Garifuna Movie Wins Audience Award in Italy and Tours Central America

By ARC Magazine Friday, November 1st, 2013 Categories: Film, Reports, Updates
 

The feature film “Garifuna in Peril” produced and directed by Alí Allié and Rubén Reyes screened in Italy this month at the Festival del Cinema Latino Americano di Trieste, winning the audience choice award, has screened at various locations in Central America, and will have its Caribbean premiere at the Bahamas International Film Festival in December. The film follows a Garifuna language teacher in Los Angeles as he struggles to fulfil familial roles while preserving his traditional culture.

E.J. Mejia, Jr. as Garifuna Paramount Chief Joseph Satuyé

E.J. Mejia, Jr. as Garifuna Paramount Chief Joseph Satuyé

Oct. 29, 2013 - LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The feature film “Garifuna in Peril” produced and directed by Alí Allié and Rubén Reyes screened in Italy this month at the Festival del Cinema Latino Americano di Trieste, winning the audience choice award.  This news came while producer Reyes was on a ten city screening tour in northern Honduras where the movie was filmed, and where the majority of the Garifuna live in Central America.  ”The film has now been delivered to the Garifuna community,” Mr. Reyes remarked at a packed screening in Punta Gorda, Roatán, where the Garifuna people originally landed in Honduras after being exiled by the British from their homeland, the island of St. Vincent, in 1797.

Still image from Garifuna in Peril

Still image from Garifuna in Peril

Earlier in the year, Allié and Reyes toured the film in southern Belize, another Garifuna population center, and also participated in the Muestra Internacional de Cine y Video en Defensa de la Vida y el Territorio in Guatemala.

The film is scheduled to screen in the U.S. cities of Atlanta, Detroit and Houston in November, and will have its Caribbean premiere at the Bahamas International Film Festival in December, winding down its year long film festival run which included showings in 12 countries and multiple awards.  The producers are now weighing distribution options for a DVD/VOD release early next year.

Still image from Garifuna in Peril

Still image from Garifuna in Peril

The plot of the film follows the journey of a Garifuna language teacher Ricardo (played by co-director Ruben Reyes) in Los Angeles as he struggles to be a good father, husband and brother while taking responsibility to preserve his native language, traditional culture and community lands against the expansion of tourism.  Ricardo’s plans to build a Garifuna language school on the north coast of Honduras become complicated by the expansion plans of a tourist resort in the area and personal betrayal by a family member pushes him to travel to Honduras and directly confront land issues in tandem with his educational mission.  Meanwhile, Ricardo’s son Elijah (played by E.J. Mejia, Jr.) rehearses a theater play dramatizing an episode from the life of Garifuna Paramount Chief Joseph Satuyé and his last stand against the British on the island of St. Vincent, the same historical events dramatized in William A. Brown’s now-lost play The Drama of King Shotaway.

“Garifuna in Peril” is the first feature film in the Garifuna language, a language proclaimed by UNESCO in 2001 as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

YouTube Preview Image

For more information visit the film’s website and Facebook page.

ARC Magazine
ARC Magazine

ARC Inc. is a non-profit print and online publication and social platform launched in 2011. It seeks to fill a certain void by offering a critical space for contemporary artists to present their work while fostering and developing critical dialogues and opportunities for crucial points of exchange. ARC is an online and social space of interaction with a developed methodology of sharing information about contemporary practices, exhibitions, partnerships, and opportunities occurring in the Caribbean region and throughout its diasporas.