From New York to South Africa, Argentina, St Kitts and Brazil, patrons are singing the praises of the film Panama Dreams.

The Director, Alison Saunders got a standing ovation from the audience at the United States Premiere of Panama Dreams at the African Diaspora International Film Festival at Columbia University, New York. The film was shown in Brasilia, Brazil and one of the innovations implemented by the Barbados Mission this year was the development of an online survey, and the results were extremely positive. When asked how much they enjoyed the movie, in a scale of 1 to 10, the film was rated with a 9.69 average of satisfaction.

African Diaspora International Film Festival in New York

Liz Thompson, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations, Alison Saunders, Director of Panama Dreams, Genealogist, Sandra Taitt-Eaddy, and Petra Griffith-Roach, Director of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc at the African Diaspora International Film Festival in New York.

Panama Dreams was shown in Argentina courtesy of Ambassador of Argentina to Barbados, Gustavo Pandiani and in South Africa at the RapidLion Film Festival. It was also shown at the St Kitts as Premiere for a fund raiser for the St Christopher National Trust.

Liz Thompson, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations, who attended the premiere said: “I think Panama Dreams was wonderful and I was deeply moved to the point to which I laughed, point at which tears came to my eyes and I think it is an important record of our socio-cultural and socio-economic history. It’s a story that so many people who had gone to Panama died out and families have not necessarily told the story, that history being lost and therefore it was important to have this level of research and vigour brought to the telling of this story. It really was well thought out.”

Petra Griffith-Roach, Director of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, who also attended the event, said: “I just loved every second of it. I was just sitting at the end of my seat wondering what was going to come next. I thought that the fact that she did it in the first person made it a rather meaningful journey. Like I understood the motivation for the journey and it actually has left me with the thought that I should go and do some digging into where my family comes from as well.

I mean genealogical tourism is very important for us. We at the USA office decided that rather than just promoting Barbados based as sun, sand and sea, it has to be, you know, a tourism which is responsible, a tourism which is borne on, you know, an emotional connection for our visitors and it so interesting that 10 million Americans have their roots in Barbados, from this little island that is 166 square miles. I think the fact that Alison has now paved, in part, to further prove this story is absolutely sensational and she has helped me to do my job much easier.”

Tonika Sealy Brazil

The Panamanian Ambassador to Brazil – Elmer Anel Aparicio Rodrigues and HE Tonika Sealy-Thompson, Ambassador of Barbados to Brazil at the screening in Brazil.

Ms. Tonika Sealy-Thompson, Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil, noted, “the film Panama Dreams, because of the ground-breaking work that it does in putting the focusses on the historical connections between Barbados and Latin America and a constructing of a new consciousness about the Barbadian-Latin Diaspora.

“Here in Brazil, Barbadians made a very important contribution to what is now the states of Rondônia and Para, having come here in pursuit of their dreams for a better life at the beginning of the last century and having contributed to the construction of great infrastructure projects such as the Ferrovia de Madeira Mamore in Porto Velho.”

The screening of Panama Dreams for the community of Barbadian descendants will also be a main activity of the events planned for Barbados Week in Porto Velho, which will see the big launch of “We Gatherin'” in Brazil.

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