Breaking The Chains Film Festival is a programme of screenings to observe the annual African Holocaust Remembrance Day held on 23 August. This date commemorates an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (modern day Haiti) in 1791.
The screenings will highlight the hidden history and legacy of the enslavement of African people through our Maangamizi and the legacy of the enslavement period on Africa and the Diaspora. The word "Maangamizi" is a Swahili term which speaks to the intentionality of the African holocaust of chattel, colonial and neo-colonial enslavement.
The film festival will feature a mixture of feature films and documentaries. We will incorporate presentations and facilitate engaging post film discussions with audience members.
Friday 12th August 2016 – North London Premiere: Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess (U)'@ Bernie Grant Centre, Tottenham
Conceived by Jamaican-born, New Jersey-based filmmaker, Roy T. Anderson, and history professor, Harcourt T. Fuller, PhD, Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, a one-hour documentary-film, unearths and examine the mysterious figure that is Nanny of the Maroons; Jamaica's sole female National Hero, and one of the most celebrated, but least recognized heroines in the resistance history of the New World.Queen Nanny documents the struggle for freedom by the Jamaican Maroons, led by the indomitable 18th century military genius, Nanny of the Maroons. A spiritual leader, skilled in the use of herbs and guerilla warfare tactics, from her mountain stronghold at the source of the Stony River in the majestic Blue Mountains, she directed the warfare that effectively neutralized the vaunted British firepower.
Following on the heels of Akwantu: the Journey (Action 4 Reel Flimworks, 2012), Anderson's award-winning film on the history of the Jamaican Maroons, Queen Nanny expands on the story of the New World's first successful freedom fighters by shedding light on to one of the leading figures in that struggle.
Friday 19th August 2016 – Yuremein and The Garifuna Journey @ Bernie Grant Centre, Tottenham
YURUMEIN (Homeland): Resistance, Rupture and Repair; the Caribs of St. Vincent in the Caribbean.
YURUMEIN (Homeland) is a documentary film which recounts the painful past of the Caribs on the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean, their extermination at the hands of the British 200+ years ago, the decimation of their culture on the island, and their exile to Central America where much of that culture survived, even thrived. YURUMEIN (your -o- main) also explores what few cultural remnants of the Caribs, also known as Garifuna, still exist on St. Vincent and the beginnings of a movement to teach and revitalize Garifuna language, music and dance, and ritual to younger generations of Garifuna/ Caribs on St. Vincent
The Garifuna Journey
A first voice testimony celebrating the resiliency of the Garifuna people and their traditions. Shot entirely in Belize, the filmmakers worked closely with Garifuna tradition bearers, anthropologists and cultural activists during the research, scripting, production and editing phases of this project. The documentary resulting from this "outsider and insider" collaboration is the first of its kind, one that captures the triumph of spirit of the Garifuna people.
Descendants of African and Carib-Indian ancestors, the Garifuna fought to maintain their homeland and resisted slavery. For this love of freedom, they were exiled by the British in 1797. Despite exile and subsequent Diaspora, their traditional culture survives today. It is a little known story that deserves its place in the annals of the African Diaspora. In authentic Garifuna voices, this documentary presents the history, the language, food, music, dance and spirituality of the Garifuna culture. It is a celebratory documentary, with engaging scenes of fishing, cooking, dancing, cassava preparation, thatching a temple, spiritual ritual, ritual music and dance all demonstrating the Garifuna link to the Carib-African past.
In May of 2001, the United Nations awarded the Garifuna community the title: Proclamation of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Friday 26th August 2016 - They Are We @ Bernie Grant Centre, Tottenham
THEY ARE WE is the story of a remarkable reunion, 170 or so years after a family was driven apart by the ravages of the transatlantic slave trade.
In Central Cuba, proud members of the Gangá-Longobá, a small Afro-Cuban ethnic group, have kept their unique heritage alive. Incredibly, through decades of brutal enslavement, independence wars, and then the denying of all religions after the revolution, they have retained a collection of distinct songs and dances that one of their ancestors brought from Africa as a slave. Each December 17th they still perform them at the San Lazaro ceremony.
After a chance discovery while working in West Africa, director Emma Christopher spent two years showing a film of the Gangá-Longobá songs and dances to several thousand people across Sierra Leone. Eventually, in an isolated village with no road access, one man looked at another in joy and wonder as he watched a recording of the Gangá-Longobá songs and said, “THEY ARE WE!” Then the villagers joined in with others of the Gangá-Longobá songs, still recognizing them clearly despite all the years of separation.
Returning to Cuba, Emma showed her findings to the Gangá-Longobá. “We are not so alone anymore”, said one of their number, woodcarver and artist Alfredo Duquesne. Later he would say that knowing where he came from “is divine.”
In early 2013, after the law changed allowing them to freely leave Cuba, a trip was at last made to visit Sierra Leone. It turned into a remarkable celebration, a rare recognition of the tenacity and resolve of one young girl who once made the awful journey from Africa to Cuba, but never let her memories of home die.
THEY ARE WE tells the story of the Gangá-Longobá and of the village their ancestor called home.
It is the story of how, just very occasionally, a family separated by the slave trade can reunite for the good of all.