The Pan-African Film and Arts Festival, runs this year from February 8-19, and once again features a number of great Caribbean films. Established in 1992, The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to the promotion of cultural understanding among peoples of African descent. PAFF is dedicated to racial tolerance through the exhibition of film, art and creative expression.
Let’s take a look at the Caribbean films selected for this year’s Festival:
Directed by Marisol Gómez Mouakad
Puerto Rico, 2017
ANGELICA, after a long absence from Puerto Rico, returns to Puerto Rico when her father, Wilfredo, suffers a stroke. This forced and unexpected return to the house where she grew up, plus her father’s illness, forces Angelica to re-evaluate her relationship with her mother, with her family members and with her partner in New York, who travels to
Puerto Rico in an attempt to recover her. All this will force her to face herself and discover that she does not know who she is. Furthermore she does not like herself.
After her father’s death, Angelica must decide whether to return to the comfort of her previous life, dissatisfied, but secure, or set on an adventurous path to rediscover herself as an independent, modern, strong, mulatto, and Puerto Rican woman in a globalized world that is in the cusp of the twenty-first century.
Directed by Marica Weeke
The Errol Barrow Docudrama, BARROW:FREEDOM FIGHTER, is a passionate story about the courage of one man who relentlessly preached a gospel to of economic self reliance and self respect to the people of his native country Barbados and beyond. He defied the status quo, confronted racism and classicism, fought colonial oppression and selflessly led his people to political and economic freedom. A hero lives for the other…that was The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow: Father of Independence, Reformer, National Hero of Barbados.
BROWN GIRL BEGINS
Directed by Sharon Lewis
It’s 2049 on a forsaken island off the coast of Toronto where the survival of the islanders depends on young Ti-Jeanne to risk death by a spirit so she can take her place as a caribbean priestess and save her people.
Directed by Kareem Mortimer
The Bahamas, 2017
When his income as a fisherman proves woefully insufficient as a result of his arrogance (white-skin privilege) and gambling addiction to maintain his business, his family, and his affairs, white American expatriate Kevin turns to human smuggling in order to raise desperately needed funds. Kevin finds that he’s good at this dangerous yet profitable vocation—good enough to trust himself with smuggling his own girlfriend on the side and her son to the US. But when faced with having to abandon refugees at sea far from Miami shores, Kevin is suddenly forced to reassess his responsibilities. Inspired by true events, Cargo examines the world’s refugee crisis from a very local perspective. Stars Omar Dorsey (“Queen Sugar”) and Jimmy Jean-Louis (“Phat Girls”).
GREEN DAYS BY THE RIVER
Directed by Michael Mooleedhar
Trinidad & Tobago, 2017
In a remote village in 1952 Trinidad, Shell pursues the affection of two girls. Despite his ailing father’s advice, Shell follows the compassionate Indian planter, Mr Gidharee to work on his plantation along the river, in hopes of attracting his daughter Rosalie. But then he falls for Joan, a sweet, sensible girl from the city. From the love triangle that ensues, Shell learns bittersweet lessons of life and love that will define his manhood and future forever.
HAITI IS A NATION OF ARTISTS
Directed by Jacquil Constant
Haiti is a Nation of Artists depicts Haitian artists creating transformational work after the devastating earthquake in 2010. It aims to introduce positive images of Haiti and its people. It seeks to reframe the narrative and perspective of a country that is largely seen as naïve and primitive; instead elevating its people’s creativity, strength and positive spirit even in the midst of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The documentary depicts the humanity of Haitian culture through the lens of a Haitian-American filmmaker who seeks to uplift the rich diversity of Haiti and its historical legacy.
Directed by Kelley Kali
Inspired by true events, LALO’S HOUSE follows the relentless courage of Manouchka, a 14-year-old Haitian girl, and her 5-year-old sister, Phara, who are abducted and thrown into an underground prostitution network that is posing as a Catholic orphanage. Forced to grow up prematurely, Manouchka must fight to save Phara and escape the fraudulent nun, Sister Francine, who holds them captive.
MACHEL MONTANO: JOURNEY OF A SOCA KING
Directed by Bart Phillips
Trinidad & Tobago, 2017
With a lifelong mission to put soca music on the international map, Machel Montano has pioneered the evolution of the genre throughout his 34-year career. Journey of a Soca King chronicles his rise from a child star competing on Star Search, to his reign as a Soca Monarch collaborating with Grammy Award winning songwriters and producers such as Angela Hunte and Diplo. The film utilizes never before seen vintage footage along with insight from band members, peers and family to tell the phenomenal story of the “Michael Jackson of the Caribbean,” while giving viewers a backstage pass to his 15 high energy, non-stop, live performances during the last 5 days before Carnival Monday 2015 in Trinidad. Some of the personal and professional landmarks featured include: Montano’s international tour with Pitbull, selling out Madison Square Garden twice in one night, a 5-year battle against false assault accusations, and his Coachella 2016 performance with Major Lazer. Inspiring, enlightening and exhilarating the documentary takes you on a trip to Trinidad to witness the sacrifice and success of Soca King Machel Montano.
Directed by Vashti Anderson
Trinidad & Tobago, 2017
A young woman returns to her family’s home in Trinidad and begins a forbidden relationship with a fisherman.
PLAY THE DEVIL
Directed by Maria Govan
Trinidad & Tobago, 2016
Set against the backdrop of Trinidad and Tobago’s mystical Carnival, the film follows the push-pull between 18-year-old Gregory, a gifted and struggling student, and the glamorously wealthy businessman James, who dutifully carries on the lucrative family business while remaining in a loveless marriage. The two men strike an uncanny friendship as James takes Greg under his wing, pushing him to discover himself professionally, creatively, and intimately. Confused, Greg must at once deal with the return of his drug-addicted father and navigate through the early days of adulthood. As Carnival Monday approaches and the locals prepare for the annual male initiation parade, Greg must confront James – an act which will culminate in life-changing events.
SEE YOU YESTERDAY
Directed by Stefon Bristol
Two Brooklyn teenage prodigies, C.J. Walker and Sebastian Thomas – determined to outwit fate and role-play as God – build make-shift time machines to save CJ’s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.
Directed by Shari Petti
Trinidad & Tobago, 2017
Sorf Hair explores the natural hair experience in Trinidad and Tobago as several people from different walks of life with different hair textures unearth their stories, challenges and give their point of view on how and why naturals are treated the way they are in this country.
THE CRYING CONCH
Directed by Vincent Toi
Trapped in a curse that started centuries ago, a man is drawn into the footsteps of Mackandal, the historic Haitian slave leader. A modern fable folding accounts of the past with the resilience of the present.
TORMENTS OF LOVE
Directed by Caroline Jules
On an island off the coast of Guadeloupe, two sisters, Myriam and Vanessa, planned to stay for a few days in the family house, where the sweet memory of their grandmother is still vivid. But Vanessa is not aware that a particular guest is expected for lunch and when she catches sight of their father coming, a cold and quiet man that she didn’t want to see, it is too late to escape the confrontation. Around the table, unsaid things, provocation and blunders will lead each individual to face their own ambiguous feelings…
WE LOVE MOSES
Directed by Dionne Edwards
When Ella was 12, she had her first fight. And when she was 12, she discovered sex. Now 18, Ella reflects on how her obsession with her brother’s best friend Moses left her with a secret she still carries.