Limelight founder from Aldgate elected to City of London Corporation
- Credit: City Corp
The man who launched Britain’s prestigious Limelight film awards in London’s East End after changing his life from a school ‘drop out’ to a successful film-maker is now taking on the City of London.
Munsur Ali, 38, was inaugurated today at the The Guildhall as a member of the exclusive Court of Common Council that governs the Square Mile.
It follows his election last Thursday for the City’s Portsoken ward in Aldgate, where he lives and grew up.
Munsur is the first Bengali-born Labour Party member to be elected to the City Corporation.
“A lot of young people are growing up in The City with all its facilities—but lack engagement,” Musur told the East London Advertiser.
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“We have 400,000 people coming into the City every day to work. Yet there’s no engagement with them for those living here.
“The Corporation’s activities aren’t diverse enough. We celebrate Christmas okay, but there aren’t facilities to mark Diwali or Eid.”
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He hopes to make the Corporation “more diverse and engaging” during his four-year term.
Musur, who grew up in Guinness Trust Dwellings of Mansfield Street on the City’s border with Whitechapel, was elected for Portsoken ward with fellow party-member Member Jason Pritchard.
But there are no ‘party’ politics on the Corporation. All 100 members at today’s inauguration representing the Square Mile’s 25 wards were elected on Thursday as individuals, including many returned unopposed.
“I’m finally getting involved with the council after living here 36 years,” Munsur adds.
“I won’t make drastic changes—but just want to make The City more engaging and diverse.”
What spurred him into City politics was his campaign to stop a huge development in Mansell Street on his doorstep. He organised a petition which he says influenced the developers to modify their plans.
Musur’s big achievement is the annual independent Limelight film awards at Stepney’s Troxy venue every summer, a platform for emerging film talent that attracting 500 movie-makers, celebrities and media stars from all over Britain and abroad.
The former college drop-out launched his awards charity 10 years ago, when he was 28, to open a door for struggling enthusiasts to break into the Big Screen like he did.
He learned film-making at a college in Epping, went on to a film and broadcast BA at London Met University in Whitechapel and now runs a successful studio in Limehouse with a string of short films under his belt.
It is a far cry for the former Sir John Cass pupil who dropped out of A-Levels, yet made his way in the world by sheer determination.