Without hitting the theaters yet, forthcoming film Tula: The Revolt is proving to be quite controversial [see New Film: Jeroen Leinders’ “Tula, the Revolt”]. Jermain Ostiana has written a response to pre-production reviews on the film website; he sees the film, directed by Jeroen Leinders, as an exploitation of Tula, the liberation warrior who sought abolition of slavery in Curaçao. See excerpts with a link to the full post below:
[. . .] As United Nations declared 2011 the year of Afro descendants how in nomber di Dios (for heaven’s sake) can you green light a project of 2 Dutch European filmmakers who came up on this insensitive idea to do a movie about our recently declared freedom fighting national hero Tula? With the help from two Afro-Americans: a screenplay writer Curtis Hawkins and Warrington Hudlin a pioneering black filmmaker, activist and advocate for independent black film movement, who should’ve know better [than] to participate in the exploitation of Tula.
On the website www.tulathemovie.nl they are talking about: “A story representing centuries of conflicted relations between black and white the effects of which still haunt us today.” And it does, as the two Dutch white privileged filmmakers cold heartedly or extreme naively kidnap the opportunity of Afro Curaçaoans or at least Curaçaoans to tell the tales of freedom fighting Tula. [. . .] Was the announcement of this project lucid? No, there has been no transparency whatsoever of the commission in approving the making of ‘Tula The Revolt’. No one knows the criteria, no national hero law has been made public if there is such a law, we the people sure didn’t have democratic participation in it and therefore no one can scrutinize to see if the right procedures are just and were used which resulted in an approval.
A few lines from their summary: “As many slaves were transported and traded through Caribbean transit harbors like the one in Curaçao, this story belongs to them and their descendants it deserves to be told, for it is an important part of history, identity and in the end of our society today.” So they understand the story of Tula is ours, but morals and respect for our own emancipatory path that we as descendants have to walk fade away for a $25 million Hollywood adventure?
[. . .] In 2005 I wrote a poem called: ‘F..k Tula’ because obviously just like now only a small group is genuinely interested in uplifting this heroic character. Every year on August 17, no media will even live transmit or dedicate afterwards a full spread to the commemoration in Holland or in Curaçao; it has no cultural priority at all. The first monument made was in 1963 the second one in 1998 at Rif far away from the public eye, unlike Louis Brion, a Venezuelan national hero who occupies our biggest square in the heart of Otrobanda; sad but true: it took us to overcome an identity crisis of 48 years to proclaim him as a national hero.
[. . .] The re-enslavement of Tula, the greatest fighting spirit of our times, for commercial glory, international fame, is an act of neo-colonial villainy. A regime of critical thinkers and activists who sleep on this will have to deal with this when their ancestors lace them with the consequences. Everyone involved can still correct this injustice.
For full review, see http://triunfodisablika.wordpress.com/