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Welcome to the British Black Pack web site where you will learn more about the work of the three Black British cinema artists connected to the controversial new film, "SHOOT THE MESSENGER."

Shoot The Messenger is the controversial new film directed by award winning film-maker Ngozi Onwurah, written by Sharon Foster, recipient of the 2004 Dennis Potter Screenwriter’s Award. Together, Onwurah and Foster dare to tackle the sacred cow of Black accountability for some of the problems that beset and impede the Black British community’s progress.

The story is told through the eyes of Joe Pascale (Oyelowo), a Black man on a mission.

Joe believes he has discovered the solutions that could save his people. He quits his high paying, high tech job and embarks on a career as ‘Education Enforcer’ in an inner city high school. The only problem is that the very kids he has come to ‘save’ hate him. One of them, Germal, accuses him of assault. The situation rapidly escalates out of control. The police are called, the case goes to trial and the media run with the story.

The black community believe Germal’s version of events. Joe is branded a race traitor and a vitriolic campaign is mounted against him. Unable to deal with the situation he finds himself in, Joe rapidly descends into his own bizarre world of madness, hatred and biblical curses.

This is your opportunity to meet the artists behind this provocative new film from the UK, which will receive its debut International screening at the Tribeca Film Festival, April 26 thru Friday May 5, 2006.

Produced by the BBC, this in-your-face film narrative is being hailed as a “…brave and provocative drama.” Love it or hate it, “Shoot the Messenger,” is destined to provoke heated debate about the perceived intra-racial challenges that impede Black progress and the fall-out from well meaning, but sometimes poorly-thought out solutions employed by progressive Blacks whose only desire is to "save our people."


Ngozi Onwurah, Director

Click here for complete history of Onwurah screenings & Awards

Shoot the Messenger.
Well known within the international independent cinema circle for her fiercely innovative and edgy film work, filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah manges that rare feat of successfully traversing the independent film sector and mainstream television. In the UK, Onwurah is known for her directorial work on the top British TV drama series Heartbeat. Within the world of independent Black cinema, Onwurah received critical acclaim for her prize winning feature, Welcome II the Terrordome, which she both wrote and directed.

Sometimes edgy, Welcome To The Terrordome (1996), other times humorous, I Bring You Frankincense (1996), Onwurah tackles the clashes and ironies of the gulf separating black and white while showing that no matter what one's skin color may be, basic human emotions of fear, hate, love, jealously and indifference are universal.

Onwurah's films have won prizes at the Berlin Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, and the NBPC.

SHARON FOSTER: Screen Writer
Shoot the Messenger
Screen Writer Sharon Foster is a recipient of the UK’s highly prestigious Dennis Potter Screenwriting Award (2004), which recognizes artists’ singular talent and personal vision. As a dramatic writer, Foster has an impressive body of work behind her, which led to the BBC commissioning her script, Shoot the Messenger as part of its mission and commitment to showcase the work of talented new artists.

Foster has written and directed for British stage, radio and television including: writer, Pulse (2004-2005); writer for pilot drama Shirley,(2003); writer, Baby Father (2002); writer, comedy series, Get Up, Stand Up (1994-1995); and she directed the film short, Home Sweet Home (2005). Shoot the Messenger is Foster’s first commissioned feature film script.
(See photo below)

Shoot the Messenger
As an actor, David Oyelowo is used to stirring things up. In 2000 he made history when he became the first black actor to portray an English monarch for the Royal Shakespeare Company in the title role of the production Henry VI. His performance in this production earned him the Ian Charleson Award in 2001 for best newcomer and outstanding performance in a classical play.

Oyelowo is well known to British television audiences in his roles as the character Danny Hunter in the TV MI5 spy series Spooks (2004) and the critically acclaimed drama Tomorrow La Scala (2002). He will appear in two highly anticipated films this year, playing Orlando in Kenneth Branagh’s As You Like It and starring alongside Forrest Whittaker in Kevin Macdonald’s The Last King of Scotland. He is also linked to a radical film project in development by writer-director Dominic Savage, which explores aspects of poverty, race, class and inequality.
(See photo below)

Sharon Foster, Screen Writer

David Oyelowo, Lead Actor

Check out more film work by Onwurah

Shoot The Messenger (promo pix)

For press inquiries contact:

Screening Times: 
Wednesday, April 26 at 6:45 pm in Loews 34th Street 10 
Sunday, April 30 at 9:30 pm in Loews Lincoln Square 01 
Monday, May 1 at 12:30 pm in Loews Lincoln Square 05  
Friday, May 5 at 8:00 pm in Loews Village 02

Shoot the Messenger 
Directed by Ngozi Onwurah 
United Kingdom 
Section: International Narrative Feature Competition (90 min) 
International Premiere

Tickets: $12


Buy Tribeca Film Festival Tickets for SHOOT THE MESSENGER Now!