Pioneering director Horace Ove given knighthood in New Year Honours

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  • Horace Ové
    British photographer and filmmaker
Pioneering director Horace Ove has been given a knighthood in the New Year Honours (Kaz Ove/PA)
Pioneering director Horace Ove has been given a knighthood in the New Year Honours (Kaz Ove/PA)

Pioneering director Horace Ove has said his knighthood is “testament to how far we have come and in many respects how far we still have to go” after being recognised in the New Year Honours.

The 82-year-old, who was born in Trinidad is credited by Guinness World Records as being the first black British film-maker to direct a feature-length picture, with Pressure in 1976.

He becomes a knight for services to media.

Pioneering director Horace Ove given knighthood in New Year Honours (Sal Idris/PA)
Pioneering director Horace Ove given knighthood in New Year Honours (Sal Idris/PA)

His ground-breaking debut depicts the life of London teenager Tony who joins the Black Power movement in the 1970s.

It was held back from release by the British Film Institute (BFI) before later receiving critical acclaim.

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.”

Pioneering director Horace Ove given knighthood in New Year Honours (Annabelle Alcazar/Horace Ovè archive/PA)
Pioneering director Horace Ove given knighthood in New Year Honours (Annabelle Alcazar/Horace Ovè archive/PA)

He began his directing career in the 1960s after arriving in London from his Caribbean home.

He directed short films The Art Of The Needle in 1966 and Baldwin’s Nigger in 1969.

He is also noted for his BBC documentary Reggae in 1970, which explored the musical genre, and 1979’s A Hole In Babylon, which tells the story of the 1975 Spaghetti House Siege – a botched robbery in London’s Knightsbridge.

He is credited by Guinness World Records as being the first black British film-maker to direct a feature-length picture.
He is credited by Guinness World Records as being the first black British film-maker to direct a feature-length picture.

In 2018 he received the Special Jury Prize at the British Independent Film Awards.

The judges said: “Ove 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.”

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