Tag Archives: YURUMEIN

2014 DC Caribbean Filmfest

Information via TransAfrica Newsletter.

In recognition of Caribbean American Heritage Month in June, TransAfrica, Caribbean Association of World Bank and IMF Staff (CAWI), Caribbean Professional Network (CPN), Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) and AFI Silver is proud to present the DC Caribbean Filmfest, now in its 14th year at the AFI Silver Theatre.  Support provided by the IDB Cultural Center.

Dates: June 13-15, 2014

Venue: AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Films featured: POETRY IS AN ISLAND, DEREK WALCOTT; COME WITH IT, BLACK MAN: A BIOGRAPHY OF BLACK STALIN’S CONSCIOUSNESS; YURUMEIN (Homeland);ABO SO (Only You); TULA: THE REVOLT; CRISTO REY; KINGSTON PARADISE;WOMANISH WAYS, FREEDOM, HUMAN RIGHTS & DEMOCRACY: THE WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT IN THE BAHAMAS 1948-1962; THE STUART HALL PROJECT; FORWARD EVER: THE KILLING OF A REVOLUTION; RESILIENT HEARTS; BLACK AND CUBA

 

Schedule

Fri, Jun 13, 7:15PM   Opening Night:
POETRY IS AN ISLAND, DEREK WALCOTT
Post-screening reception commemorating the 35th anniversary of St. Lucia’s independence, sponsored by the Caribbean Professional Network.

As a poet, playwright, painter and even filmmaker, Derek Walcott has been hymning the Caribbean for more than 60 years. This rousing documentary reveals an intimate portrait of the Nobel Prize winning Walcott, as it visits his art studio, his childhood home and his current residence on his beloved native island of St. Lucia. Discover the anger and frustration that the poet holds against the downtime of the arts as he speaks frankly about the meaning of poetry to him personally, and about the significance of art for humanity. Most importantly, this documentary is a celebration of the greatest gift Walcott has given the world: his poetry.

DIR/PROD Ida Does. Netherlands, 2014, color, 80 min, digital presentation. In English. NOT RATED

Click here for ticket information.

Fri, Jun 13, 9:30PM 

COME WITH IT, BLACK MAN: A BIOGRAPHY OF BLACK STALIN’S CONSCIOUSNESS

“I always have my ears on the ground-level…I just take it from you and bring it back to you…” This independent feature-length documentary digs deep into the consciousness of the Black Man himself, legendary calypsonian Dr. Leroy Calliste, better known as Black Stalin. Featuring the big man’s music and performances as well as interviews with Trinidad’s top entertainment and academic names: Kees, David Rudder, JW and Blaze, Nadia Batson, Dr. Roy Cape, Denyse Plummer and Dr. Patricia Bishop.

DIR Tamara Tam-Cruickshank. Trinidad and Tobago, 2012, color, 60 min, digital presentation. In English. NOT RATED

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Sat, Jun 14, 2:00PM
YURUMEIN (Homeland)  Tickets $5!

This powerful documentary recounts the painful past of the Caribs on St. Vincent and the extermination of scores of their ancestors at the hands of the British, while building an intimate portrait of Garifuna culture in-transition today. It presents firsthand accounts from both Carib descendants who remain on the island of St. Vincent and voices of returning descendants whose ancestors were exiled to Central America—where Garifuna traditional culture was able to survive and flourish. As Garifuna from around the world come together to remember and celebrate the lives and resilience of their shared ancestors, they also begin to discover possibility and hope for the future of Garifuna culture and a greater worldwide community.

DIR/SCR Andrea E. Leland. US/St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 2014, color, 50 min, digital presentation. In English. NOT RATED

Click here for ticket information.

Sat, Jun 14, 3:15PM

ABO SO (Only You)

This musical tells the story of Tatiana (Raphaela Mahadeo), an intelligent, conservative young woman who moves with her mother and brother to their aunt’s house in the neighborhood known as Seroe Patrishi. There, she meets Santiago (Miguel Genser), a quirky young man of Latin origin, who can’t take Tatiana’s diva attitude. Yet secrets are revealed. They discover compassion for one another, out of which a beautiful love grows. This almost impossible love will test them both. Featuring the songs of legendary Aruban musician Padu del Caribe. Official Selection, 2013 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival; 2014 Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam.

