Black History Month Film festival opens with a tale of abolition

The Black History Month Film Festival in Portsmouth will be launched on 11th October with a screening of “Harriet”, a 2019 American biographical film about abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Black History Month (BHM) is held every October with the aim to promote knowledge of black history, culture and heritage, and positive contributions of black people to British society. It is an opportunity for everyone to give some time to exploring and expanding our own knowledge of black history.

In support of BHM the University of Portsmouth has collaborated many times with the Portsmouth Film Society (PFS) to put on films which highlight the history of black people, therefore raising awareness and promoting community cohesion. The programme gives free admission to staff and students at the university and the screenings take place in the Guildhall.

University’s Equality and Diversity manager, Dave Small, said “As a university, we’re not only leading in research and innovation, but also on the forefront of promoting diversity and inclusion. We want diversity and inclusion to become part of our DNA.”

Harriet’s story is one of courage and the determination of a woman born into slavery not to accept her fate. This is a film that everyone should see, especially in the wake of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests which started in the United States following the killing of George Floyd by some police officers. The protests spread to other parts of the world and caused a worldwide movement to end violence and aggression against black people. It also raises the profile on police brutality and other forms of oppression against people of colour.

“At PFS we regard film as a medium to support the development of local culture and community. To us it’s important to educate and encourage appreciation for films and diversity. We are most grateful for Portsmouth Guildhall opened their doors for Portsmouth Film Society’s Autumn indoor program. ” said founder of PFS, Aysegul Epengin.

Harriet will be followed by Queen and Slim on Saturday 17th October, and White Riot on Sunday 25th October. The screenings are open to the community and tickets can be purchased from the Portsmouth Film Society’s website or on the door. Due to the popularity of Harriet, organisers are anticipating a sell-out show and would advise people to pre-book their tickets.

More information on programme of activities for Black History Month at the University of Portsmouth, please go to

PFS Autumn program details:

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