The five shorts explore the impact of the killing on Black Britons and are by Black British filmmakers. The films, under the series title “Take Your Knee Off My Neck,” will air weeknights on Channel 4, its streaming service All 4 and its social channels beginning Monday.
The films include “My First Time,” which records testimonies from people who recall the first time they were racially abused; “The Shadow of Slavery,” where Western Europe’s first elected Black mayor and protesters from Bristol discuss the impact of the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue; a short with the working title “The Next Step With George the Poet,” where Peabody prize-winner George the Poet invites the audience to reimagine and redesign the future post George Floyd; an as-yet untitled short looking at the experiences of Black and minority ethnic doctors and nurses in the National Health Service who have suffered racism; and another untitled short comparing comedic skits from the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s with related comedy today.
The films were commissioned by Channel 4 head of specialist factual, Fatima Salaria, and commissioning editors are Rita Daniels and Sacha Mirzoeff. They are produced by Milk and Honey.
Daniels said: “These five films are powerful responses to the events created by the killing of George Floyd, but what a shame we are still having this discussion 55 years after Martin Luther King marched from Selma to Montgomery.”
Mirzoeff said: “These were designed as films of protest, not films about protest. There’s no greater international issue out there and it felt key to respond quickly. Milk and Honey has worked around the clock to make films of the highest quality which do not flinch from some painful truths.”
Channel 4 has committed to spend half of its remaining 2020 origination and development budget on small indies focused on Black and Minority Ethnic issues.