This year’s African Diaspora International Film Festival will be held from November 28 to December 15, at various venues in Manhattan, such as The Chapel – Teachers College, Columbia University, Crown Center – Teachers College, Columbia University, 179 Grace Dodge – Teachers College, Columbia University, Symphony Space – Thalia Theatre, The Riverside Theatre – Riverside Church, Quad Cinema, and Schomburg Center.
Let’s take a look at the Caribbean films being featured at this year’s festival:
When Queen Elizabeth II visits Jamaica for her Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 2002, she is petitioned by a small group of Rastafari for slavery reparations. For Rastafari, reparations is linked to a desire to move back to Africa, the homeland of their African ancestors who were brought to Jamaica as slaves. The film traces this petition, as well as a slavery reparations lawsuit filed against the Queen in Jamaica. We follow Ras Lion a mystic Rasta farmer who petitioned the Queen, and Michael Lorne; the attorney who brought the lawsuit. In the background are the stories of earlier Rastas who pursued reparations in the 1960s, revealing an ongoing demand that spans decades. Filmed over a decade, on location in Jamaica and the UK, the film follows the filmmaker on a journey into the past, during which the question of reparations reaches Parliament in both Jamaica and the UK. The film is an exploration of the enduring legacies of slavery and the case for slavery reparations in modern Jamaica.
For more information, visit the film’s FB page. Watch the trailer:
In five neighborhoods, each distinct in their racial and class make-up, a total of thirty Curaçaoans of all ages and all walks of life share what “race” and “skin color” mean to them today. Sombra di Koló/the Shadow of Color is a documentary project by the Warwarú ImageNation Foundation and anthropologist Angela Roe, in co-production with filmmaker Selwyn de Wind. Sombra di Koló examines what race and skin color mean in Curaçao today.
Curaçao, a small Caribbean island off the Venezuelan coast, was once an important Dutch colony. It has a population of approximately 140.000 people that is racially and especially ethnically diverse, yet predominantly of African descent and a small white elite. In this post-colonial society, what do people think about color today? How is color connected to class? Does skin color still matter?
We know what it is like to live inside our own skin, but we don’t really know what life is like for others. We speculate, we have stereotypical ideas about others, but this documentary invites you to peek into thirty other worlds. The documentary takes you across Curaçao, into five neighborhoods that are very different in class and racial composition. You will hear stories that sound like your own, and stories that you never thought about. They will make you think for sure, and understand more of how race and skin color work, for yourself and for others.
The goal of the documentary Sombra di Koló is to break open the taboo on color and race relations, and to start a constructive national dialogue on a topic that affects us all, because everyone has a color. With Sombra di Koló the Warwarú ImageNation Foundation and the filmmakers aim to generate new insights; on the one hand in the pride and joy that we find in the racial diversity in which we partake daily, and on the other hand in the pain, shame and frustration that people experience, sometimes also daily, as a result of racial inequality.
by Andrea Leland
St. Vincent & the Grenadines | 2013
Sun, Dec. 7 @ 5PM – Cowin Center – BUY TICKETS
This documentary recounts the painful past of the Caribs on St. Vincent – their fierce resistance for hundreds of years against European colonial powers, their eventual extermination at the hands of the British, the decimation of their culture on St. Vincent, and their exile to Central America where much of that culture survived, even thrived. YURUMEIN (your-o-main) also explores what few cultural remnants of Carib culture, also known as Garifuna, which still exist on St. Vincent and the beginnings of a movement to teach and revitalize Garifuna language, music and dance, and ritual to younger generations of Caribs.
In 2001, UNESCO (United National Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) awarded the Garifuna community the title: “Proclamation of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.” In doing so, they pressed mainstream scholars, journalists and community activists around the world to probe more forcefully: Who are Garifuna people? Where do they come from and how has their culture survived despite a painful and fractured history? How can the Garifuna language and culture be preserved and taught to future generations?
While post-colonial stories of re-identification and cultural retrieval among indigenous people, particularly in North America, have captured broader public interest in recent decades, the story of Garifuna, or “Black Carib” people, and their homeland of St. Vincent, has largely been untold.
Frantz Fanon, was a psychiatrist, originally from Martinique, who had become a spokesman for the Algerian revolution against French colonialism. Embittered by his experience with racism in the French Army, he gravitated to radical politics, Sartrean existentialism and the philosophy of black consciousness known as negritude. His 1952 book, ”Black Skin, White Masks,” offers a penetrating analysis of racism and of the ways in which it is internalized by its victims. While secretly aiding the rebels of the Algerian anti-colonial war as a doctor in Algeria, Fanon cared for victims and perpetrators alike, producing case notes that shed invaluable light on the psychic traumas of colonial war. Expelled from Algeria in 1956, Fanon moved to Tunis where wrote for El Moudjahid, the rebel newspaper, founded Africa’s first psychiatric clinic, and wrote several influential books on decolonization. Frantz Fanon, His Life, His Struggle, His Work traces the short and intense life of one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. Watch the trailer:
by Mariette Monpierre
Guadeloupe | 2011
Sat, Dec. 6 @ 7PM – 179 GD, Teachers College – BUY TICKETS
Bernadette, a single mother in Paris, tries to provide her daughters with everything. She is thrilled when her eldest daughter, Elza, is the first in the family to graduate from college earning a master’s degree summa cum laude. But Elza breaks her mother’s heart by running away to their native Guadeloupe in search of a distant childhood memory: the father she barely remembers. This feature debut by writer/director Mariette Monpierre offers an unusual insider’s view of lush island culture as she captures the passion and contradictions of this family.
For more information, visit the film’s FB page. Watch the trailer:
The streets of Port of Spain and its varied cast of characters are the backdrop for this Trini-style neo-noir. Philo, an expat detective, turns to his previous partner Monique for help in solving a high-profile kidnapping case. But where this leads them is to the past, and an old rift regarding the disappearance of Monique’s brother.
JBB is an old Guadeloupean who lives in a shack on a plot of land owned by the town of Morne-a-l’Eau. One day, a mulatto named Pascal buys the parcel from the town, planning to build the island’s biggest supermarket on top of it. JBB will soon be evicted. He desperately seeks the help of Hilaire, a wizard and notorious drunk, who ensures his protection. However, the spirit Hilaire sends to Pascal will cause a bigger mess than planned.