A report by Dr. Mary for South Florida Caribbean News.
The lights go down, the screen brightens and the viewer sees it: Several still bodies, lying randomly on the Bahamian beach, possibly dead but fully clothed.
If you had not read what this film is about this scene would immediately peak your interest.
Why all of those are bodies lying on the beach, and even if you did read or saw the previews you would still wonder what happened to these people? Did the boat sink? Did they die in a storm or due to starvation?
Maybe this caption will stop you in your tracks: “I now know that in life we don’t get what we deserve, we get what we negotiate.” This is deep! Kareem J. Mortimer, the producer, has captured his audience from the beginning!
Kareem is a Bahamian film maker with several directorial credits films such as “I am Not a Dummy” and “Children of God.”
Cargo is inspired by a true story centers on a typical parent, eager to see his child succeed.
A good parent’s goal is for their children to do better than they did. They want them to experience greater heights, see better things, have better jobs and live better than they experienced. This is no different from Kevin, the lead actor played by Warren Brown who is a British actor.
The first time you see Kevin in the movie is by the Bahamian sea cleaning fish. A fisherman by trade Kevin struggles to provide for his family. Despite his current financial situation, he is determined to set up a better life for his son, he starts by sending him to prep school; however, financial problems threaten his plans.
The administrator reminds Kevin that he owes several thousand dollars from the previous school semester and she threatens to have his son removed from the school if payment is not received.
Kevin’s solution, win the lottery. He rations that by purchasing a considerable amount of lottery tickets, he’s certain to win big and he’s sure to have enough money to pay for his son’s tuition. Pressured by a payment deadline and his wife, he accepts a proposition from his friend to make extra money.
He later found out that the job he had to do was to smuggle some Haitian immigrants to an island where they would be picked up by another boat to take them to America. And so, the plot thickens.
Supporting actress Celianne (Gessica Geneus), a Haitian, parallels Kevin’s dilemma in that she also wants a good education for her son but due to financial constraints is not able to have him remain in school.
After getting fired from her job she came home not knowing that her son was also sent home early due to non-payment of his tuition. She attempts to speak with the headmaster about her son’s tuition to no avail. She then makes up her mind to leave the Bahamas. Working for only a $150 a week at a restaurant she apparently has been saving for some years for the trip to America with her son. This along with the fear of being deported back to Haiti Celianne makes the decision to have her boyfriend Kevin (Warren Brown) smuggle them to the US. But, the trip is no easy venture and sure to question her faith and threaten her life.
The producers, writers, and actors offer the viewers a visually pleasing view in the hardship of life in the Caribbean. A rich story line sure to make the viewer connects emotionally. Gessica represented her Haitian culture with authenticity and astounding glory. She shines in this film and fully embraces her character. When asked, what enabled you to play this role so well she stated “A bunch of people was carrying me on to say what I wanted to say…It was an incredible experience! I felt it was me, it could have been me, I felt like there were others there with me, pushing me on.”
Kareem was asked, what is the one thing you want people to know about Cargo?
“I want people to watch it. It’s not a social piece. I want mostly for people to see the film and enjoy a unique prospective from human eyes. I want to show a perspective on the issue of human trafficking and smuggling. I wanted to show that these people were real people. We hear about these stories and we never see these stories as humane. I just want to create empathy for people, about this Issue.”
Cargo hits home for many families in and outside of Florida. It was well written, the actors were brilliant, and it sends a message that this could happen to any of us. Human smuggling is real! It is not just happening to those people but with our families, neighbors, and even significant others. We need to have compassion for those who have traveled long and hard to obtain the American dream.
Director: Kareem J Mortimer
Producer: Kareem Mortimer, Alexander Younis, Nicole Sylvester, Kristie Lutz, Trevite Willis
Screenwriter: Kareem J Mortimer
Music: Nathan Matthew David
Cinematographer: Ian Bloom
Editor: Phyllis Housen
Cast: Warren Brown, Gessica Geneus, Omar Dorsey, Persia White, Sky Nicole Grey, Jamie Donnelly, Jimmy Jean Louis