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Caribbean American Heritage Month Event – DC Caribbean Filmfest 2009 – June 4, 5, 8, 9, & 10TH, 2009: Washington DC

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In Celebration of Caribbean American Heritage Month Caribbean Association of World Bank and IMF Staff (CAWI), Caribbean Professional Network (CPN), Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), TransAfrica Forum, and AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
Proudly present the NINTH ANNUAL DC-CARIBBEAN FILMFEST–June 4, 5, 8, 9, & 10

Opening Thursday, June 4 at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910 featuring the films HAPPY SAD at 7:00pm and EL BENNY at 9:30pm

HAPPY SAD– When 17-year-old Mandy’s mother is sent to prison, she goes to live with her father’s dysfunctional family, whom she has never known. Her new situation brings about profound changes in the lives of several people, and long-hidden family secrets are revealed as tempers and personalities flare. (Note courtesy of Pan African Film & Arts Festival) DIR Dianah Wynter SCR/PROD Horace Winter; PROD Rodill Clarke. Trinidad and Tobago, 2009, color, 105 min. NOT RATED

EL BENNY– Best Film, 2007 Cartagena Film Festival Official Selection, 2006 Locarno, 2006 Mar del Plata, and 2007 Miami Film Festivals A colorful biopic of one of the biggest legends in Cuban music, 1950s bandleader and all-around mambo king Benny Moré. Exciting music and dance numbers sparkle against the darker passages in Moré’s life, including hard drinking and struggles to retain artistic integrity in the face of those who seek to manipulate him for economic or political gain. DIR/SCR Jorge Luis Sánchez; SCR Abrahán Rodríguez; PROD Iohamil Navarro. Cuba, 2006, color, 132 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

ADMISSION FOR EACH FILM JUNE 4: Tickets $10 General Admission / $9 Seniors, Students (with valid ID), and Military Personnel/ $8.50 AFI Members/ $6.00 Children (12 and Under).

Friday, June 5 at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910 featuring the films RAIN at 7:00pm and SUGAR CANE ALLEY at 9:30pm

RAIN– Raised by her grandmother on bucolic Ragged Island in the Bahamas, teenager Rain goes to live with her estranged mother in Nassau after her beloved grandmother passes away. But her mother leads a dangerous and self-destructive lifestyle, and Nassau turns out to be a very different place from her former home. At her new school, Rain’s track coach (THE SHIELD’s CCH Pounder) becomes a mentor to the youngster, and helps her navigate the challenges and realize her potential. DIR/SCR/PROD Maria Govan; PROD Nate Kohn; Pamela Kohn; Francis J. Kuzler; Molly M. Mayeux. Bahamas, 2008, color, 93 min. NOT RATED

SUGAR CANE ALLEY– Best First Work, 1984 César Awards; Best Actress for Darling Légitimus; and Silver Lion, Best First Work, 1983 Venice Film Festival In 1930s Martinique, José (Garry Cadenet) is orphaned at age 11 and goes to live with his grandmother (Darling Légitimus) in Sugar Cane Alley, a shantytown located next to the fields where the residents perform backbreaking work for little pay. José excels in school, and when he wins a partial scholarship to a top school in the city, his devoted grandmother moves them there, making a home for them out of a packing crate and working even longer hours to make ends meet. Director Palcy (A DRY WHITE SEASON) blends humor and heartbreak in this classic of Caribbean cinema, elegantly balancing sentiment and tough-mindedness. DIR/SCR Euzhan Palcy, after the novel by Joseph Zobel. France/Martinique, 1983, color, 103 min. In French with English subtitles. RATED PG

ADMISSION FOR EACH FILM JUNE 5: Tickets $10 General Admission / $9 Seniors, Students (with valid ID), and Military Personnel/ $8.50 AFI Members/ $6.00 Children (12 and Under).

Monday, June 8 at Charles Sumner School , 1201 17th Street, NW ,  Washington , DC 20036 SARACCA AND NATION: AFRICAN MEMORY AND RE-CREATION IN GRENADA AND CARRIACOU at 6:00pm–FREE, Discussion with filmmaker Merle Collins

SARACCA AND NATION: AFRICAN MEMORY AND RE-CREATION IN GRENADA AND CARRIACOU–An exploration of the role of memory in the creation of contemporary Caribbean culture.  “Saracca” is a village event commemorating the harvest, honoring ancestors and intended to attract a blessing. “Nation” refers to the “Big Drum Nation Dance”, known particularly in Carriacou (an island that is part of the State of Grenada) where African nations are remembered and honored by name.  These cultural performances owe their existence to inherited memory of Africa and to the refashioning or “re-creation” of culture in Caribbean spaces. DIR/PROD Merle Collins,  EDIT Bini Tecle. Documentary. Grenada, 2008, color, 41:36 min. In English. NOT RATED.

Discussion with the filmmaker Merle Collins follows screening.

Tuesday, June 9 at the South Orientation Theater, Visitors Center, U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, DC featuring the film SUGAR PATHWAYS at 6:00pm–FREE, Discussion with filmmaker  Johanna Bermudez-Ruiz

SUGAR PATHWAYS–tells the riveting story of the unwilling migration by Puerto RPRFlags.jpg image by families from the small Caribbean island of Vieques to the U.S. Virgin Islands.  This powerful and vibrant film recounts their will to survive, integrate and contribute to the culture, economy and politics of the Islands through personal testimonials, first time seen archival footage, archival stills, and historic documentation text.  Narrated by actress Lauren Vélez of the Emmy Award-winning Showtime series Dexter. DIR/PROD Johanna Bermudez-Ruiz. Documentary. U.S. Virgin Islands, 2008, color, 80 min. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED.

Discussion with the filmmaker Discussion with the filmmaker Johanna Bermudez-Ruiz follows screening.  follows screening.

Wednesday, June 10 at Charles Sumner School, 1201 17th Street, NW, Washington , DC 20036 ON THE MAP at 6:00pm–FREE

ON THE MAP–debunks the myth of a unified, “laid back” Caribbean culture and contrasts images of beach, golf course and paradise, with the reality of Caribbean living, victimization and abuse. Un/documented Guyanese migrants tell of their migrant experience into Barbados, exposing how Caribbean people treat Caribbean people as “other”. The film speaks out to create awareness of critical issues to improve the human condition, allowing us to co-exist respectfully. DIR/PROD Annalee Davis. Documentary. Barbados, 2006-2007, color. In English. NOT RATED.

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Written by Staff Writer