TT film director and photographer Horace Ové. – Photo courtesy TTFF
Trinidadian filmmaker Horace Ové was knighted in the UK’s annual New Year Honours on Friday becoming a knight for services to media.
Ové, 82, is credited by Guinness World Records as being the first black British filmmaker to direct a feature-length film, Pressure, in 1976.
It told the story of London teenager, Tony, who joins the Black Power movement in the 1970s. It was banned for two years by the British Film Institute (BFI) before it later received critical acclaim.
In 2007 the director, writer and photographer, he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to the film industry, and in 2018 he received the Special Jury Prize at the British Independent Film Awards.
According to the UK Evening Standard, the judges said, “Ové may (regretfully) not be a household name but, as the man whom the Guinness Book of Records credits as the first black British film-maker to direct a feature film, his contribution to cinema in the UK has certainly been significant.
“In a year where Windrush has been plastered across newspaper headlines, it seems fitting that the jury have chosen to honour one of the generation’s proudest voices.”
Ové was also honoured at the 2021 TT Film Festival in September when it hosted a retrospective of his films including Playing Away, and King Carnival, Ové’s love letter to Trinidad Carnival.
In a statement to the PA news agency, Sir Horace said, “I’m greatly honoured to receive this recognition for my work.
“Chronicling the lives, battles, art and culture of the African and Caribbean diaspora in Britain and around the world has been a lifelong journey and passion.
“This award is testament to how far we have come and in many respects how far we still have to go. One love.”
Ové, who grew up in Belmont, went to London in the 1960 to attend art school. He took a detour to Rome to work on film productions, and later returned to England to attend film school.
His first film was a short film called The Art Of The Needle in 1966. Since then there have been many short, feature, and documentary films, mostly with black themes, including Baldwin’s Nigger in 1969, the BBC documentary Reggae in 1970, and A Hole In Babylon in 1979.