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EP 514: Oscar-winning Director Steve McQueen

Director Steve McQueen won an Academy Award for Best Picture for telling the dramatic true story of a free African-American who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in his film Twelve Years a Slave. Now he’s addressing a form of racial oppression that hits a lot closer to home for him in a new anthology of films called Small Axe, which collectively captures the lives of London’s West Indian community in the 1970s and ’80s and their force of will against systemic racism and discrimination. Steve McQueen talks about the process of creating five thematically connected but totally different stand-alone movies - each with their own distinct looks, styles, and time periods. He reveals how his own upbringing in London’s West Indian community and the stories he was told by family members laid the groundwork for Small Axe, and he shares how he based one of the films on his own personal experience with racial injustice as a boy in school. He also tells the inspiring tale of the Mangrove 9 who stood up to police harassment in a British court, the true story of the West Indian police officer who tried to change things from within, and why he says that the London Metropolitan Police is still plagued with systemic racism to this day.

Watch Steve McQueen's five-part anthology Small Axe on Amazon Prime TV beginning November 20.


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