Hairouna Film Festival celebrates Caribbean Cinema: A small island builds a huge movement in Caribbean Film supported by the global brand Soho House.
“Hairouna Film Festival has been the light for us creatives in the current dark ages we are in!”Javed DaSouza, 21, Filmmaker from St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Where is St. Vincent and the Grenadines?
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is in the Southern Caribbean. It is one nation made up of 32 separate islands. It’s home to 109,000 Vincentians and to a pioneering movement in the Caribbean film industry.
Where does the name ‘Hairouna’ come from?
Hairouna is the indigenous name of the island meaning ‘Land Of The Blessed’. We chose this name because our initiative encourages the strengthening of cultural and historical awareness.
What is HFF?
HFF is a women-led social impact project that uses Caribbean film to promote representation, accessibility, environmental awareness, and the empowerment of women. The festival normally happens entirely outdoors in public spaces (beach bars, football fields, car parks). In 2019 we traveled to 9 different communities including prisons. All events are free.
In 2019 (the inaugural year) we got several remarks from our audience that demonstrated the how crucial this work is. People said that they didn’t know Caribbean people made films, or that they’d never seen someone like them on screen or heard their accents.
We believe that representation is key, specifically where it mobilizes people toward building new possibilities for themselves and their communities. We believe in the economic benefits of a film industry to bolster GDP and attract investment. It’s a smart move particularly as video increasingly becomes a standardized form of global communication. As one of our audience members pointed out this year “HFF enhance[s] the profile of the existing film industry and talents in SVG and the region, [as well as promoting the industry as] a significant economic and tourism driver for the country” Nancy Saul Demers.
What films do you recommend?
Last night we screened the first feature animation film made in the Caribbean called ‘Battledream Chronicle’.An Afro-Futurist film by a Martinican filmmaker Alain Bidardfull of action and adventure, a true artistic accomplishment that offers up social commentary on the mechanisms of social oppression. It is available online for free for another 24 hours.
Saturday 27th is our closing night featuring a brilliant collection of narrative films from Jamaica, Trinidad and Martinique. ‘Jerk’ might particularly peak the interest of UK audience members as it describes the disappointment that some immigrants may encounter at the lives they live once they arrive in the UK.
HFF 2021: How has this year been different?
This year HFF has been organized by 4 women across 3 different countries. We’ve pivoted online leading to some unexpected benefits. Our HFF family has expanded to include people across the globe. We may not have connected with them through solely a physical festival. We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support from our audiences and filmmakers.
In addition to the films, we’ve hosted workshops with industry professionals from the Caribbean diaspora in Toronto. We proudly announced the Hairouna Film Lab: the first scriptwriting competition ever made available to Vincentian nationals exclusively. The winner will receive mentorship from highly accomplished industry professionals and prize money of 10,000USD production funds.
We thank our major sponsor Soho House, and our local sponsors Beachcombers, Krew Beer, Freetown Collective, Koru Green, and Argo.
To check out the films we have available please go to Www.linktr.ee/hairounaff