African stories and black protagonists show diversity is on the rise at the 60th London Film Festival. ''A United Kingdom'' is the opening film at the event this year and stars Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo. The movie tells the true story of an African king and white British woman whose marriage triggered a political crisis. Jayson Mansaray reports.
Starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike 'A United Kingdom' is directed by Amma Asante and is the opening movie at the London Film Festival. Oyelowo stars as Seretse Khama, a tribal king who would go on to become the first president of Botswana and focuses on his interracial marriage to a white British woman which had ramifications around the world. Speaking on the eve of the festival Oyelowo said the film's inclusion in the programme was important: SOUNDBITE 'A United Kingdom' Actor, David Oyelowo, saying (English): "The fact that an interracial marriage in a film like this is quite rare is indicative of that fact. In our society those relationships, those marriages are everywhere but you very rarely see them on film." 'A United Kingdom' focuses on the the early years of Seretse marriage to British women Ruth Williams. The interacial union faced opposition from the British government with the Bishop of London, the couple's families and they became targets of a political battle involving South Africa. Ruth Williams is played by "Gone Girl" actress Rosamund Pike - she said despite the challenges she too would follow her heart: SOUNDBITE 'A United Kingdom' Actor, Rosamund Pike, saying (English): "If I had the certainty she had yeah - but if I had any doubts I think the other considerations could have swayed you but I think Ruth, I knew Ruth was searching for something bigger I am not sure she thought she would find it in this shape or form and I don't think she thought it would be through her love her marriage to branch out I think the war had given her an appetite for where women could go in the future..." Also showing at the London Film Festival is Ugandan story 'The Queen of Katwe' - David Oyelowo co-stars in the true story with Lupita N'yongo. And "The Birth of a Nation," the acclaimed drama that tells the story of slave preacher Nat Turner and his role in American history. The 60th BFI London Film Festival runs from the 5-16 October 2016.