Cuba, Granada, Haiti, Jamaica, Curaçao, Surinam and French Guiana are some of the countries featured among the 35 countries featured in the 73 films included in 21st African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF-2013) Caribbean Experience showcase. Haiti and Jamaica are at the center with Spotlight on Haiti Jamaicanity; The Resonance of Jamaica, and two programs that present a selection of films that reveal many things about both countries.
SPOTLIGHT ON HAITI
The epic film Toussaint Louverture – which had its New York premiere during ADIFF 2012 to great success – is back as part of a the Spotlight on Haiti program. Looking for Life/Chercher la Vie is a modest film that follows the daily work of two Haitian women and their constant battle for survival in a Haitian economy that is bled dried due to Globalization.
The earthquake of 2010 was devastating for Haiti. While the world stood up to the challenge and aid poured in many ways from many parts, today the effectiveness of the many contributions made is questioned by two Haitian filmmakers – Raoul Peck with Fatal Assistance/Assistance Mortelle and Joseph Hillel with Ayiti Toma, The Land of the Living /Ayiti Toma. Au Pays Des Vivants – who talk about the country, the international aid system, the men and organizations involved and the Haitian people. The level of critical thinking is intense.
Also in the program is Birthright Crisis 2013 about the current challenges faced by Dominicans of Haitian descent born and raised in Dominican Republic who are now being stripped of their Dominican nationality through legislative changes.
JAMAICANITY: THE RESONANCE OF JAMAICA
Jamaicanity, the Resonance of Jamaica is a program built around a certain essence in Jamaica and Jamaicans that gives all things Jamaican a very remarkable human experience, not only in the context of the Americas but also in the world.Catch a Fire reminds us of colonial times on the island of Jamaica and the important role of Paul Boggle in the history of the island. The First Rasta tells the story of Percival Howell and the movement he created – the Rasta Movement – and its ramification in the world.
The Journey of the Lion is a road movie about a Rastaman who in his native Jamaica dreams of going to Africa. This film is sort of a classic for those interested in Jamaica and the Rasta movement. Youths of Shasha talks about these Jamaicans who made it back to Africa and now live in Ethiopia, on land donated to their ancestors by Haile Selassie. Made in Jamaica covers the Jamaican music scenario in a rare, very creative way as many of the musicians showcased come from different styles and sounds all rooted in a Jamaican vibe. The Story of Lovers Rock and The Stuart Hall Project both narrate the impact of Jamaicans in the UK who, from very different walks of life, marked the old continent with a fresh Caribbean input.
Patrice Johnson is a New York filmmaker born in Jamaica. In her films about New Yorkers, there is a Jamaican flavor that characterizes her work. NY’s Dirty Laundry and Hill and Gully, breathe that Jamaicanity that is the resonance of things Jamaican. The same applies for British filmmaker of Jamaican origin, Stephen Lloyd Jackson, whose latest film Sable Fable is a fascinating story about love and identity set in Black London.
CURACAO, GRENADA, CUBA, FRENCH GUIANA
With a compilation that includes recent and less recent films, the selection of Caribbean films in ADIFF 2013 reflects the imagination, creativity and diversity of themes and topics found in this area of the world.
Tula, The Revolt is a fiction film based on real events: the1795 slave revolt on the island of Curaçao, a Dutch colony at the time. Tula, the leader of the revolt, is remembered and celebrated for his significant contribution made to history by Africans in the New World.
Grenada: Colonialism and Conflict focuses its analysis on the island of Grenada in the 70’s and 80’s with reflections and information very much applicable to the socio-political development of other countries in the area.
Cuba is one of the three Spanish speaking countries in the Caribbean; this island is also a country that has gone through radical changes since 1959. The Campaign Against Illiteracy launched in the country after the revolution was one of the moments that defined the direction the country wanted to take regarding the quality of life for its people. Maestra is a film about the women who participated in this Campaign Against Illiteracy and how that moment galvanized a population.
One People/Wan Pipel is one of those films that never get old as it is a love story that still resonates in the context of the Caribbean universe. Set in a Surinam on the verge of its independence, One Peopledescribes how two people of opposite groups go against all odds and love each other in country building a new identity.
The maroons in French Guiana have a very strong culture that has survived the change of time. Aluku Liba, Maroon Again follows Loeti who, after years living away from his culture, decides to come back home and be a Maroon again. Not your everyday story, Aluku Liba, Maroon Again lets you discover one of the old African-based cultures of the New World.