It was a night of tears, laughter and celebration at the premiere of Queens of the Commonwealth, where 200 guests were treated to an exclusive viewing of a new emotive documentary by LGK Productions.
In celebration of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, The Heritage Funded documentary features 22 migrant women from across the commonwealth, sharing their inspirational stories for the first time of migrating to Birmingham.
The emotional premiere, held at The Pavilion, Perry Barr on the 9th July, was also attended by the Queens and their families and hosted by ITV News presenter, Suzanne Virdee, who herself, comes from a migrant background.
The premiere was a rollercoaster of emotions, with the Queens of the Commonwealth sharing their tales of their unique journeys to a new and foreign land, with tears and sadness, happiness and laughter. The emotive evening ended with an award presentation from the Director and Producer, Panikos Panayiotou, where each Queen took their turn to make a brief speech to the attendees.
Panikos said: “It’s been amazing to see how women can unite no matter where they’re from and their ability to share universal messages. Credit isn’t due to me; credit is due to the incredible Queens who shared their stories.”
Doulla Koumi of Cyprus said: “From what I’ve seen, it doesn’t matter where we’re from, we’re all beautiful souls.” One particular Queen, who had worked as a bra fitter, had the audience laughing hysterically during her thank you speech, claiming she made her customers “jump up and down” during bra fittings to make sure the bras were a right fit.
Following on from the success of the premiere, the stories of the Queens of the Commonwealth will reach a wider audience, in the form of an art exhibition being held at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, which runs now until 10th September 2022. Held during the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, where thousands of sports fans from all over the world will descend on the UK’s second city, the intriguing art exhibition will showcase portraits of the Queens created by Birmingham-based artists.
Uniquely, each portrait comes with its own bar code, which can be scanned using a smart phone which then plays a short film featuring the migration story of the particular Queen in the portrait. The installation has a secret ballot in, which is raising money for the charity that has produced the project, and also for the artists that have created these masterpieces.
Queens of the Commonwealth will also be showcased as part of the closing ceremony celebrations of the Commonwealth Games. A 20-minute viewing, with various snippets from the documentary, along with a Q&A session with various Queens, will take place in Victoria Square in Birmingham on 8th August 2022.
LGK Productions are currently in talks for a further screening in September and in discussions with mainstream TV for a broadcast slot.