As the eldest granddaughter of reggae music’s most iconic figure Bob Marley, Donisha Prendergast grew up in a world that revered the art and life of her grandfather. RasTa: A Soul’s Journey a feature length documentary by director Stuart Samuels is an exploration of Rastafari, the inspiration for Bob Marley’s music and his granddaughter’s desire to dispel any misconceptions about the world of Rastafari. The documentary will have its world premiere at the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma in Montreal , October 18th & 20th. The FNC is one of Canada ’s longest film festivals celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
The film unfolds with Donisha’s personal odyssey to challenge the often cartoon perception of Rastafarians, and her focus on putting the story and message of this movement into a personal and global perspective. In the film Donisha encounters Rastafari communities of all races in Israel , India , Jamaica , South Africa , Ethiopia , Canada and the United Kingdom . In these countries, she meets with men and women who have chosen a Rastafari lifestyle. She explores how the movement evolved in that particular place and ultimately hopes to find her purpose as a young Rasta woman.
The documentary features interviews with British/Jamaican writer and dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, who is strongly influenced by the music and poetry of Jamaica and what he calls “street politics”; Reggae artist and successful entrepreneur Ras Levi-Roots, a Rastafarian who stands for peace, love and harmony amongst all people; Bob Marley’s youngest son Damien Marley , wife Rita Marley; and Dr. Jake Homiak, curator of the exhibit Discovering Rastafari at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute.
Produced by Patricia Scarlett and Marilyn Gray, RasTa: A Soul’s Journey is a documentary that moves away from the more familiar images of Jamaica , towards the various ways in which the Rastafarian movement has gone beyond the tiny Caribbean Island . It reveals the ways in which the message of Rastafari has manifested itself in diverse cultures, how the tenants of Rastafari are rooted in history and how they are made relevant to contemporary issues. The film’s narrative unfolds as a voyage of discovery, driven by a woman’s intense desire to understand the past and make a clear meaning of the present.
RasTa: A Soul’s Journey was produced in partnership with Citytv.