A new era in cinema
Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood – what do you guess where the next global hub for film production will be? Well, it might be... the Caribbean! We present you the upcoming films you shouldn’t miss. Read More
Usually when people talk about the Caribbean, their conversations tend to revolve around sun, sea, sex, cannabis and Usain Bolt.
We rarely hear people speak about the two Nobel Prize winners for literature: Derek Walcott in 1997 and V.S. Naipaul in 2000. Or the 1979 Nobel Prize winner for Economics: Sir Arthur Lewis.
And we never hear a word about the thriving Caribbean film industry.
The truth is that just as West Indians live everywhere in the world, they are also excelling in all fields of work – and 7eme Art is no exception. As a matter of fact, the West Indies and West Indians have been prominent in film for almost 100 years. Indeed one of the first silent films ever made, “The Gambler” in 1916, was produced, written and directed by a West Indian, Bahamian Bert Williams of the celebrated Williams and George duo. Bert was recognized as one of the best and highest paid performers of his day.
We never hear a word about the thriving Caribbean film industry.
Since then there have been literally thousands of international films produced in the Caribbean, from the famous “Danger in Paradise” to James Bond’s Dr. No, featuring a myriad of internationally acclaimed actors, from Sidney Portier and Harry Bellafonte to Geoffrey Holder and Cicely L. Tyson. Then there are the exceptional directors, such as Euzan Palcy, and Oscar winners Sam Mendes and Steve McQueen. While it is true that many of these individuals were and are based abroad, they are no less Caribbean than a French director or actor based in the US is still French.
The Caribbean, a beacon of multi-culturalism, has entered a new era in cinema. It is no longer just the backdrop for international films: it has begun to produce authentic stories with a distintative Caribbean voice for local and international audiences alike. Although this homegrown film industry is still in its “genesis”, the potential is great.
After witnessing the rise of African Cinema over the last 15 years, especially ‘Nollywood’, the Nigerian film industry, which has become the world’s largest producer of film today, I have no doubt that in the near future Caribbean cinema will also make an impact on the world stage.
Get a taste of Caribbean cinema
The West Indies has proven time and time again that it is one of the largest talent pools in the world, and they are hungry to tell their own stories from their own perspectives. The quality of films coming from the region is already astounding (see Better Mus Come, Meet the Jones’, and God Loves the Fighter). Because of their unique multicultural and multi-lingual nature, their stories can touch a broader audience with characters that are easy to identify with.
So the punters, critics, and professionals have all had their say; now it is time for you to have yours!
One of the best sites on the net for Caribbean content is www.caribbeanfilmcorner.com. They have the widest array of Caribbean films from the English, Spanish, French, and Dutch-speaking Caribbean.
Have a look for yourself and make up your own mind.
Some of the must sees of recent Caribbean cinema - watch the trailers on the next page:
God loves a fighter
King Curtis, a vagrant on the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad is constantly ignored by passersby. Charlie, a resident east of the lighthouse, is trying his best to stay on the right path. Dinah, a professional streetwalker, crosses his path in need of help.
Meet the Jones’
Keeping up with the Joneses tells the story of a family (The Joneses) who become reluctant participants in the reality show "Life and Times in the Caribbean".
Better Mus Come
Better Mus' Come captures the deep rooted conflict at the heart of Jamaican politics. It traces the origins of the use of street gangs by political parties in their violent struggle to win the national election.
Power of the Vagina
A documentary exploring gender relation in the caribbean.