Caribbean Film on Display at the 2012 DC International Film Festival
A couple of weeks ago fellow blogger Mamachel told me that Jamaican film Better Mus’ Come would be shown at the 26th Annual DC Film Festival (aka Filmfest DC from April 12 – 22). Yeeesss! I’ve been dying to see the film that so many audiences have loved. Last year I attended the festival — my first film festival, for some reason I was nervous…go figure — and enjoyed myself (save a weird French film I’ve worked hard to forget) so I was already looking forward to the 2012 festival. Now I am simply over the moon about being able to see Better Mus’ Come. I was checking out the other films that will be shown and came across several from or about Jamaica and from or about Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. They will all be presented as a part of DC Filmfest’s Caribbean Journeys feature. Storm Saulter will also be a panelist on April 14’s “Personal Connections to Public Stories: From Idea to Projection” that will be held at the K Street Busboys & Poets. The panel is free and begins at 10:30.
So, if you’re going to be in DC try to check out these films (+ the many others from around the world). Tickets for films are $11 and package deals are available. Check out these short descriptions culled from DC Filmfest’s website and individual film websites:
Better Mus’ Come (Storm Saulter; Jamaica; 2010) – An urban love story against the backdrop of 1970s Jamaica, the film follows Ricky’s choices and life after he meets Kemala.
First Rasta (Helene Lee; France, Jamaica; 2010) – A film that explores the life of and pays tribute to the pioneer and thinker behind the Rastafarian movement, Leonard Percival “The Gong” Howell (1893–1981).
Calypso Rose: The Lioness of the Jungle (Pascale Obolo; Trinidad and Tobago; 2009) - A biography of the legendary “Queen of Calypso,” the film follows the 71 year old treasure as she traces her roots from her hometown in Trinidad and Tobago to Guinea (with all the stops in between). While in Guinea, Calypso Rose learns about her great-grandmother who was sent to the Caribbean as a slave.
Jean Gentil (Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas; Dominican Republic, Mexico, Germany; 2010) – An educated and devout Christian man is forced, like many others, to leave Haiti to look for work in the Dominican Republic. He encounters rejection and discrimination but remains “remarkably genteel and dignified.”
Havana Eva (Fina Torres; Cuba, Venezuela, France; 2010) - Eva is a free-spirited seamstress in contemporary Havana who has grown impatient with life, including her fiancé who can’t seem to finish building their house. Then enters a hunky architectural photographer who isn’t what he appears to be and Eva must make some hard decisions with the help of her “literally indestructible hooker pal.”
Unfinished Spaces (Alysa Nahmias, Benjamin Murray; Cuba, USA; 2011) – A little-known phenomenon that took place in the aftermath of the Cuban revolution is explored as the film focuses on three architects that Fidel Castro commissioned to design and build “the most beautiful of art schools in the world.” But things change after Castro’s international alliances shift….what happened to this bold project?
Marley (Kevin MacDonald; UK; 2011) - A documentary about the Reggae legend that highlights Marley’s importance both as a major 20th-century musician and as a figurehead for his fellow countrymen.
RasTa: A Soul’s Journey (Patricia Scarlett, Stuart Samuels; Canada; 2011) - The film follows and tells the story of the journey of Rita and Bob Marley’s granddaughter’s, Donisha Prendergast, as she visits eight countries to explore the roots, evolution, and impact of Rastafari.
I’m excited for the additional exposure that these films will receive at the Filmfest DC. In 2011 over 23,000 people attended the festival. Hopefully this exposure will lead to funding and other support for Caribbean filmmakers; I expect that Filmfest DC will also be a good networking opportunity for these filmmakers. Caribbean people have a lot of stories to tell and film is a great vehicle for doing so.