Launched at the BFI the UK Muslim Film Charity will call for authentic Muslim representation.
UK Muslim Film will advise the entertainment industry on how to better represent Muslims on screen and support, nurture, and fund projects from emerging storytellers. The BFI event featured film and TV executives including Daragh Carville, creator, and writer of ITV’s The Bay
Sajid Varda, Founder, and CEO of UK Muslim Film says: “UK Muslim Film was created as a response to my many years of working within the industry both in front of and behind the camera and realising that Muslims need to be represented at all levels, in writer’s rooms, and as commissioners… The lack of representation also impacts the types of stories that are told leading to more content based on negative stereotypes which impact Muslims adversely on a daily basis.
“There are many talented Muslim creatives from the Muslim community and from other underrepresented groups that find it hard to get a foothold into the industry. We want to change this. Our aim is to encourage greater understanding and engagement between the Muslim and wider community, finding what connects us, and to advise the industry on better authenticity in productions.
“We would like to thank the BFI for being at the forefront of bringing greater change within the industry and to our friends at the Riz Test for presenting their ground-breaking analysis on Muslim portrayals on-screen over the last 120 years“.
Sajid Varda was the first Muslim character to appear on BBC One’s Byker Grove covering a ground-breaking storyline around racism and was galvanised to change the industry after an experience making the multi-award-winning film The Chop.
“With the box office successes of Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians and with Netflix’s Bridgerton watched by over 82 million households since Christmas, audiences are demanding diverse stories. It makes commercial sense to invest in representative characters.“
The BFI’s Head of Inclusion, Jen Smith, said: “I am delighted to be supporting UK Muslim Film and for the BFI to be hosting this event today. What we do in the screen industry matters. Imagery is persuasive. We are committed to supporting organisations that are helping to diversify what we see on screen and who gets to tell their stories“.
“By expanding our industry to be more inclusive to Muslims and exploring intersectionality within Muslim communities we get to tap into more audience growth and global markets as well as a richness of creativity.”