept to the side-lines, because after years upon years of never seeing myself reflected on television or in the movies I loved to watch, I began to wonder if the film industry was ever going to have a place for someone like me. My whole life I have felt like I was falling between two chairs. Never sure where I belonged. So being in a predominantly white, male industry I started to feel hopeless like maybe my dreams were impossible to reach; especially if I wanted to be myself.
Following the increased attention on the Black Lives Matter movement, this all changed for me. One of the black members of staff Yinka Moore, part of the student support team, reached out to the POC students and offered us a place of refuge that would soon become known as the ‘Film in Colour society’. It was like someone had reached out a hand to pull me from the quicksand. Sure they were the same – weighted down by a society that did little to stop the systemic oppression that we faced, but at least we were marching through the quicksand together this time and right now that is all I could ask for.
Just knowing there is a place of unity for minority students within the film school makes me feel like I am not alone. Like I can achieve my dreams, especially if we do it together. The Film in Colour society is a group of BAME students who get together weekly to discuss how we can better impact the world around us. Starting with making the film school more diverse in its teaching and syllabus’, which Screen and Film School have been very supportive and encouraging with, promising to do better. The Film in Colour society also aims to aid our local Brighton community by using the power of film in unison with other BLM Charities to help them reach a wider platform.
I think it’s kind of funny how unity stems from the word community, because it is quite right that without people who resemble yourself, who share the same experiences and wants in life, the journey to the top is going to feel very alone and could have detrimental effects on mental health, especially when mental health issues are more common among ethnic minorities.
For any future students looking to enter the film industry, I encourage you wholeheartedly to do so, because if there is not a seat for you at the table, you break the damn table and together build a place of unity and acceptance for the future generations to come together and that is what I feel like we are doing at Screen and Film School.
At Screen and Film School, we believe it is not enough to be a part of the conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement; we need to be a part of the action.
The current climate of change following on from the global protests has created within us reflection and determination to do better.