The CIFFR is happening this year, from Apr 4 – 7, at The Cinemas Curaçao, in Willemstad.
Caribbean Films @ CIFFR 2013
by Yao Ramesar
Narrative Feature (2006)
T&T, 72 mins
Yao RAMESAR (1963, Ghana) lives and works in Trinidad. Following a master’s degree in directing at the Howard University in Washington D.C., he has made more than a hundred films, TV programmes and experimental documentaries. In his films, he aims to reveal the unique character and culture of the Caribbean and its people. He has received many awards, including the Paul Robeson Award for Best Film. Ramesar teaches film at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.
Watch the trailer here:
SistaGod is a poetic film (virtually without dialogue) that tells the story of Mari, the ‘SistaGod’ of the title. She is the daughter of a wounded US marine and a black nurse, and is growing up in Trinidad with her Hindustani ‘nan’ or adoptive mother. As a young girl, she overcame death having eaten poisonous berries, and from then on has had dreams that predict the future. Her mother is convinced that Mari is possessed by the devil and arranges an exorcism. Then it turns out Mari is pregnant. Her mother dresses her up in a white cotton babydoll costume, complete with mask, to hide her shame. The costume, a traditional carnival character in Trinidad, transforms Mari into SistaGod, a female god with devastating powers. The enchanting voice-over, expressive music and traditional Orisha songs (sung by Ella Andall) contribute to the telling of a magical, highly visual story. Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival plays a major role in the film’s impressive climax.
Children of God
by Kareem Mortimer
Narrative Feature (2010)
Bahamas, 93 mins
In the Bahamas, it seems like paradise: sun-drenched beaches and swaying palm trees. But behind the perfect holiday pictures hides an obscure phenomenon. Homophobia and violence against gay people there everyday. In his impressive feature debut Kareem Mortimer explores this hatred against gay people in the Caribbean in ruthless manner.In the Bahamas, it seems like paradise: sun-drenched beaches and swaying palm trees. But behind the perfect holiday pictures hides an obscure phenomenon. Homophobia and violence against gay people there everyday. In his impressive feature debut Kareem Mortimer explores this hatred against gay people in the Caribbean in ruthless manner. Children of God tells the stories of three very different characters: Lena, the faithful wife of a pastor preaching hatred; Romeo, a handsome young black man who hides his homosexuality from his family; and Johnny, a troubled white artist in search of himself. All three are on their way to the spectacularly beautiful paradise island of Eleuthera. Soon their three worlds come together in unexpected ways. This bold portrait of love, loneliness, tolerance and self-acceptance takes viewers on an eventful journey with a disturbing final.
Watch the trailer here:
by Chris Browne
Narrative Feature (104 mins)
Elections are looming, and in the backstreets of Kingston, Jamaica, tension is rising. Two violent gangs terrorise the neighbourhoods, at the behest of the rival political parties. Young Derrick wants nothing to do with this whatsoever. The only thing he is interested in is becoming the best lightweight boxer and being selected for the Jamaican national team. And its looking good, he has bags of talent. The only problem is that his coach supports a different candidate from his father. Derrick is torn between the two parties and, without realising it, puts his family in danger. Socially committed, realistic action drama Ghett’a Life was shot and financed entirely in Jamaica. All roles are played by Jamaican actors, allowing it to give an authentic impression of life in the ghettos of Kingston. This is director Chris Browne’s second feature, after Third World Cop (1999).
Watch the trailer here:
Quarantine: Another Building #1
by Gabri Christi
Documentary Short (2012)
Curaçao, 9 mins
First part in dance film series, Another Building, that tells stories through dance using historically significant buildings to provide context and location. Quarantine is about an older man who observes his younger self dancing in a building in Curaçao, where enslaved Africans were once quarantined en route to the Americas. About love of dance and featuring the father of choreographer and filmmaker Christa, who always wanted to be a dancer but never did, using a historical building as a trigger and amplifier.
De Wonderboom: Kunst van Capricorne
by Tanja Fraai and Mike Ho-Sam-Sooi
Curaçao, 40 mins
His work has a cheerful appearance thanks to the jaunty brushstrokes and rich use of colour, but make no mistake: there is also a serious undertone. De wonderboom is more than a portrait of the ever-active Antillean artist, poet and planner José Maria Capricorne. It is an homage to his contribution to the arts on Curaçao.
In the film, a whole range of people talk about the influence Capricorne has exerted and continues to exert on the island’s cultural life. Collectors explain what Capricorne’s work does for them. The film is also a strong argument for the importance of arts education – something that can be a great help in developing the identity of the people of Curaçao, Capricorne believes. With this in mind, in 1969 he established the ‘Akademia di Arte’, the first art academy on Curaçao. The academy was forced to close in 2003, an event Capricorne refers to as a ‘cultural crime’.
Watch the trailer here:
This year’s Festival includes some special features to enhance the experience for the audience.
Black & White Digital Photography: The Black & White Digital Photography competition, held for the first time this year, yielded a total of over 740 beautiful entries! The jury’s shortlist selection of six photos in each category can also be seen at this exhibit.
The Magic Lantern Exhibit: The history of the magic lantern starts around 1420 when something that looked like a magic lantern first appeared in a drawing. It was not until the end of the 17th century that a well working model was invented by Christiaan Huygens, and the popularity of the magic lantern, used firstly for entertainment and later for educational purposes, rapidly increased. Certainly for the 19th century audience, the magic lanterns shows were as entertaining as our modern day cinema. The oldest model in the collection is a children’s toy lantern dating from around 1890. By that time candles had already been replaced by kerosene lamps to project the hand-painted glass slides often depicting fairytales or ghostly images. Gradually, the oil lamp was replaced with electric bulbs and after Kodachrome had invented color slides for its slide projectors in the 1930s, the magic lantern quickly disappeared from the stage. The selection on display is part of the private collection of the late Dr. Michel van Veldhoven. Various projectors are employed in working order with accompanying images that are shown either through the projector itself or by means of a digital photoframe.
Fred Fischer Exhibit: In cooperation with the National Archives of Curaçao, a selection has been made from the work of Curaçao’s top photographer from the 1950s. The Austrian born Fischer (1905-1981) fled his country immediately after the annexation by Nazi Germany and eventually ended up in Curaçao. Here he established himself as a photographer with his studio in the Breedestraat in Punda and later at the Schottegatweg Oost, near Saliña. He was a flamboyant character, active in the Curaçao community with a passion for Carnival and an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer as well. His photographs are characterized by a meticulous styling, often using mirrors for lighting even for outside shots. Fischer was a true ‘director’ of the images he created.
Short Movies, BIG Stories: Prior to the Festival, the short movie competition for youth between the ages of 13 and 21 was held again. The best short movies are awarded the Jury Award and are eligible for the Audience Award. The Jury Award winning movies will be screened prior to each main feature nominated for the Yellow Robin Award 2013. The audience will be handed a card to be used to vote for their favorite. The Audience Award winner will receive a ticket and fully paid trip to the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2014.
Safdie Workshops: On the initiative of the US Consulate General on Curaçao a number of film workshops will be organized that will be conducted by the young American filmmakers Ben en Joshua Safdie. Youth between the ages of 13 and 21 are the main target group for these free workshops that will be held on three different locations across the island from 1 April till 6 April. In the weekend during the Festival there will also be one workshop for those aged 22 and up.