DIR/SCR/PROD Juan Francisco Pardo. Aruba, 2013, color, 72 min, digital presentation. In Papiamento with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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Sat, Jun 14, 5:00PM    TULA: THE REVOLT

Based on the true story of the slave uprising in 18th-century Curacao, this epic drama follows the enslaved Tula, who led his colleagues in revolt. Upon hearing of the emancipation of the slaves in Haiti, Tula decides that he needs to take charge to change the situation in Curacao. While his pleas for freedom go ignored by his masters, Tula finds support among his fellow slaves, and they decide to strike. Dutch troops quickly arrive at the plantation, and though Tula dreams of a peaceful agreement, he soon finds out that he has no option but fight with the other enslaved people for freedom, equality and brotherhood. Starring Danny Glover, Obi Abilli and Natalie Simpson.

DIR/SCR/PROD Jeroen Leinders; SCR Curtis Holt Hawkins. Netherland Antilles/Netherlands, 2013, color, 100 min, digital presentation. In English and Dutch with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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Sat, Jun 14, 7:15PM CRISTO REY

The universal legend of Romeo and Juliet provides a compelling framework for Dominican director Leticia Tonos to explore the recent escalation in historic tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Janvier, a mixed-race Haitian-Dominican teenager, maintains an uneasy presence in crime-plagued Cristo Rey, a slum barrio of Santo Domingo that he calls home. When he gets the chance to make some extra cash by protecting the beautiful Jocelyn, the young sister of Cristo Rey’s controlling drug kingpin, he takes it, hoping to be able to reunite with his deported Haitian mother. But when he becomes romantically involved with Jocelyn, the tensions rumbling below the surface erupt. (Note courtesy Miami International Film Festival). Official Selection, 2013 Toronto Film Festival.

DIR/SCR Leticia Tonos; SCR Alejandro Andújar; PROD Sergio Gobbi. Dominican Republic/Haiti/France, 2013, color, 96 min, digital presentation. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

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Sat, Jun 14, 9:20PM KINGSTON PARADISE

“Your choices matter first of all.” Rocksy (popular Jamaican entertainer Christopher “Johnny” Daley), a small-time hustler, journeys into chaos to steal a car while his lady friend Rosie (Camille Small) hangs a watercolor painting in their modest room and dreams of peace. The fight to survive their broken dreams and aspirations compels them to commit a crime that changes their lives forever. Shot on the streets of Kingston where poverty, beauty and desperation collide, this Jamaican story transcends its island locale to become a universal story of people whose poverty seems to trap them in a life where reckless acts appear the only road to an elusive better life. Winner, Best Diaspora Feature, 2014 African Movie Academy Awards.

DIR/SCR/PROD Mary Wells; PROD Sajoya Alcott, Frances-Anne Solomon. Jamaica, 2013, color, 83 min, digital presentation. In English. NOT RATED

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Sun, Jun 15, 1:10PM

WOMANISH WAYS, FREEDOM, HUMAN RIGHTS & DEMOCRACY: THE WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT IN THE BAHAMAS 1948-1962

Exploring the riveting story of the women’s suffrage movement in the Bahamas, this documentary focuses on five of the central figures in the movement. In their singular “womanish ways,” these women worked tirelessly to redress discrimination and to advance and expand the cause of democracy in the Bahamas. Through archive footage and interviews with the women and men who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the founders of the movement, filmmaker Marion Bethel sheds light on this important period in Bahamian history.

DIR/SCR Marion Bethel; DIR Maria Govan. Bahamas, 2012, color, 73 min, digital presentation. In English. NOT RATED

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Sun, Jun 15, 2:45PM    THE STUART HALL PROJECT

Born and raised in Kingston, Stuart Hall is one of the most influential and esteemed cultural theorists of his generation. A thinker and commentator, he is one of the intellectual giants of the last sixty years. Ghanaian filmmaker John Akomfrah’s sweeping and majestic feature length documentary takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride through the upheavals, struggles and turning points that made the 20th century the most important period of global political change to date. The story is told through the ideas of Stuart Hall and heard through the sonic landscape of the music of Miles Davis. Official Selection, 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

DIR John Akomfrah; PROD Lina Gopaul, David Lawson. UK, 2013, color, 103 min, digital presentation. In English. NOT RATED

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Sun, Jun 15, 5:00PM                                                                                                    

FORWARD EVER: THE KILLING OF A REVOLUTION

The invasion of Grenada by U.S. forces in 1983 echoed around the world and put an end to a unique experiment in Caribbean politics. What were the circumstances that led to this extraordinary chain of events? This comprehensive, gripping and revealing documentary tells the story of the Grenada revolution as never before. The film features extensive, previously unseen file footage, as well as old and new interviews with many of the key players of the time. Award-winning filmmaker and Caribbean film scholar Bruce Paddington has crafted a landmark documentary that aims to educate and continue the process of healing and reconciliation in the region. Official Selection, 2013 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival.

