Third Horizon Film Fest Explores Caribbean Identity And Stories

Sep 26, 2018

The Third Horizon Film Festival kicks off in Miami, showcasing stories by independent filmmakers from across the Caribbean. Audiences will have access to documentaries, animation and shorts exploring Jamaican identity, the Haitian revolution, a Guyanese activist's influence on the Black Panther movement and more.

Jason Fitzroy Jeffers is the co-founder of the film fest and he talked to WLRN reporter Nadege Green about the three-day festival, which runs from Thursday Sept. 27 through Sunday. 

WLRN: Every Caribbean country has its own vibe, its own folklore, its own stories ... and you're bringing slices of that in a weekend packed with films. Why did you start this film fest, now in its third year?

JEFFERS:  I produced and co-wrote a short film a few years ago called "Papa Machete" and it went to Sundance, Toronto International, racked up millions of views online, but what we realized is that there were so few outlets for other Caribbean films. And I think that the stories of the Caribbean are so rich and are of particular importance right now, so we decided that we need to create a platform to showcase other creators and storytellers.

There's a short animated film that will be showing called "An Excavation of Us." It brings us to a cave in Haiti and the narration is by Marie Jeanne, a Haitian woman and soldier who fought in the Haitian Revolution. Tell me more about this film.

This is actually the second film that we're showing by the Haitian director Shirley Bruno, one of the most exciting voices in Caribbean film right now. This particular film -- it's an experimental animation that really delves into almost subterranean feelings and expressions that would explode out of the justice that was the Haitian Revolution.

From 1791 to 1804  the slave population of Haiti carried out the world's only successful slave revolution and overthrew their colonial masters from France and defeated Napoleon's armies. I think it is one of the single most important events in world history.

Do you have a favorite film that’s showing, a must-see to you?

You know, there's actually one that's going to be really fun. We just confirmed we will be doing a screening of the 1990 film “Marked for Death,” starring Steven Seagal. And a lot of people have been saying to me, “Why are you showing this action film on the Steven Seagal action film?”

Well, in this film he fights a gang of evil Rastafarians. The thing is this gang of evil Rastafarians, they were based on a real-life gang, called the Shower Posse, that terrorized Miami and New York and Toronto throughout the 80s and 90s. And that gang got their power on the streets in the 1970s, when the U.S. was concerned about the spread of communism through Jamaica so there were guns brought in to arm these gangs and ward off the Reds.

What we'll be doing is, we'll be watching this film, but we'll be doing live commentary during the film with Dwayne Blake. He's the son of one of the real-life gang leaders of the Shower Posse, the gang that inspired this film. It's just a dumb 90s action film. But there's so much political subtext that, you know, I don't think most people realize is there.

So give us a quick primer on how to do Third Horizon right. There are so many offerings and films to see. How do you map this out?

The best way to do Third Horizon is to just clear your weekend. You know, we do not make it easy for you if you have a busy schedule. You're going to have to put that to one side for once and just lay into everything. We start with a big bash on Thursday at Perez Art Museum Miami showing the acclaimed Jamaican documentary "Black Mother,” followed by a huge party.

So the idea with Third Horizon is that you're going to get a lot of heady films that make you think about the world differently and then you're going to leave those films and come party with us and you're going to dance and drink some rum and lift your spirits in a way that you haven't in a while. 'Heady films, sweaty parties' should be our tagline.

For more information about the films that will be showing visihttp://thirdhorizonfilmfestival.com