July 22, 2024

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Pioneering British Black filmmaker Horace Ové has died, his family has announced. He was 86.

His son Zak posted on social media: “Our loving father Horace, took his last breath at 4.30 this morning, while sleeping peacefully. I hope his spirit is free now after many years of suffering with Alzheimer’s. You are forever missed, and forever loved. Rest in Peace Pops, and thank you for everything.”

Ové directed Pressure (1976), the first full-length Black British film, an exploration of the concerns of the emerging second-generation West Indians in Britain.

Born in Trinidad in 1936, Ové moved to London in 1960 where he studied interior design. He worked as an extra on the big-budget Cleopatra (1963) and studied at the London Film School. 

He directed short film The Art of the Needle (1966), followed by documentary short Baldwin’s N***** (1968), following a visit to the UK by author and activist James Baldwin. His film Reggae (1971) explored Black music and reggae in the UK.

Other works included: A Hole in Babylon (1979), The Garland (1981) and Playing Away (1985), and documentaries including Dabbawallahs (1985), and Who Shall We Tell? (1985) 

Ové is credited with inspiring a generation of Black British filmmakers and artists, He was knighted in 2022 for his services to British cinema and media. The same year, the Film and TV Charity named a new grant after him, with the aim of helping people from ethnic minority backgrounds navigate their way through the industry.

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