In Nassau, The Bahamas, the Island House Cinema is hosting the Caribbean Storyteller Series. Tomorrow, August 8 at 5:00pm, they are screening the documentary Nassau over the Hill by Rosemary C. Hanna. Kareem Mortimer writes that this documentary is the story of the fashioning of a people whose ancestors were transplanted to a foreign land under the most dehumanizing conditions and have in a relatively short period changed the history of a former plantation society. Here are excerpts of his interview with Hanna:
How are you connected to this story and how long did it take you to make? I’m connected to the story because I am a product of Over-The-Hill. I was born at our home at the corner of Anderson Street and Goal and spent the first 32 years of my life there. Our family home still stands as one of the few original ones in the area that have not fallen into disrepair. I always loved photography and, after retirement in 2006, became involved in the Social Outreach at my church. During my weekly travels through the old neighbourhood noted rot decay and began to take pictures of the old homes that were still standing.
My book “Pictorial History and Memories of Nassau’s Over-The-Hill” came about as a result of my picture taking exercise, and that process took about two years with the book being launched at Doongalik Studios in February 2013. During the process of conducting interviews for the book my young friend from St. Agnes, Robert Johnson, who did the taping suggested that I do a documentary and that was the genesis of the documentary film “Nassau’s Over-The-Hill”.
I subsequently met Kevin Turnquest when working with him in editing a St. Agnes Church project and mentioned to him my desire to do a documentary based on my book. He in turn introduced me to Patrice Francis who wrote and narrated the script. The process of creating the film took about a year, and it premiered at Government House in February 2014. The film has also been shown at a number of Government schools, at Galleria Cinemas and on Cable 12. Future plans are to show it at the NAGB and in the Over-The-Hill Park at East Street and Mason’s Addition.
What were some of the challenges? The main challenge in producing the film was financial as this was an out of pocket exercise. Quite frankly, had I known beforehand what the final cost would be, I probably would not have gone into the venture. However, I am very happy to have done it as I think it’s so necessary for our people to know their history and some of the people on whose shoulders we all stand, including the personal sacrifices they made in order for us to enjoy the freedoms that we all take for granted today. Happily, the film was well received by all those people who have seen it. There are many more stories to be told.
What impression would you like to leave the audience with? The aim of the film is to educate and make people more aware of our history and I hope that others may be inspired to write their stories or produce educational documentaries.
Kareem Mortimer is an award winning filmmaker and artist who has completed several films including Children of God, Wind Jammers, Passage, Float and The Eleutheran Adventure. He is the President of the production company Best Ever Film and is the curator of the film program at The Island House Cinema, a boutique 48 seat theater in Western New Providence dedicated to showcasing the best in independent, foreign, art, Caribbean and Bahamian film. He is also in development of the feature film Cargo.
Reservations must be made at The Island House at 242.698.6300