Steve McQueen explains why the film industry needs more bad black-led films

The director and artist spoke during a virtual Esquire Townhouse event.

Sir Steve McQueen has said the film industry will only be in a good place when “crappy” black-led films see regular release.

The 51-year-old director told Esquire UK the release of commercially successful and critically acclaimed films such as Get Out and Black Panther, which both feature black directors and stars, remain a rarity.

Speaking at the virtual Esquire Townhouse event, he said: “Things are rare… (Those films) they have to be super special good for them to come out.

The 90th Academy Awards – Press Room – Los Angeles
Director Jordan Peele with his best original screenplay Oscar for Get Out (Ian West/PA)

“So when we get crappy black films and we don’t think about it, then we’re in a good place.”

The 12 Years A Slave film-maker and Turner Prize-winning artist also said he not yet watched the video of unarmed black man George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

He said: “Black people live in a state of extremes.

“When you’re looking at an image of someone being beaten by the police, by the law, by the establishment and not being reprimanded, not being pulled up on it, not being charged time and time and time again, it does something to you inside.

“Mentally, physically, spiritually, it chips at you and I have not seen the George Floyd tape, I’ve not seen it actually, yet – I say yet, if I ever see it I’m not too sure if I will, I don’t know. Other things I have.

Black Lives Matter protests
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

“It’s the fact that, the pain that these things bring is tremendous, it’s not light. Even if you feel it doesn’t do anything to you, it is doing something to you. This is not a light thing.

“The joy? Pffft, the fact that people have been getting out on the streets, black and white people getting on the street is great, but let’s see where we get to.”

Sir Steve said he hoped the current anti-racism movement prompted real change and not only “symbolic” gestures.

He said: “A man had to die with someone’s knee on his neck for over nine minutes, there had to be a global pandemic, there had to be millions of people marching on the street all over the world for people to think, ‘hmm maybe there’s something wrong here.’

“If I have to do a somersault about a stamp on a Royal Mail envelope? I’m sorry, we want real change. I’m not interested in some kind of symbolic gesture.”

He spoke during Esquire Townhouse at Your House with Breitling.

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