Barbadian Documentary chosen for CaribbeanTales Film Incubator Programme
One third of the population of Barbados is estimated to have gone to Panama between 1904 and 1914 becoming the single largest group to build the Panama Canal – one of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Barbadian film maker, Alison Saunders is using the medium of documentary film to tell the world a story that reflects the achievement and sacrifice of those 60,000 Barbadians and thousands of other West Indians who went during construction as well as the experience and issues of their descendants in Panama and Cuba to the present day.
The film “Panama Fever: A Caribbean Journey”, which is currently in production is among the projects selected for participation in the CaribbeanTales 2011 Incubator from October 6 – 11, which assists awardees in promoting their projects at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival.
The documentary will trace the film maker’s personal journey from Barbados to, Panama and Cuba in search of information and descendants of her great uncle, Prince Collymore, who left in 1905 to work on the American phase of construction.
“On this journey I discover both the struggles and triumphs of those migrants, known as ‘Silver Men‘ who laboured under a Jim Crow system of racism. I also learn about the retention of Caribbean culture in a country separated from our islands and the challenges and successes of the current generation who are largely distanced from their Caribbean values and heritage.” Saunders noted.
“I am really looking forward to being able to promote this film which is still in production, at the biggest film festival in the world.” she added.
While in Toronto Saunders will be showing a short on “Panama Fever” produced with the assistance of a grant from Caribbean Export Development Agency and her participation in the CaribbeanTales Incubator in Toronto has also been made possible by Caribbean Tales Worldwide Distribution Scholarship Fund and the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company.