We 10 Heroes, a documentary produced by the Media Resource Department (MRD), has the distinction of winning the only silver medal in the NIFCA 2011 Awards Film/Video (non-professional).

The award was received last year by Audio Visual Aids Officer, Charmaine Seale, on behalf of the department.

{FILE IMAGE COURTESY UWI} L to R - Simon Alleyne, Marcia Ashby & Collette Applewhaite in an alleged portrayal of Rt Excellent Sarah Ann Gill

A production that extends to about 84 minutes in length, We 10 Heroes was scripted by Audio Visual Aids Officer, Gale Gooding and writer, George Brown. It examines the lives and contribution of the island’s 10 National Heroes – The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sarah Ann Gill, Charles Duncan O’Neal, Bussa, Sir Hugh Springer, Sir Grantley Adams, Samuel Jackman Prescod, Sir Frank Walcott and Clement Payne.

Acknowledging that she was delighted about the MRD’s achievement, Mrs. Seale said the video production was worth viewing by parents and children. As she explained the rationale for the documentary, the officer noted that the department thought it necessary to develop a DVD against the backdrop that most of the material on the Heroes had been produced in written form.

She observed: “There are a lot of children who learn better from hearing as well as seeing; so we decided to combine these modalities of learning.

Additionally, a lot of adults who have never taken the time to read the booklet produced by the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) on the National Heroes can easily gain knowledge from the film about these nine men and one woman.”

In 2010, the Media Resource Department entered NIFCA with “The Arawak Story, an animated film about the early Caribbean settlers and Roly Poly Learns A Lesson: Water Conservation, and captured its first two bronze medals in the film and video category.

Stressing that winning silver was like “winning gold”; Ms. Seale said the heavy
use of animation along with the intriguing information was a “plus” for the film’s success. She explained: “Animation has its advantages when it comes to grabbing the attention of very young children and those adults who are stillyoung at heart’.

Some people may think there is too much information presented in written form, and with today’s child, so interested in cartoons and into technology, we felt it necessary to animate the production.

It’s a good work which can lend much to discussion in class or among students and their peers. Teachers should consider showing it during History or Social Studies lessons.”

During the last week of November, UWI performed "The Betrayal" which was a dramatisation of Rt Excellent Clement Payne whose agitation in 1937 still has bearing on Modern Barbados, Payne was portrayed by the eponymous Michael Field

While pointing out that schools can borrow the DVD from the MRD’s library at
the Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, she noted that the department would
soon be placing the documentary on its website for access by the
general public. “This will allow parents to sit with their children and watch this very captivating production of our Heroes,” she stressed.

A high level of research is evident in the documentary which opens with Bussa detailing life on the plantation in the 19th Century and his hope for freedom.

Slaves are shown working with pick axe and hoe in cane fields and later burning
trash heaps on plantations at Christ Church, St. Philip, St. George, St. John and St. Lucy; signalling time for revolt against slave owners.

We 10 Heroes concludes with the life and times of Sir Hugh Worrell Springer.
However, the documentary need not be viewed sequentially since it is an interactive DVD which allows viewers, at any point, to ‘click on’ and watch any National Hero of choice. Additionally, it can be shown at any given time of the year and not necessarily around National Heroes’ Day, April 28.

Segments on The Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow and Clement Payne
are the longest and more detailed with the former nearly 12 minutes in length and the latter 14 minutes.

In the portrayal of Mr. Barrow, there is the revisit of his friendship with Sir
Grantley Adams and his subsequent resignation from the Barbados Labour Party in
1955, as a result of the slow pace of reform and the direction of policy. The video is also interspersed with photographs of Mr. Barrow and his family, political counterparts as well as Independence, the advent of school meals on the island and the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

In the excerpt on Clement Payne, one sees the mass gathering of people at
meetings; hears the smashing of shop windows and is shown vehicles burning as
rioters take to the street, following the deportation of Mr. Payne to Trinidad that sparked the unrest in 1937.

On the whole, the documentary is enhanced with the incorporation of still
photography, particularly the black and white images in segments on The Right
Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Hugh Springer, Sir Grantley Adams, Sir Frank Walcott and Sir Garfield Sobers. Indeed, the most riveting of all is the inclusion of old video footage showing ‘Sir Garry’ hitting six sixes, in one over, at Swansea, Glamorgan, England, in 1968.

We 10 Heroes benefits further from the musical talent of Roger Gittens who composed the original scores for each National Hero. The story of Bussa that tells of slave rebellion is laced with the African-oriented drumming and a lot of suspense; that of Sarah Ann Gill, the Defender of Methodism is accompanied by religious music; while calypso is the genre used with the extract on Sir Garfield Sobers, the ‘greatest cricketer the world has ever seen’. Other appropriate compositions are also employed.

In the final analysis, We 10 Heroes can be said to have successfully moved text to video, covering most of what is written in history in a very real and poignant way. The 2010 production, soon to be widely disseminated, can only augur well for the future efforts of the Media Resource Department, whose staff with an increased line of films expected out this year, is bent on winning the coveted Gold for NIFCA 2012. {DATA COURTESYJG/BGIS)

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