28 October 2013 12:00 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Belle director and stars discuss their frustration with women’s portrayal in the media and both new opportunities and ongoing challenges for black actors.

After Belle’s standing ovation at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Screen sat down with director Amma Asante and stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Sam Reid to discuss the period-drama’s strong message about female agency.

Belle is as much about gender as it is about status and class,” acknowledges director Asante.

“These are the subjects that interest me as a filmmaker. There’s still a need to talk about them and throw them out there.”

Inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (played by Touch star Mbatha-Raw), Asante’s sophomore feature charts the trials and tribulations of the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral in late 18th Century England.

The Toronto premiere, picked up by Fox Searchlight for most of the world, is set against »

- andreas.wiseman@screendaily.com (Andreas Wiseman)

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