Film: “The Price of Memory” to Screen at the Pan African American Film Festival

price of memory

One of the Caribbean films to be screened at the Pan African American Film Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles in early 2015 is a documentary by award-winning director Karen Marks Mafundikwa: The Price of Memory, a poetic documentary exploring the legacy of slavery in Jamaica and the movement for slavery reparations. This film was screened in Jamaica last month and also at the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival 2014.

PAFF is the largest African American film festival in the United States dedicated to the exhibition of Black films. Each year PAFF exhibits more than 150 films made in the U.S., Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Latin America and Canada. In 2013, around 35,000 people from both the Industry and the public attended PAFF. Screenings will take place at Rave Cinemas 15, Baldwin Hills, Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles, California.

Description: “The Price of Memory” is a poetic documentary exploring the legacy of slavery in Jamaica and the movement for slavery reparations. In the 1960s, a group of Rastas petitioned the Queen Elizabeth II for reparations, starting an ongoing demand that spans decades. When the Queen visited Jamaica in 2002 to celebrate her Golden Jubilee celebrations, she was again petitioned by a small group of Rastafarians for reparations for her family’s participation in slavery. Having received no response from the Queen, another group files a lawsuit against her. While these actions unfold, there is a growing movement for slavery reparations internationally. Eventually, the debate for reparations reaches the Jamaican parliament where it spurs further government action. Interwoven between these actions are the filmmaker’s own memories of first consciously encountering the legacy of slavery while growing up in Jamaica. She visits the ruins of former plantations scattered across the island and travels to England, where great profits were made from Caribbean slavery, and finds official forgetfulness. Featured are activists Ras Lion, a mystic Rasta farmer whose great-grandmother told him stories about slavery and Michael Lorne, the attorney who brought the lawsuit.

In a detailed review, Susumba’s Robyn Stephenson writes: “The axe forgets but the tree that has been chopped remembers.” (African proverb). So begins Karen Marks Mafundikwa’s 83 minute documentary, The Price of Memory, a stirring narrative of the Jamaican struggle for reparations from the British sovereignty for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Spanning the length of a decade, the film is at once a homage to early pioneers and an unflinching exposé of the political response their cause engendered. It explores the confluence of efforts from Rastafari, attorneys-at-law and professors of Caribbean history, providing much illumination on a topic often overlooked.

With expert attention to emotional detail, the film gels its broad histories of socio-political strife with the unassuming life of Ras Lion, a prominent reparation activist who has strong personal ties to the movement. He passes on the legacy of reparations, inherited from his great grandmother, to his infant son who grows up before our eyes.

Complementing the sentimental sphere with the logical one, Mafundikwa adds to her credibility with interviews from the likes of Professor of Social History Verene Shepherd, attorney-at-law Michael Lorne, former journalist Barbara Blake Hannah (now head of the Jamaica Reparations Movement), and the esteemed Philmore Alvaranga, one-third of the historic first Rastafari reparations delegation to the African continent in 1963. [. . .]

For full review, see http://www.susumba.com/film-tv/reviews/price-memory-enlightening-and-emotional-0

Also see http://www.paff.org/filmfest/2014-films/price-of-memory-the/ and http://nationalgalleryofjamaica.wordpress.com/category/karen-marks-mafundikwa/

For more information on the PAFF, see http://www.paff.org/filmfest/

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