DIR/SCR Bruce Paddington, Luke Paddington. Trinidad and Tobago/Grenada, 2013, color, 113 min, digital presentation. In English. NOT RATED

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Sun, Jun 15, 7:30PM   RESILIENT HEARTS

This documentary was inspired by the catastrophic earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, and left the country and its people devastated. Directed and written by Haitian-American actress Claudine Oriol, who left Port-au-Prince one hour before the earthquake, the film unfolds through the eyes, lives and spirit of the Haitian people, giving voice to the voiceless. Through a variety of narratives, Oriol sheds light on Haiti’s unique and rich history, conveys the resiliency of the Haitian spirit and shows the strength and power of a community united. Filmed entirely in Haitian-Creole (with English subtitles), this project is an ode not only to Claudine’s fellow Haitians, but to the international community and everyone impacted by this natural disaster.

DIR/SCR Claudine Oriol. Haiti, 2013, color, 74 min, digital presentation. In English, Creole and Haitian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Click here for ticket information.

Sun, Jun 15, 9:40PM BLACK AND CUBA

This edgy and artful documentary follows a group of predominantly black, street-smart students at Yale, who feel like outcasts at the elite Ivy League university, as they band together and adventure to Cuba to see if revolution is truly possible. While filming their poignant encounters with AfroCuban youth, breathtaking sites and moving hip-hop performances, the travelers confront realities behind myths of color-blindness and social mobility. This chronicle of their journey uncovers renewed hope for equality and human rights. The film is the feature directorial debut of Dr. Robin J. Hayes, international human rights advocate and scholar. Official Selection, 2014 Pan African Film Festival.

DIR/SCR/PROD Robin J. Hayes. US/Cuba, 2013, color, 83 min, digital presentation. In English. NOT RATED

Click here for ticket information.

For more information: www.transafrica.org; or call 202.223.1960 ext. 137 or email info@transafrica.org.

 

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YURUMEIN (Homeland): The story behind the film

Andrea Leland has produced / directed award winning documentaries focusing on Caribbean and Latin American cultures. In Haiti, Belize, Chiapas, and several Caribbean islands, she works collaboratively with community members providing a forum to voice their untold stories, personal challenges and compelling triumphs. Social, artistic or political actions are placed within context of their culture, imploring the viewer to confront old myths and discover a new perspective. These documentaries are successful tools for cultural preservation.

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The following is a contributed article from Andrea Leland, currently featured on Island Vignettes’ Guest Feature page. For the full article click here to be re-directed to the Guest Feature.

YURUMEIN (Homeland) – The story behind the film

 

St. Vincent’s Carib /Garifuna community is currently undergoing a cultural revival. For over two hundred years, this afro-indigenous group had been silenced by colonial and societal oppression. My current film project YURUMEIN is the untold story of the Caribs of St. Vincent. This story is largely unknown and deserves a place in the annals of African / Caribbean / American history.

The film seeks to fill the cultural void for St. Vincent’s Garifuna who know virtually nothing of their Garifuna brothers and sisters who live beyond the sea. Interspersed with traditional Garifuna music, the Caribs on St. Vincent are given voice to tell the story of their painful past, while building an intimate portrait of Garifuna culture-in-transition today. We are given firsthand accounts from both Carib descendents who remain on the island of St Vincent and voices of returning descendants whose ancestors were exiled to Central America—where Garifuna traditional culture was able to survive and flourish.

(Contributed photo) Filmmaker, Andrea Leland, on location in St. Vincent with Colin Sam
(Contributed photo) Filmmaker, Andrea Leland, on location in St. Vincent with Colin Sam

We are currently in the post-production and have launched a crowdfunding campaign through the Center for Independent Documentary to help finish the film. We need funds to complete graphics, sound, color correction and begin our outreach efforts. You can visit our funding page and make a tax-deductable donation here:http://www.cid.mimoona.com/Projects/477

When did you first get interested in the Caribbean and St. Vincent in particular

In 1980, I was a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. I took a semester off and traveled to St. Vincent to research art and artists of St. Vincent. I wanted to find out what motivated the artists on St. Vincent, what resources did they draw upon to make ‘art”.

