Globe, Migrants, Multiculture, Screen, United Kingdom

But where are you really from?

This is the name of a three-part series of short film screenings and workshops by mixed heritage filmmakers, celebrating films and generating conversation on identity, heritage labels, language, significance of names and the “good immigrant” trope.


Mandla Rea in as “British as a watermelon”. Photo provided the press of  Tape Collective.

The multicultural work is the creation of Tape Collective who, before a UK-wide screening tour,  launched their series at the Barbican Cinema on 20 October.

“But where are you really from?” invites the audience to redefine, reject and re-establish notions of belonging. It can do so because its creators are filmmakers of Zimbabwean, British, Bolivian, Algerian, Venezuelan, Trinidad, Canadian heritage, to name a few of many multitudes.

Cross-arts events bolster these dynamic screenings with workshops and performances including live music, spoken word and panels. UK Cinemas across the regions have partnered with Tape Collective to offer engaging and memorable events to welcome audiences back over the autumn season.

The curated selection includes new work from international and regional, award-winning filmmakers and actors who delve into personal experiences and question perspectives with humour and sincerity.

“But where are you really from?” collates conversations about belonging and the intersections of identity, collaborating with local independent venues to bring about a national dialogue whilst spotlighting new talent.

The first programme The good immigrant explores the “good immigrant” trope experienced by refugees, and children of immigrants where acceptance is afforded those deemed best behaved. The films in the programme offers a look at shaping an identity beyond labels and an emergence from generational and ancestral trauma.

Whether it is learning or losing a language, the second programme Trippin’ over my tongue looks at the barriers raised when the mother tongue is not as fluent as we want, or the words simply slip away.

It is an experience not uncommon within a diaspora to have your name viewed as too foreign or exotic, and subject to either whitewashing or clumsy – and sustained – mispronunciation. Expanding on the theme the final programme Call me by my name looks at the wider ideas of labels and definitions of identity and heritage.

Following events at the Barbican Cinema on 20 Oct (The Good Immigrant), 8 Dec (Trippin’ over my tongue) and 26 Jan (Call Me By My Name), “But where are you really from?” goes on tour. The season will also include special events in Cardiff, Glasgow, and Birmingham whilst more venues across the UK begin to book the programmes as part of their cultural offering (TBA).

Highlights of the season include: What’s in a name directed by Runyararo Mapfumo who has recently directed multiple episodes of Netflix’s hit show Sex Education. The short was commissioned as part of An Uncertain Kingdom, aiming to provide a unique and contemporary portrait of the UK, following Mapfumo’s previous work, which has been featured at the BFI London Film Festival, on BBC and Google Arts.

As British as a watermelon is the latest project from Manchester based mandla rae, which enjoyed success in last year at Queer Contact in Manchester and Edinburgh’s Fringe of Colour, where it was recommended by the Guardian.

More information: Barbican and

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