Sir Horace Ové, Visionary British Filmmaker, Dies at 86

He directed the first full-length Black British film, “Pressure,” in 1976

A man with deep brown skin wears an open-collar black shirt, in front of ivy on a building. He has dark gray hair.
Horace Ové (Georgia Popplewell/Flickr – Creative Commons)

Director Horace Ové, who directed “Pressure” — the first full-length Black British movie — has died at the age of 86. His death was confirmed by his son, Zak, who wrote on Facebook Saturday, “Our loving father Horace, took his last breath at 4.30 this morning, while sleeping peacefully.”

He continued, “I hope his spirit is free now after many years of suffering with Alzheimer’s. You are forever missed, and forever loved. Rest in Peace Pops, and thank you for everything.”

Ové was born in Trinidad and moved to London in 1960. He also spent time living in Rome, where he worked as an extra before returning to the United Kingdom in 1965. As a photographer, he captured portraits of some of the foremost leaders of the British Black Power movement, including Michael X, Darcus Howe and Stokely Carmichael.

His transition into filmmaking happened at the same time, first with the short “The Art of the Needle” (1966) and then 1971’s “Reggae,” the first documentary to explore British Black music and reggae. In addition to “Pressure,” his credits include “The Garland,” “Playing Away” and “Who Shall We Tell?” He was knighted in 2022 for his contributions to British cinema and filmmaking.