Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015: “A Shtetl in the Caribbean”and “Poetry is an Island”


The 4th edition of the Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam (Curaçao IFFR) will take place from March 25-29. The list of Caribbean films will include A Shtetl in the Caribbean by Sherman de Jesus and Poetry is an Island: Derek Walcott by Ida Does. Exact screening times will be announced in the near future.

A Shtetl in the Caribbean tells the compelling story of two childhood friends who grew up on Curaçao, in search for their family history in Eastern Europe. Mark and Tsale, children of Eastern European Jews that fled to Curaçao, travel back to the home countries of their ancestors. In a documentary road-movie across Curaçao, the United States, Belarus, Ukraine and Israel, we witness their discoveries, courage and despair while they are reminded of the sacrifices their parents had to make to provide their family with a better future. This unknown story is revealed in a journey from the desolate wastelands of Eastern Europe to the exotic Caribbean, a contrast metaphoric for the history of Mark and Tsale’s ancestors. A Shtetl in the Caribbean originated from a strong emotion: we are all part of the same family, no matter how different we are. The film is also an homage to Curaçao, a small island with a big heart, and a place that has been a safe haven for strangers. Only in such a place a human being can truly build a home.


Poetry is an Island: Derek Walcott: Derek Walcott, Literature Nobel Laureate has traveled the world while remaining closely connected to his beloved island St. Lucia. As a poet, playwright, painter and even filmmaker, Derek Walcott has been hymning the Caribbean for over 60 years. This documentary presents an intimate portrait of him, set in his beloved native island St. Lucia. The place he always longs for, when he is taken to faraway places by his universally acclaimed work. What moves and inspires this great poet? Who are the people whose lives became poetry through his writings? And how do they experience the gift of language of their friend, their mentor, and their father? This film explores the poetry of Derek Walcott, the landscapes and people that inspire it. The film observes Walcott in places essential to his work and life, and gathers the thoughts of some of his closest childhood friends. Most importantly, this documentary is a celebration of the greatest gift Walcott has given the world: his poetry.

Reviewing “The Poetry of Derek Walcott: 1948-2013” earlier this year in the New York Times, Teju Cole wrote that the poet has “few equals in the use of metaphor” and that, at times, his “writing leaves mere lyricism far behind and rises to the level of prophetic speech.”

Also see Curacao International Film Festival Rotterdam and

For more on the films, see and

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