Thu | Feb 22, 2018

Four days of Cinema Paradise

Published:Friday | August 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Gloria ‘Mama G’ Simms, who is Nanny in the film 'Queen Nanny – Legendary Maroon Chieftainess'.

Cinema Paradise is one of four main summer arts programmes at Great Huts, an Afrocentric, eco-friendly resort in Boston, Portland. Its owner and designer, Dr Paul Rhodes, is a lover of the performing and creative arts.

The intention is to expose and discuss, by way of film, some of the challenges and triumphs of people in the African and Jewish diasporas. For four nights in August of each year, several films are screened free of cost to the public. It is one of the activities that the resort uses to foster a positive relationship with the residents of the Boston community and beyond. The opportunity is also extended to overseas visitors staying at other resorts. The organisers try to get some of the producers and actors to attend to discuss their work with the audience.

This year's Cinema Paradise started yesterday and continues each day until Sunday. Showtime is 7 p.m.


The series opened yesterday with Roy T. Anderson's Queen Nanny - Legendary Maroon Chieftainess. The groundbreaking documentary, which had its premiere at the United Nations in New York last year, addresses questions surrounding Jamaica's only national heroine. Gloria 'Mama G' Simms, Maroon elder, is Queen Nanny in the film.

Tonight's double bill starts with Rise Up, Luciano Blotta's 2007 documentary that explores the world of underground music in Jamaica. It chronicles the efforts of three performers - Turbulence, Kemoy and Ice Anastasia - to break into the mainstream music industry. It has been screened at several festivals and has won Best Music Documentary at the AFI/Discovery Channel Silverdocs Festival. It was also broadcast on the BBC.

Rasta - A Soul's Journey closes the night. It is about the journeys of Rita Marley and Donisha Prendergast, Bob Marley's granddaughter, to eight countries around the world "to explore the roots and evolution of Rastafari". Prendergast has been to many places where Bob Marley's music resonates with the people. The soundtrack for the film includes the music of Humble, Matisyahu and Damian Marley.

Prendergast is expected to be at Cinema Paradise to talk about the film, which is a recent work.


Rosenwald and Songs of Redemption are on tomorrow night. Songs of Redemption, a documentary, which, according to producers Nice Time Productions Limited "captures the story of redemption and rehabilitation at Jamaican inmates of the General Penitentiary in Kingston. It features riveting interviews and powerful original reggae music created, performed and produced by inmates and wardens". Songs of Redemption has been screened many times internationally and has received much critical acclaim.

Rosenwald debuted in February 2015 at the Washington Jewish Film Festival. It is a documentary directed by Aviva Kempner about the career of American businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald.

Sunday's blockbuster, Toussaint L'Ouverture, will be preceded by a series of short films produced by Studio 174, located in the heart of downtown Kingston. Toussaint L'Ouverture, starring Jimmy Jean-Louis, Aissa Maiga and Sonia Rolland, is a 2012 film written and directed by Philippe Niang. It is about the life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, a black military leader whose victory over the French in the Haitian Revolution made Haiti the first black-governed republic in the Western Hemisphere.