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Steve McQueen and Mangrove cast photographed by Misan Harriman to celebate launching LFF 2020

7 October 2020

The BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express has commissioned pioneering photographer, Misan Harriman, to photograph director Steve McQueen and the cast of Mangrove to celebrate the opening of the 64th edition of the London Film Festival. Set against the backdrop of London’s Notting Hill, where the film is set, Harriman has photographed Steve McQueen and cast members Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby and Rochenda Sandall. Mangrove is co-written by Steve McQueen and Alastair Siddons, and having seen a press preview, both Jerry Whyte and Slarek are enthusiastically singing its praises.

Mangrove tells the true story of the Mangrove 9, the group of black activists who clashed with London police during a protest march in 1970 and their highly publicised trial that followed. The trial was the first judicial acknowledgment of behaviour motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police. This August marked the 50th anniversary of the Mangrove March.

McQueen says, “It feels very fitting to have the European premiere of Mangrove as the opening film of the BFI London Film Festival, and to be able to celebrate the triumphs of the case 50 years after the Mangrove March.”

Director and lead cast members of Mangrove, photographed by Misan Harriman

Nigerian born, Harriman is a photographer, creative director and cultural commentator whose strong reportage style has seen him photograph a number of high-profile names. It was his recent striking images of the Black Lives Matter march in London in June that caught the eye of Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, making Harriman the first black person in the 104-year history of British Vogue to shoot the cover of its renowned September issue.

Harriman says, “Activisim in the black community of the UK is nothing new and the story of the Mangrove 9 is a testament to that. It fills me with great honour to have been chosen to shoot Steve McQueen and the cast with the hope that we never forget those that came before us.”

The film, alongside Lovers Rock, also screening at this year’s Festival, is from the Small Axe anthology series which comprises five original films created by Steve McQueen for BBC One. This year, Festival audiences are invited to book tickets to preview Mangrove for free at venues across the UK on Wednesday 7th October ahead of its broadcast on BBC One this autumn. Tickets can be purchased via the BFI website.

Small Axe has been executive produced by Tracey Scoffield and David Tanner for Turbine Studios and Steve McQueen for Lammas Park. Mike Elliot is producing for EMU Films with Turbine and Anita Overland. The executive producers for the BBC are Lucy Richer, Senior Commissioning Editor for Drama and Rose Garnett, Director of BBC Film. Amazon Studios is co-producing within the US. BBC Studios are the international distributors and are handling global television sales.

Small Axe will premiere on BBC One and iPlayer this autumn and air on Amazon Prime Video in the US.

The 64th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express runs from 7th-18th October.