While on the island I  was told to stay away from the village of Sandy Bay where the Caribs lived. I was told the people there were unfriendly and did not welcome visitors. This piqued my curiosity and I made it a point to visit Sandy Bay. I was not welcomed, and I did feel some tension as an outsider.  No one was friendly. I then heard that most of the community had been exiled to Central America. I wanted to learn more about those who had been exiled. What was their culture like? Why had no one ever heard of the Black Caribs or their story? Research proved difficult as there was not much written about the culture and I found no films on the subject.

14 years later in 1994 I found myself in Belize at the Garifuna Settlement day celebration in Punta Gorda…..and that was the beginning of my film THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY and my ongoing relationship with the Garifuna community.


Who are the Garifuna?

The Garifuna are the descendents of the native Arawak and Carib peoples of the Caribbean and West Africans.

Dr. Gill teaching Garifuna language to students on St. Vincent
Dr. Gill teaching Garifuna language to students on St. Vincent

They are sometimes known as the “Black Caribs”.  The Garinagu language is primarily composed of the Arawak and Carib native tongues mixed with African and European languages. First reported in the 17th century by British explorers, the exact origins of the afro-indigenous Garifuna people are uncertain; however, we know they lived freely on the island of St. Vincent for centuries. The Garifuna themselves believe the first Africans arrived centuries before Columbus did. A sailing expedition sent by Mali’s king Abu Bakr was said to have sailed off the coast of Africa and found land somewhere across the Atlantic. Some Garifuna also believe that in the 1600’s  a slave ship crashed off the island. Many Africans survived and intermixed with the Caribs who took them in as their own, thus increasing the “Black Carib” population.

The Caribs were known to be valiant and courageous warriors, protecting their homeland from European colonizers.  First they defeated the French.  British attempts to colonize the island of St. Vincent failed, the Caribs defeated the British as well.   During the second Carib war the British brought in massive forces and after decades of war, defeated the Caribs.   Following the defeat, most Caribs were rounded up and exiled first to Balliceaux where half of them died of disease and starvation. The survivors were sent to the island of Roatán, Honduras and from there the Caribs / Garifuna moved the mainland of Central America. Today there are over 400,000 descendants of those who were exiled, living along the coast of Central America and in the United States.

Only a handful of Caribs remained in hiding on St. Vincent after the second Carib war.

What inspired you to make YURUMEIN?

In 2005, I was invited to screen my film THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY (1998), in various Carib villages on the island of St. Vincent. The film explores present-day Garifuna culture in Belize.

As my film was playing in St. Vincent, I could see the audience response. For many of St. Vincent’s Caribs this was the first time they learned that Garifuna music, dance, and spirituality had survived off the island. They knew they had Carib ancestry, but did not truly know what that meant until they saw the film.  I think for many, seeing the Garifuna Journey brought out a strong emotional response. With tears in their eyes, some approached me lamenting the fact that they did not have a culture of their own like what they were seeing in the film.  I said maybe you don’t have the culture you  see in the film, but you certainly have a rich story and culture of your own. I realized THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY only told half the story, that of the Diaspora. I picked up my camera that day and began recording the story of the Caribs/ Garifuna who live on St. Vincent.

 

Why is Garifuna cultural revival so important right now?

This is a unique time for this indigenous community. Currently on St. Vincent there is a segment of the population who, after decades of discrimination and being called all manner of derogatory words, has just learned about the survival of the culture off island and have an interest in rediscovering the links to their own personal Carib ancestry. After 200 years of repression these Caribs are seeking the truth about their history and culture, and what they thought was completely wiped out by colonialism. Through internet and archival research the lost culture is revealing itself to be alive and well.  

On another front, with the ease of air travel and internet communication, the Garifuna in the Diaspora are reconnecting with their “homeland” where their ancestors originated. Many are returning to pay homage to those who have come before. At the same time, they are, very slowly and deliberately, bringing back to St. Vincent, the language, the dance, the customs to those who want to reconnect and learn.

For both segments of the Garifuna community there is the threat of loss of culture. Western culture predominates. Any one culture that is vibrant, not stagnant, must adapt and change to survive.  The more the culture is appreciated, practiced, reinvigorated, the more chance it has to thrive, bringing a sense of identity and self esteem to the community. Many indigenous communities face challenges with environment, civil rights, land rights, language retention etc. The Garifuna culture is another of these indigenous communities facing similar challenges for survival.

