This year’s Caribbean Cinematic Festival is being held from February 6-8, in Syracuse, New York. The Festival highlights the cultural contributions as well as address polarizing issues in the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora through film, dance, spoken word, photography, discussion and food. This year, in addition to the films we’ll describe below, the Festival’s featured presentations include a discussion with filmmaker Joshua Bea Alafia, spoken word by Ras Howard Henry, and a performance by the Syracuse University Dance Troupe, Kalabash.
The films this year include:
The long-awaited two-part action epic film of the life of Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture who led the first successful slave revolt in world history by giving the imperialist armies led by Napoleon Bonaparte their first defeat and winning independence from France. Known for his military genius and political acumen, Louverture established Haiti as the first black nation in the western hemisphere and the first Black free nation in it as well. The success of Louverture and the Haitian Revolution shook the institution of slavery throughout the “New World” of the Americas. Stars Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes, Phat Girlz) Aïssa Maïga (Bamako), Sonia Rolland (Midnight In Paris), and Hubert Koundé (The Constant Gardener).
After the screening, there will be a talkback session with star, Jimmy Jean-Louis. Watch the trailer here:
Synopsis: The invasion of Grenada by US 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. There will be a talkback via Skype with Director Bruce Paddington, after the screening.
Winner: Best Film, Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2011
Winner: Audience Award, Bermuda International Film Festival 2011
In Kingston, Jamaica, in the late 1970s, the two main political parties, the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party enlist the support of gangs to enforce their policies and advance their political agenda. Young Ricky is a single father and a community leader whose gang is aligned to one party. One day he meets Kemala, who belongs to a community controlled by the other party: enemy territory, and the two instantly connect. Kemala encourages Ricky to adopt a more passive approach as Ricky tries to navigate his way through the constant social upheaval that seems ubiquitous in his community. Will their love triumph, or will bigger forces win the day? Based on true events.
Watch the trailer here:
Akwantu: the Journey documents the struggle for freedom of the Maroons of Jamaica who were able to flee the plantations and slave ships to form communities in some of the most inhospitable regions of the island. Poorly armed and outgunned, the Maroons faced down the mighty British Empire led by such brave warriors as Cudjoe and Nanny. Cudjoe who has historically been described as a “short almost dwarf-like man” fought for years to maintain his people’s independence and freedom. However, Cudjoe also held the belief that the only way to secure a stable future for his people would be to negotiate a long-term peace with the British. This way of thinking, some would say eventually lead to the signing of a peace treaty with the British in 1739. Nanny, a spiritual leader skilled in the use of herbs not only managed to keep her people healthy, but safe as well by utilizing effective “guerilla warfare” tactics to defend against the vaunted British firepower. Watch the trailer here:
Two men struggle in Cuba. El Medico, a young Cuban doctor and musician, is trying to get a better life for his family. Michel, a European music producer, wants fame and fortune. It is a fight between two minds; One sees the music as an authentic expression of Cuban culture and history, the other sees it as a commercial product to be sold by any means necessary. Caught in this clash of views is also Coquita, the young dancer whose dreams are ruined because Michel thinks she is not sexy enough, and El Medico’s Mother who thinks her son is betraying the revolutionary ideals that she suffered for.
El Medico realizes that being Michel’s product is not his dream, but he has to decide between doing his duty to the State, as a doctor fulfilling his mothers dream, or being an artist.
Watch the trailer here:
All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Festival’s website.