On Saturday, Caribbean Tales World Distribution celebrated its first Caribbean Film Showcase in New York City with the screening of Calypso Dreams and Fire in Babylon.
The wonderful day of film-watching and discussion included a live interview with the Mighty Sparrow conducted by Trinidad-born novelist Elizabeth Nunez, whose eight novel, Boundaries, will be released this summer (more on the interview tomorrow).
Frances-Anne Solomon, founder of CTWD and organizer of the event, hopes that this will become an annual event bringing the work of Caribbean filmmakers to New York audiences. Based on the success of Saturday’s event, I am sure everyone in the audience hopes she makes it happen.
Among the day’s events was a panel showcasing the work of young film-makers. The audience was treated to clips of work by Barbados’ Rodney Smith, who introduced his Dominion Web series, a mystery told in the classic detective noir style (Web Site).
Ian Harnarine of Trinidad and Tobago spoke of his nearly –completed project Doubles with Slight Pepper, a coming of age story about a young boy abandoned by his father who faces the difficult decision of making a donation that can save his estranged father’s life. Antigua’s Melissa Gomes—whom readers may know for her EcoZone—the twelve-episode reality tv series about crucial environmental issues affecting the Caribbean—presented her documentary Silent Music, a portrait of her deaf parents and their family secret. Those present also saw some scenes from Positive and Pregnant, a touching film about HIV/AIDS infection in the Caribbean (see https://repeatingislands.com/2010/12/02/premiere-of-“positive-and-pregnant”-in-tt/).
Two wonderful documentaries were screened during the event: Calypso Dreams, which chronicles the rich and complex cultural roots of calypso music in Trinidad and Tobago, and the riveting Fire in Babylon, a “joyous and uplifting film” that celebrates the Windies sporting triumph against the story of racial and political struggle that served as its background. The two films worked beautifully together—one resonating against the other in their tracing of the emergence of Caribbean culture and identity in the period following independence. As evidence of the growing strength of Caribbean film, they were mesmerizing ambassadors.
The screening of the brilliant Fire in Babylon was preceded by the first showing in the United States of Jerk Chicken, a hilarious animated short by Jamaican native Samuel Stewart. The dazzlingly funny short, narrated with music but no dialogue, tells the tale of a vengeful chicken who has seen all his companions disappear as it battles the Jamaican jerk chicken chef responsible for their demise.
For more on the event and to access the catalogue of Caribbean films available for purchase go to http://caribbeantales-worldwide.com/