2013 DC Caribbean Filmfest
May 31–June 2
In recognition of Caribbean Heritage Month in June, AFI Silver is proud to host screenings of the DC Caribbean Filmfest, now in its 13th year. The festival is co-presented by Caribbean Association of World Bank and IMF Staff (CAWI), Caribbean Professional Network (CPN), Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) and TransAfrica.
AFI Member passes accepted at all screenings.
Returning to a "home" they hardly knew, three deportees from very different backgrounds adjust to life in Kingston, Jamaica, after being exiled from their adopted countries. Marva (Tatyana Ali, THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR) struggles to adapt, longing for the two kids she was forced to leave behind in Canada. New Yorker Dunston (Lyriq Bent, FOUR BROTHERS, SAW series) turns to Rastafarianism as he gets caught in an escalating gang war. Everton (Stephan James, DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION), an upper-crust London schoolboy, learns to live life on the streets. A sweltering drama, this film is a timely critique of immigration policy, but more importantly, a redemptive story about discovering one’s roots. Official Selection, 2012 Toronto Film Festival; 2013 Pan African Film Festival.
DIR/SCR/PROD Sudz Sutherland; SCR/PROD Jennifer Holness; PROD Don Carmody, Anita Lee. Canada/Jamaica, 2012, color, 104 min. In English. NOT RATED
Post-screening reception, featuring an assortment of tropical-flavored ice cream, courtesy of Caribbean Professional Network (CPN).
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
A father and daughter are separated but are never truly apart in this touching story of a family tragically divided. Reshma is a troubled teenager in 1980s New York who struggles to discover a sense of self and strength amidst a daunting array of pressures and betrayals. Continually grappling with her tumultuous relationship with her mother, Reshma holds on to her dreams of reuniting with the father in Guyana she has not seen or heard from in 13 years. Documentary filmmaker Shundell Prasad's ambitious feature debut, which spans two continents and three decades, offers an intimate, nuanced look at the plight of displaced immigrant families struggling to create a brighter future for their children.
DIR/SCR/PROD Shundell Prasad; PROD Graziano Bruni. US/Guyana, 2010, color, 102 min. In English. NOT RATED
AKWANTU: THE JOURNEY
In person: filmmaker Roy T. Anderson and co-producer Alison G. Anderson
The Maroons were often referred to as the Spartacus of their time, except that these enslaved Africans won their fight for freedom. Poorly armed and outgunned, these brave warriors engaged the mighty British superpower over an 80-year period and were victorious. This fact is not lost on modern day Maroons like Jamaican-born, New Jersey-based director Roy T. Anderson, who with this film weaves his own personal, ancestral sojourn with a more significant historical journey that tells the tale of his heroic ancestors. Because of its significance, the Jamaican Government officially selected this film to participate in the historic 50th Anniversary of Independence Celebrations in 2012. (Courtesy of Pan African Film Festival.) Winner, Special Jury Award, 2012 Belize International Film Festival.
DIR/SCR/PROD Roy T. Anderson. US/Jamaica, 2012, color, 96 min. In English. NOT RATED
THREE KIDS [Twa timoun]
“Few from outside the country have seen post-Earthquake Haiti in as clear a light as Jonas D’Adesky in his debut film TWA TIMOUN.” –Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival. Three orphan boys, Vitaleme, Pierre and Mikenson, make plans to run away from their orphanage home in Port-au-Prince. But after the 2010 earthquake strikes, there’s no longer a home to run away from. The three homeless street kids soon find that their plight is shared by thousands of their fellow countrymen. Official Selection, 2012 Toronto Film Festival; 2013 Miami Film Festival.
DIR/SCR Jonas D’Adesky; PROD Anthony Rey. Belgium/Haiti, 2012, color, 81 min. In Haitian Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, this film is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a group of young friends during a sexually charged summer of exploration, revelation and change. Malik has been in love with Giselle for a long time, but never had the guts to make a move until his lothario friend Kimani gives him an extra push. Giselle’s sister Mia is in love with Dennis, a deceitful married man with a double life. When a shocking trip to the doctor exposes the secrets, lies and betrayals buried deep within the group of friends, their lives will never be the same. Nominee, Best Diaspora Feature, 2013 African Movie Academy Awards.
DIR/SCR/PROD Omari Jackson. Trinidad and Tobago, 2012, color, 95 min. In English. NOT RATED
HOLDING ON TO JAH
Reggae is the soundtrack that sets to music the history and struggle of the Rasta people, and of all Jamaicans. Candid interviews with some of reggae's greatest singers and musicians tell a collective story of hard times that were endured and overcome thanks to their great faith. The film is a testament to their faith, which for them often meant being disowned by family, shunned by friends and dispossessed by society. This incredible documentary takes viewers on a journey to the heart of the Rasta movement and demonstrates how, against great odds, a message of salvation and redemption was born.
DIR/SCR Roger Landon Hall; SCR/PROD Harrison Stafford. US/Jamaica, 2011, color, 98 min. In English. NOT RATED
In Person: filmmaker Melissa A. Gomez
Every family has secrets, but very few ever get to the heart of what they are. Melissa, the youngest of three hearing children born to Teresa and Kenneth, two deaf parents, sets out to do just that in this searingly personal documentary. Kenneth is suspiciously secretive. Teresa is incredibly lonely. Virtually everyone in the family hides from the truth. The dark secret Melissa eventually discovers unravels everything she thought she knew, causing her to question the reason she began this investigation in the first place. Ultimately, Melissa is forced to answer a difficult question herself: are some secrets best left hidden? Best Documentary, 2012 Caribbean Tales Film Festival.
DIR/SCR/PROD Melissa A. Gomez; SCR/PROD Jay Prychidny; PROD Lianna Walden. US/Antigua and Barbuda, 2012, color, 70 min. NOT RATED
This long-awaited, action-packed historical epic (presented in two 90-min segments with an intermission) depicts the life of the titular Haitian freedom fighter, portrayed by celebrated Haitian actor Jimmy Jean-Louis. Louverture led the first successful slave revolt in world history, defeating the colonial regime of Napoleon Bonaparte and winning independence from France. Known for his military genius and political acumen, Louverture established Haiti as the first black nation in the western hemisphere and…rocked the institution of slavery throughout the “New World” of the Americas. (Courtesy of African Diaspora International Film Festival.) Best Narrative Feature, Audience Award and Best Actor (Jean-Louis), 2012 Pan African Film Festival.
DIR/SCR Philippe Niang; SCR Sandro Agenor, Alain Foix; PROD Jean-Louis Monthieux, France Zobda. France/Haiti, 2012, color, 195 min including one 15 min intermission. In French and Haitian Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATED
THE CONDEMNED [Los condenados]
In this haunting psychological thriller, dark and terrible secrets hidden in an old mansion stir to life when the original owner of the house returns. Beautiful Ana travels to a remote town to transform the abandoned family mansion into a museum detailing her father’s scientific and humanitarian achievements. She discovers that the mysterious caretaker has kept the house in pristine fashion. However, the townspeople—now destitute and helpless—do not welcome her warmly. And neither does the house.
DIR/SCR/PROD Roberto Busó-García; SCR Danielle Schleif, Luis R. Trelles; PROD Adiela Marie, Roy Chacko. Puerto Rico, 2012, color, 95 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED