The sixth annual ‘Caribbean Film Festival’ showcases diverse talents, subjects

By Titus Falodun Staff Writer | 6/7/2013, 8:27 a.m.
Filmmaker Andrew Brereton's "Born 2 Run" documents Jamaica’s unrivaled love and dominance of track and field.

ATLANTA— Celebrating its appetizing mix of Caribbean culture and films, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s Central Library kicks off the sixth annual “Caribbean Film Festival” on Saturday June 8th at 1 p.m. The screenings continue through June 29th.

“It’s a way for indigenous Caribbean people to tell their own stories,” said event organizer and librarian Monica Foderingham about the month-long series. “Film is just another way of telling peoples’ stories. It’s another form of literature.”

This year’s festival will spotlight a couple filmmakers introducing their screenings, during pre-screening receptions.

Clairmont Chung will be premiering the first-ever Guyanese film in the festival’s history on Sunday June 9th at 2 p.m. His documentary “W.A.R. Stories” partly details pan-Africanist Walter Anthony Rodney’s influential and tragic life.

“By age 38, he did what many of us would have needed two lifetimes to accomplish,” Chung said about Rodney’s impact on the African diaspora.

Chung stated that the film also delves into the conflict between Africa and Europe, as well as capitalism.

According to him, film is a highly potent medium in getting people to absorb and deeply discuss issues that face poor people all over the world.

“Film hits you right away,” Chung explained. “There’s no chance to reminisce go away and come back. Film travels better, draws attention quicker, and assimilates faster [than a book].”

Furthermore, Chung believes Rodney would have relied on the medium to spread his message of Black unity and empowerment.

“Had he had been here now, he would have been a filmmaker too,” Chung said. “I’m absolutely sure of this.”

Andrew Brereton is another filmmaker who is hoping to capture the audience’s attention and foster conversation with his film “Born 2 Run,” which screens on June 16th at 2 p.m.

The film documents Jamaica’s unrivaled love and dominance of track and field.

In the island nation, poverty is the only thing that runs more rampant than the natives themselves. And this running culture leaves a lasting impression on the youth.

“They don’t want to be Peyton Manning [or] Lebron James,” Brereton said about Jamaican children. “They want to be Usain Bolt or Ato Boldon; they want to be people that they see in their country getting all the glory.”

For the elder generations this may come as a shock, but Brereton suggests that Bolt may have a more iconic place in today’s Jamaica than iconic reggae artist Bob Marley.

“In many respects, he has surpassed Bob Marley in popularity,” Brereton said. “He is the modern face of Jamaica.”

In all, there will be seven films shown from this weekend until June’s end. Food, music, and other entertainment will fill out the remaining festival atmosphere.

And for Foderingham, who created the festival in 2008, in order to fulfill the programming requirement for her job, the “Caribbean Film Festival” is not just a series of films that highlight diverse topics and people, every weekend, with Caribbean roots.

Her self-described “passion project” has flourished in Atlanta.

In fact, Foderingham is the lone person choosing each film, without a budget to support the effort. So, her ability to screen films depends on her gaining permission from the rights owners. That is why this film festival is very personal and meaningful to her.

“My daughter says, ‘Mommy, you need to have a theme for your films,’” Foderingham said. “I say to her, ‘My theme is films that won’t get me sued.’”

For more information, please visit http://www.afpls.org/news/981-the-caribbean-film-festival2013. All programs are free and open to the public. The Central Library is located at One Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta, GA 30303.