Okay—before we get into the 14th annual CaribbeanTales International Film Festival, I’d like to go on the record with this:
Rattlesnakes may quite possibly be the best movie you’ll watch in 2019. Hands down.
It’s the kind of movie one can’t quite do justice unless it’s seen—to talk about the synopsis alone it sounds good:
Robert McQueen has a wonderful family and he makes a decent living. However, underneath the perfect husband act, he lives a double life and often has affairs with other married women. When one of their husbands finds out his identity, Robert finds himself abducted and tortured for his adulterous affairs.
But oh my goodness is that ever an oversimplification of what might be the wildest ride you can have in 85 minutes! If this makes it out to wider distribution, I can’t recommend this movie enough. But I’d never get to see it without the help of the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival.
The 14th Annual CaribbeanTales International Film Festival—A New Day.
Just one of over twenty films screening September 4-20 at 2019’s CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF for short), Rattlesnakes is a testament to the excellence you’ll find with these stories from filmmakers of colour!
But one shouldn’t be surprised. Caribbean people and their descendants burst with stories to tell for centuries, but it’s only recently that the world’s understanding that those stories can stand on their own without being a “Caribbean” version of anything. Just as Bollywood and Nollywood aren’t Indian or Nigerian versions of what Hollywood has to offer, Caribbean film is an entity entirely unto itself, and I think that’s the point CaribbeanTales’ CEO Frances-Anne Solomon has been trying to drive home for so long.
A filmmaker herself—her 2018 offering “Hero” was a stellar story itself and has been recently touring across the globe—Ms. Solomon’s fought hard to take things to this point.
Telling Caribbean Stories Despite All Odds!
Black stories were in a very different place when the first CaribbeanTales International Film Festival launched in 2006. We were still very much in the shadow of our southern neighbours, with the world thinking Blacks in Canada something made of legend. YouTube had only been out a year and wasn’t the juggernaut that it is today. The channels for Black programming that didn’t come from the United States felt quite limited, and it would take a whole lot of time and effort to change that narrative.
But the world around us today is starting to tell a different story. Here in Toronto, we’re the home of the man who’s topped the charts with his music for eight years running. We’re the home of the 2019 NBA Champions, despite everyone thinking we couldn’t do it. These are but only more recent examples of the fact that Canada’s put the world on notice that our Black culture’s here, and it’s thriving—and where Black culture exists here, Caribbean culture is right there with it.
Our Films. Our Stories. Our Legends. Check Out CTFF ’19 Today!
What many won’t know if they haven’t been up here is the Diaspora of Black culture represented in Canada. I’ve always thought Kardinal Offishall’s “BaKardi Slang” outlined this best:
You think we all Jamaican, when nuff man are Trinis
Bajans, Grenadians and a whole heap of Haitians
Guyanese and all of the West Indies combined
To make the T dot O dot, one of a kind
In Canada, we have so many ties to our roots, and that’s why something like CaribbeanTales hits home. Even for someone like me, born in Mississauga, Ontario, with only the loosest ties to my Jamaican heritage, I can appreciate these stories. They link back to not only my history but those of all my brothers and sisters with some Caribbean in them somewhere.
So while Toronto’s all in a tizzy about TIFF, those aren’t the only stories out there. Get thee to the CaribbeanTales website and immerse yourself in some culture before it’s too late!
Thanks for reading, and until the next, I remain,