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Guardian documentary The Black Cop wins a BAFTA

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

Guardian documentary The Black Cop wins a BAFTA
Katharine Viner: “I’m delighted that the Guardian’s global platform played a part in helping Gamal’s story reach audiences.”

Directed and produced by Cherish Oteka, and produced by Emma Cooper, The Black Cop triumphed at the 75th British Academy Film Awards, winning the British Short Film category at a ceremony held in the Royal Albert Hall, London (Sunday 13 March).

The Black Cop is the first Guardian Documentary to win a BAFTA Film Award. It follows recent Guardian Documentaries success with Colette, which won an Oscar last year for best documentary short, and an Oscar nomination in 2019 for Black Sheep. The Black Cop’s executive producers for the Guardian are Ekaterina Ochagavia and Jess Gormley, and Lisa Marie Russo for the BFI Doc Society Fund. The commissioning editor is Lindsay Poulton, the Guardian’s head of documentaries.

The Black Cop, available to watch on the Guardian website now, 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, says the Guardian. Now an openly gay man, Turawa’s story is a multi-layered one 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: “Winning a BAFTA Film Award means the world to me and is a huge collective win for the many underrepresented communities that The Black Cop speaks to as well as the entire team that brought this film to life. It’s so heart-warming that audiences have connected with The Black Cop in such a meaningful way and winning best short film is more than I could ever have hoped for. A massive thank you to the teams at The Guardian and the BFI Doc Society Fund for believing in the idea and supporting me throughout the journey.”

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, Guardian News & Media says: “This award from BAFTA is a huge achievement, and a tribute to the talented filmmakers who have produced such a powerful and stirring documentary. I’m delighted that the Guardian’s global platform played a part in helping Gamal’s story reach audiences. The Black Cop is the Guardian’s first BAFTA Film Award and joins several other award-winning short films in our acclaimed Guardian Documentaries strand. Congratulations to all involved.”

Lindsay Poulton, head of documentaries, Guardian News & Media, says: “I’m thrilled that The Black Cop has received this recognition from BAFTA and am proud that Guardian Documentaries was able to support Cherish and the filmmakers to tell this important story of identity and acceptance. The Guardian has been at the forefront of commissioning ambitious short form documentaries for audiences around the world, and The Black Cop is a great reflection of our wide-ranging 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: “We are over the moon that The Black Cop has won the BAFTA Short Film Award, in a category with stiff competition from fiction and doc titles. It is a testament to the power of the genre, and the filmmaking talent of director Cherish Oteka and producer Emma Cooper, who tell an urgent and engaging story, which speaks to our time. And many thanks to Gamal Turawa for speaking truth to power.”

The Black Cop has screened at Raindance, 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.


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