This year’s DC Caribbean film festival in at the AFI in Silver Spring, will be held from June 13-15.  Now in its 14th year, the festival is held in recognition of Caribbean-American Heritage Month in June.  The Festival is being hosted by TransAfrica, Caribbean Association of World Bank and IMF Staff (CAWI), Caribbean Professional Network (CPN), Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) and AFI Silver.  This year, the Festival brings some of the best films to come out of the Caribbean in 2013 – check out the  lineup below.

film-screening-2Poetry is an Island: Derek Walcott
by Ida Does
Documentary Feature | 80 mins
Suriname/St. Lucia, 2012

This year’s opening night film, Poetry is an Island tells the story of Nobel laureate, poet, playwright, and visual artist, Derek Alton Walcott (1930). The film depicts an intimate portrait of Walcott, as we visit his art studio, his childhood home, and his current residence in St. Lucia. It also includes exclusive archive material from the Nobel Prize Festivities in 1992. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this film is about Walcott’s poetry.

Fri, Jun 13, 7:15 pm.  There will be a post-screening reception commemorating the 35th anniversary of St. Lucia’s independence, sponsored by the Caribbean Professional Network.

For more information on the film, visit the film’s website and FB page.  Watch the trailer here:

black stalin movieCome with it Black Man: A Biography of Black Stalin’s Consciousness
by Tamara Tam-Cruickshank
Documentary Feature | 60 mins
Trinidad & Tobago | 2012

“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.

Fri, Jun 13, 9:30 pm.

For more information, visit the film’s FB page.  Watch the trailer here:

yurumeinx380Yurumein: Homeland
by Andrea E. Leland
Documentary Feature | 50 mins
US/St. Vincent and the Grenadines  | 2014

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.

Sat, Jun 14, 2:00 pm.

For more information, visit the film’s FB page.  Watch the trailer here:


abo soAbo So
by Juan Francisco Pardo
Musical Feature | 72 mins
Aruba | 2013

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.

Sat, Jun 14, 3:15 pm.

For more information, visit the film’s website and FB page.  Watch the trailer here:


tulatula the revolt 2Tula: The Revolt
by Jeroen Leinders
Dramatic Feature | 100 mins
Netherlands Antilles | 2013

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.

Sat, Jun 14, 5:00 pm.

For more information, visit the film’s website and FB page.  Watch the trailer here:


cristo reyCristo Rey
by Leticia Tonos
Dramatic Feature | 96 mins
Dominican Republic, Haiti, France | 2013

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.

Sat, Jun 14, 7:15 pm.

For more information, visit the film’s FB page.  Watch the trailer here:


kingston paradiseKingston Paradise
by Mary Wells
Dramatic Feature | 83 mins
Jamaica | 2013

“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.

Sat, Jun 14, 9:20 pm.

For more information, visit the film’s FB page.  Watch the trailer here:


women-suffrage-bahamas-documentaryWomanish Ways, Freedom,Human Rights & Democracy: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the Bahamas 1948-1962
by Marion Bethel
Documentary Feature | 73 mins
Bahamas | 2012

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.

Sun, Jun 15, 1:10 pm.

For more information, visit the film’s website.  Watch the trailer here:


stuart hallThe Stuart Hall Project

by John Akomfrah
Documentary Feature | 103 mins
UK | 2013

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.

Sun, Jun 15, 2:45 pm.

For more information, visit the film’s website and FB page.  Watch the trailer here:


forward everForward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution
by Bruce Paddington
Documentary Feature | 113 mins
Trinidad & Tobago/Grenada | 2013

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.

Sun, Jun 15, 5:00 pm.

For more information, visit the film’s FB page.  Watch the trailer here:


resilient heartsResilient Hearts
by Claudine Oriol
Documentary Feature | 74 mins
Haiti | 2013

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.

Sun, Jun 15, 7:30PM

BlackAndCuba2-300_smBlack and Cuba
by Robin J. Hayes
Documentary Feature | 83 mins
US/Cuba | 2013

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.

Watch the trailer here:


Happy Festivalling!!