British filmmaker Steve McQueen is one of the most celebrated artistic voices in the landscape of modern cinema, known for his award-winning works such as 12 Years a Slave. Last year, he took the world by storm with his celebrated anthology Small Axe which documented the plight of immigrants from the West Indies living in London during the latter half of the 20th century.
In an interview, McQueen said: “Look around you at what’s happening here – people getting stabbed every day of the month in London and no one seems to give a shit. If they did give a shit, it wouldn’t happen. It happens because it’s seen to be of no great importance. If it was, things would be done against it to prevent it happening.”
Adding, “What I do as an artist is, I think, to do with my own life experience,” he says at one point. “I came of age in a school which was a microcosm of the world around me. One day, you’re together as a group, the next, you are split up by people who think certain people are better than you. It was kind of interesting to observe that.”
McQueen’s latest project was Uprising, a three-part documentary series that conducts a thorough examination of the heightened racial tensions in the UK after the debacles of 1981. Made primarily for BBC, Uprising is also available for interested viewers on other streaming platforms and can be accessed via Amazon Prime.
While discussing his own artistic journey, McQueen said: “I had every obstacle thrown up against me on the way up. And a big part of the reason I am sitting here is because of the people who went before me and made sacrifices. They helped clear the path for me because they made some noise and pushed back against racism – in music, in film, in writing, in debates, in protests. I am sitting here because of them. That’s just a fact.”
Although most details aren’t confirmed yet, McQueen has already moved on to a new project called Blitz and has partnered with his old collaborator New Regency for this. According to reports, it is based on McQueen’s original ideas.