Now in its fourth year, the Aruba International Film Festival, will be held this July 2-6. Tailored to both the emerging filmmaker and film aficionado, this year’s host of events will delve into the inner workings of the film industry. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s best, brightest, and boldest, as they reveal the various layers of film pre-production, production and post-production. Each session is an education all its own. (AIFF).
With this post, we have come full circle. Our post on last year’s film festival, was the first film festival post on our blog – we’re happy that we’re around to share this year’s festival with you. Let’s take a look at the Caribbean films in this year’s festival.
The musical film ‘Abo So’ (Only You) 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, ‘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 force them through different tests. For more information, visit the film’s website and FB page.
The film documents the years of failure following the earthquake in Haiti and the promise of the international community, led by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and co-Chair former Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, of the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (CIRH) to “build back better.” On 12th January 2010 a massive earthquake struck Port-au-Prince in Haiti. The devastating toll was 230,000 dead, 300,000 injured and 1.5 million homeless. The arrival of countless international aid organisations and the millions pledged in a donors’ conference should bring about the start of reconstruction. But the clearance of wreckage and resettlement of people is cost intensive and logistically demanding. It proves to be a complex and disputed process. The Haitians themselves have little say in things. Gradually the extent of the humanitarian bubble becomes clear. Frustrations arise and, in the end, the international alliance falls apart. For two years Raoul Peck investigated the state of affairs, interviewing development workers, politicians and the afflicted. With an impressively candid approach he illustrates the impact of the global aid machine on his homeland.
Watch the trailer here:
by Christopher Guinness and Leizelle Guinness
Trinidad & Tobago, 2013
This film is already one of our favorite films of 2013, and is a great follow-up to Pothound. It follows the life of a young super hero in Trinidad & Tobago. This film is a treat. Watch it here:
Another great film. We had the privilege of co-hosting the New York screening of this film a few months ago. It’s a must-see. The audience award winner from the 2011 Aruba International Film Festival, Children of the Wind tells the story of the Bonaire windsurfers, a group of native kids, who under the remarkable mentorship of Elvis Martinus, founder of the Bonaire Aquaspeed Windsurfing club, overcame insuperable odds to not only dominate an inherently elitist sport but to revolutionize it. The film focuses on brothers Tonky and Taty Frans and their cousin Kiri who come from a poor fishing family and began windsurfing before the age of ten, using whatever broken or discarded equipment they could scrounge, and who are now, twenty years later, global superstars. Tonky, Taty and Kiri burst onto the international scene in 2001 when, along with thirty or so other Bonaire sailors, they attended windsurfing’s North American Championship in Florida. Given the island’s economic status, just getting to Florida was an achievement in itself. Once there, they caused a sensation, taking home twenty trophies between them. Given that Bonaire has a population of under 15,000 and had, at the time, no way to fund formal training facilities, provide equipment or pay for travel to events, this accomplishment was simply astonishing. The Frans brothers and Kiri are now among the top five freestyle windsurfers in the world and have become local heroes on their island. More remarkable: Bonaire continues to produce young champions at every age category of the ProKids World Championship, which started on the island. Set against the backdrop of the 2011 Freestyle Windsurfing World Cup on Bonaire, ‘Children of the Wind’ is an exciting tale of kids who refused to be defined by the limits of their circumstance, and consequently transformed a sport.
A chance meeting on a hospital veranda ends up in a painful confrontation between rich and poor. Both patients have the same disease. One of them had a successful operation in Amercia. The other – his gardener – wasn’t as lucky. But who is really better off?This film is about class differences and is made with great empathy. Ultimately, we all have to go the same way, or so you would think. But money does help smooth the path.
by Taba Blanchard
Dominican Republic/Nepal, 2012
This motivational film that captures Iván Gómez, Federico Jovine and Karim Mella on their way to place their beloved dominican flag in the highest of heights, and inspiring a new generation of expeditioneers that will come from the less expected places. In May 2011, a Caribbean expedition made history when the Dominican flag crowned the world’s highest mountain: Mount Everest. This mission inspired three young surfers, sons of fishermen in Nizao, who set out to conquer the highest mountain of the island and of the Caribbean, Pico Duarte. This is the story that unites the two missions. A naïve and epic story, built on motivation, inspiration, determination and achievement. It is an adventure that proves that from the sea to the sky, we all have a dream, a goal, a mountain to conquer. Watch the trailer here.
Passage is a film about a 20- year old woman being smuggled in the hold of the ship who must hide the fact that her adolescent brother is ill to avoid him being thrown off. For more information, visit the film’s FB page.
Watch the trailer here:
Ring di Alarm!, the feature film comprises of a compilation of eight short films by different directors about life in modern-day Jamaica, made by the New Caribbean Cinema filmmakers’ collective. The filmmakers include Desmond Young, Joel Burke, Kyle Chin, Michael “Ras Tingle” Tingling, Michelle Serieux, Nile Saulter, and Storm Saulter. As the festival write-up describes it… Moving from the majestic Blue Mountains, to the gritty ghetto, to the stunning north coast, and spinning stories funny, suspenseful, thrilling and poignant, this is a cinematic mosaic as diverse and complex as the island that inspired it. For more information, visit NCC’s website and FB page. Watch the trailer here:
Songs of Redemption reveals a stream of consciousness as told by Kingston prisoners incarcerated for crimes ranging from ‘illegal possession of firearm’ to ‘murder.’ The prison, once a concrete holding area for African slaves, is devoid of basic human necessities and reflects a reality of unimaginable consequence. The movie opens with a glimpse of city dogs living free in the streets with no means of support, while human counterparts behind the walls are imprisoned with the same lack of support, compounded by total loss of personal freedom. The movie exemplifies the unique transformation of an extremely violent environment into a new state of creative and healing artistic collaborations. Through the compassionate vision of Superintendent Fairweather, prison staff are guided to recognize inmates as human beings whose lives could be renewed and positive outcomes unveiled through the use of creative outlets and skills. Combined with the efforts of Social Activist, Carla Gullotta, programs were initiated to support continuing education such as music production, computer technology, welding and other skill based opportunities.
Interviews by inmates reveal sincere regret for the actions that led to a life of incarceration. The critical turning point is ignited through a growing a sense of self pride and identity, a channel to musically express remorse and the ability to warn the next youth from destructive behavior. The simplicity and complexity of freedom is captured throughout the film as birds fly in and out of the prison grounds only to fly freely away into the blue sky. As one inmate clearly states, redemption comes when the criminal moves from a very dark hopeless place into the light, the light of life and forgiveness.~ Sista Irie, Austin, Texas. For more information, visit the film’s FB page. Watch the trailer here:
Man Hélène, dynamic grandmother and gourmet cook, is hard at work preparing her traditional Sunday soup, which is destined to bring her children and grandchildren together. That evening, the confrontation between her dreams and reality brings a peculiar tone to the meal.
This looks to be a good festival this year. Check it out if you can.