T A P E is a collective fighting for a more inclusive film industry. They are hosting a free pop up exhibition, CEREMONY, on Saturday 24th October, with moving image, photography and illustrations, plus a market, with all work by Black creatives and creators.
We talk to founders Angie Moneke and Isra Al Kassi to find out more.
Firstly, how was your lockdown?
Isra: I was very fortunate to be able to work from home during lockdown, while home schooling at the same time had its own difficulties, it was nice to be at home with my son. It also offered me the head space and opportunities which has led to us focusing on T A P E more and taking it to the next level.
Angie: It was a little chaotic at first. I work for a film company and we were busy (sadly) putting our productions on hiatus. A couple of them are back on the road now, which is great – though it continues to be a really unstable time for the arts industry. But besides the general anxiety of everything going on in the world, it was actually nice to have some space during lockdown to do things at a different pace. And in terms of friends & family, it feels like we’ve never worked harder to stay connected, which was quite beautiful.
Tell us all about TAPE – how did you come together and what do you do?
We all met as Young Programmers at the Barbican in 2013 and we went on to found T A P E in 2015 as a response to the lack of representation on screen; wanting to platform and highlight the sheer variety of under-served films we know are out there. We decided to bring exciting screenings to a South London audience (where we’re based), championing the forgotten could-be cult films of the festival circuit and programmes of women of colour both behind and in front of the camera. At the time, Isra was running a community hub in Streatham and we’d already bonded over our shared desire to set up a cinema one day, so we thought we’d start by curating events, wherever we could get someone to give us the space to. Our very first screening was in the back room of a tiny cafe in Peckham – it was so DIY (literally lugging a suitcase with a borrowed projector and cables down Rye Lane) and quite removed from the scale of events we run now, but it was amazing. We had a little party after with our audience and some themed cocktails, and it felt like the beginning of a long on-going celebration of film.
Over the years we’ve curated a number of well rounded screenings bringing together film, art, music, talks and more into one space and events with a focus on culture, identity, heritage and stories from diasporas.
We have also produced two zine issues: the first one called They Thought We Were Token, casting a lens on the history of tokenism of people of colour in cinema, and the second issue, Moon Sisters, taking a look at the representation of periods in cinema.
Since starting with a public domain film in that community cafe, we have now expanded to delivering talks on diversity and inclusion in the industry. We are also launching a short film streaming platform called GOOD WICKEDRY on the 14th October, commissioning written content by marginalised voices, and continuing to deliver exciting film programmes which focus on heritage and identity.
You are connected to Catford Mews. How so?
Isra: I was part of the launch of Catford Mews, and its successful first year of being open. I did the programming, oversaw the membership journey, events and marketing and recently left the role to focus on the very exciting future of T A P E.
What can visitors expect on Saturday 24th Oct at CEREMONY?
We very keen to offer an event which would encourage engagement and, like most of our events, introduce attendees to some excellent work and art which they may not have come across before. We also wanted to offer an opportunity to directly support local black creators which is why CEREMONY is more than an exhibition – it will also have a select few sellers in the venue where art and handmade crafts will be available to purchase. The exhibition part will be a mix of moving image, photography and illustrations.
Are you hosting or visiting any other events as part of Black History Month?
We are part of Brixton Village’s Crossover events, taking place in their new contemporary arts space, which sees a new collective host a screening every Tuesday in October. We’ll be screening the classic horror film TALES FROM THE HOOD and have put out a call out for short film submissions to be screened before the feature. We can’t wait to showcase the shorts to a wider audience – you can find out more about it here.
What titles would be on your lists of the best short films of all time?
Atlantics – Mati Diop’s short film about migration which preceded her incredible fantasy/thriller feature version of the same name
Masterpiece by Runyararo Mapfumo – just a breezy, funny and sharp look at black male joy and friendships
What does the rest of 2020 and 2021 hope for TAPE?
We’re really excited to be working on our streaming platform GOOD WICKEDRY, an online cinema platform driven by carefully considered curation of short films. Every week we’ll upload one film with an accompanying article or essay.
We want to cut through the noise of excessive content by highlighting one great thing at a time – bold & invigorating choices with diversity of content so audiences can experience a rich tapestry of cinematic offerings. It will open people up to filmmakers they may not have heard of, who have created unique kinds of art that they may not have experienced before. We want this variety will build a stronger and more nuanced, but also universal, picture of the make-up of our cinematic world.
We hope to be building on our mission of creating a collaborative creative space and are working on a number of seasons and projects delivered in collaboration with a wide range of creatives, venues and organisations. More importantly, we’re looking to champion fair pay, representation and diversity in the industry.
With our vast experience in exhibition and production we are also looking to produce and distributes films and are lucky to be surrounded with such talented people who can collaborate with to deliver more exciting work in 2021.
Don’t miss TAPE presents Ceremony on Saturday 24th October, 11-5pm, at the Mansion. Free entry.