Guardian documentary The Black Cop nominated for BAFTA Film Award

The Black Cop, a short film commissioned by Guardian Documentaries and supported by the BFI Doc Society Fund (awarding National Lottery funding), has been nominated for a BAFTA Film Award.

Guardian documentary The Black Cop nominated for BAFTA Film Award
Cherish Oteka: “My work aims to provide a platform for often-marginalised communities to tell their stories on their terms.”

Announced yesterday, The Black Cop has been revealed as one of the five films nominated in the British Short Film category at the 75th British Academy Film Awards. The winners of the 2022 BAFTA Film Awards will be announced on Sunday 13 March.

This is the first time a Guardian-commissioned documentary has been nominated for a BAFTA Film Award. The nomination from BAFTA follows on from the success of several other Guardian documentaries, including Colette that won the best short documentary Oscar last year and Black Sheep, which made the Oscar shortlist in 2019.

The Black Cop, which is free to watch on the Guardian website, is an intimate portrait of Gamal 'G' Turawa, an ex-Metropolitan police officer, who explores his memories of racially profiling and harassing Black people and homophobia in his early career. Now an openly gay man, Turawa’s story is a multi-layered one, says the Guardian, and sits in the centre of three pivotal moments in recent British history, from the Black communities’ resistance of oppressive policing, to the push for LGBTQIA equality and the aftermath of the west African 'farming' phenomenon, where white families took care of Black children outside the remit of local authorities.

Cherish Oteka, director and producer of The Black Cop, says: “It is a huge honour to have this important and nuanced story recognised by BAFTA. My work aims to provide a platform for often-marginalised communities to tell their stories on their terms. I have made documentaries that explore identity, discrimination, and institutional bias, but never through the lens of someone who sits on all sides of the conversation. In one person and one story we present a villain, victim and hero and begin to understand the potential that we all have in being any one of these, even all three. It has been heart-warming to see The Black Cop connecting with audiences in this way.”

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, Guardian News & Media says: “It’s wonderful to see this complex and important story resonate with audiences and for the Guardian’s documentary to be recognised by BAFTA. The nomination is a real honour and a testament to the talented team behind this powerful film.”

Lindsay Poulton, head of documentaries, Guardian News & Media, says: “At the Guardian, we are always looking for surprising routes into important, contemporary stories. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to support this story of identity and acceptance, and are proud of the creative and thoughtful documentary that Cherish and the filmmakers have created. It has been a pleasure to witness this film spark insightful conversations at film festivals all over the world and receive this recognition from BAFTA. The Black Cop is a reflection of the Guardian’s documentary strand, helping to bring different perspectives and new ways of thinking to compelling and vital journalism.”

Lisa Marie Russo. executive producer for the BFI Doc Society Fund, says: “The BFI Doc Society Fund champions diverse voices and creative approaches to documentary storytelling. The Fund is delighted that this dynamic and deeply original film continues to strike a chord with audiences and now, Bafta voters. Congrats to director/producer Cherish Oteka and producer Emma Cooper for the nomination in this super competitive category, which includes both documentary and fiction films.”

The Black Cop has been screened at Raindance Film Festival, British Shorts Film Festival, Aesthetic Short Film Festival, Out On Film, Atlanta’s International LGBTQ Film Festival, The Pan African Film & Arts Festival, American Black Film Festival, and Leeds International Film Festival.

The Black Cop is directed by Cherish Oteka and produced by Emma Cooper. Executive producers for the Guardian are Ekaterina Ochagavia and Jess Gormley, and for the BFI Doc Society Fund is Lisa Marie Russo. The commissioning editor is Lindsay Poulton.

A full list of the 2022 BAFTA Film Award nominations can be found here.

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