What do you hope to achieve with YURUMEIN?

This film has the ability to assist in reconnecting the Garifuna returning to their “homeland” searching for their physical roots and those on St. Vincent rediscovering the very rich  culture that survived in the Diaspora. The film is meant to be a catalyst bringing exposure to an indigenous community in the throes of transition in a post colonial world. It is the story of resistance, rupture and repair.

I made the GARIFUNA JOURNEY with the support of the Garifuna Diaspora around the time of the two-hundredth anniversary of the Garifuna defeat and exile from  St. Vincent. In addition to the film, we created a multi-media travelling exhibit with photographs, videos, music and oral history pieces. The work we did for the GARIFUNA JOURNEY helped earn the UNESCO title, “Proclamation of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in 2001.

To learn more about the YURUMEIN film project or to a make a tax-deductible donation to help Leland finish the film, click here:http://www.cid.mimoona.com/Projects/477

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Andrea Leland has produced / directed award winning documentaries focusing on Caribbean and Latin American cultures. In Haiti, Belize, Chiapas, and several Caribbean islands, she works collaboratively with community members providing a forum to voice their untold stories, personal challenges and compelling triumphs. Social, artistic or political actions are placed within context of their culture, imploring the viewer to confront old myths and discover a new perspective. These documentaries are successful tools for cultural preservation.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Groundbreaking Caribbean Documentary: YURUMEIN (Homeland)

The Caribbean is a territory rich in history. A history that goes far beyond “re-discovery” and colonisation. A history defined by the Indigenous peoples of our islands – their traditions, ways of life, art & craft, story-telling, language. This unique history and culture is often overshadowed by the story of post-1492 events and practices – foreign diseases, slavery, genocide.

One also gets a sense that our Caribbean territories have been somewhat unable, unwilling or slow to critically look at our native past and as such the story of our conquerors prevail.

Yet there is hope. Hope in the continued observance of the lives of the Caribs in the Santa Rosa festival of Trinidad & Tobago. Hope in the continued existence of the Amerindian populations of Guyana and even more impressively a Ministry of Amerindian Affairs. More recently I was able to connect with award-winning documentary film-maker Andrea Leland. Leland is working on a very exciting project in St. Vincent! One that aims to revive a forgotten past and place it within reach of future generations!

Yurumein
Yurumein
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Andrea Leland  who produced THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY, has just launched a crowdfunding campaign for her upcoming film YURUMEIN—a documentary about the revival of Garifuna culture on the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean. Leland is seeking to  raise $20,000  to complete post-production on the film.
For the past two hundred years, Garifuna / Carib  culture had been all but lost on the island of St. Vincent.  The Indigenous Garifuna, descendants of Carib and Arawak and West African people, once lived freely on the island of St. Vincent for hundreds of years.  After the defeat of their chief, Chatoyer, most were  forced into hiding and eventually exiled by British colonial forces during the 18th century.   Only a handful remained in hiding on St. Vincent.
Today,  the Carib descendants know little of their Garifuna ancestral language, rituals, dance, music or food. For the past 200 years and up to today, the community has been marginalized and labeled as cannibals. While traditions may have been lost on St. Vincent, Garifuna culture flourished in the exiled communities of Central America. In the film, Leland captures the efforts of the Carib  descendants  to recover their cultural traditions by connecting with their brothers and sisters in the larger Garifuna Diaspora.
Leland has worked with and filmed the Garifuna diaspora for the past twenty years. Her 1998 documentary, THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY, focuses on the culture of the exiled Garifuna in Belize. The idea behind YURUMEIN came to Leland during a 2005 screening of THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY in St. Vincent. Locals learned that whereas Garifuna culture had been suppressed on St. Vincent, it flourished in the Diaspora. The emotionally charged community in St. Vincent expressed a desire to reconnect with the larger Diaspora, and Leland says, “the story of YURUMEIN began that very day.”
Leland has completed shooting the footage for YURUMEIN in both St. Vincent in Los Angeles. She is now in the critical stage of post-production. She hopes to raise the funds to complete the film and screen it at film festivals, community groups, classrooms and, of course, widely within the Garifuna diaspora. Also in the works is an interactive website where Garifuna worldwide can upload their own video stories.

You can watch a trailer for the film, read more about the film and make a tax – deductable donation here: http://www.cid.mimoona.com/Projects/477Also like YURUMEIN onfacebook and follow ontwitter.

 

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