A report from The Virgin Islands Consortium.
“Paradise Discovered: The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders”, took home top honors for best documentary at the 13th annual Caribbean Tales International Film Festival recently held in Toronto, NiteCap has announced. The award comes a year after St. Thomas native Peter Bailey debuted the documentary on St. Thomas on his birthday on September 16, 2019.
In its Canadian premiere, Unbreakable won amid the competitive field of films presented at the festival which included stories from Jamaica, Rwanda, Haiti, Guadeloupe, USA, Canada, Dominica and Trinidad.
“I thank Caribbean Tales for helping to ensure that what we achieved as a community in the Virgin Islands having survived life’s greatest storms will be celebrated for generations to come as a testament to Caribbean resilience,” said Mr. Bailey upon accepting the award. (View the awards announcement here:https://youtu.be/ML1Uqf6sGyg)
The festival’s founder, Frances-Anne Solomon, who voted for Unbreakable to be honored was recently handpicked by director Ava Duvernay to serve as a judge of the upcoming Oscar Awards.
The Caribbean Tales screening was the 17th stop on Mr. Bailey’s Unbreakable tour and was done in partnership with the USVI Department of Tourism and USVI Economic Development Authority. Other stops on the tour have included Brown University, the College of Charleston, University of Southern California and National Association of Black Journalists Convention.
The award comes on the heels of Mr. Bailey’s appearance on NPR’s “1A” where more than 4 million listeners tuned in as he continued on his year-long crusade to advocate for the US Virgin Islands while the territory rebuilds after 2017’s catastrophic hurricane season that saw the islands devastated by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria. (Listen to full interview: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/04/757523848/hurricanes-and-u-s-territories-in-the-caribbean)
While in Toronto, Mr. Bailey also appeared on Toronto’s NEWSTALK 1010 with acclaimed Canadian journalist Desmond Cole. (Watch the interview here: https://youtu.be/e_AH83NQkFY audio link: https://www.iheartradio.ca/newstalk-1010/shows/desmond-cole-1.1813507)
According to the release, Unbreakable the filmmaker reflects on surviving both Hurricanes Irma and Maria on Mr. Bailey’s native St. Thomas alongside a cross-section of voices across the Virgin Islands. From his 75 year-old mother’s defiant prayers, to Governor Kenneth Mapp advocating to President Trump and high schooler Indira’s compassion for her classmates alongside boxer Julius Jackson cooking up dishes to serve the community, Unbreakable celebrates the unconquerable spirit of the Virgin Islands community, the release said. The story of Anique Thomas-Harrigan who lost her husband Ishmael “Tarik” Harrigan is heart wrenching yet her strength is inspiring. Mr. Bailey has dedicated the film to his father Joseph Bailey who died on September 3rd, 2019.