Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Death memories lead to award-winning film

Published:Tuesday | October 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Kevin, the main protagonist in Cargo.
A still from Cargo.

Cargo, a film by Bahamian director Karim Mortimer, won the Amnesty International Human Rights Prize at the recently concluded trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff).

Mortimer said that the story was influenced by a childhood experience - a news story that showed the bodies of Haitians who had washed up on shore in The Bahamas after an ill-fated attempt to get to Miami. The haunting image affected him so greatly that he recreated it for the opening scene in the movie.

Cargo, which played to packed audiences at the ttff, was awarded by a three-person jury. Amnesty International Americas Regional Office, in Mexico).

It tells the story of human trafficking from the point of view of reluctant trafficker Kevin. An American exile with a gambling addiction living in The Bahamas, he begins smuggling Haitians to Florida in an act of desperation to keep his secrets buried and to get out of a financial bind.

Established to support the promotion of human rights in the Caribbean, the Amnesty International Human Rights Prize is awarded to a Caribbean filmmaker whose work best highlights a human rights issue. The award recognises the importance of film as a vehicle for raising awareness about human rights issues and advancing inclusion and social justice.

Pamela Carmona of Amnesty International Americas Regional Office in Mexico said: "Caribbean filmmakers have been fearless in crafting powerful stories of human struggle, sacrifice, and triumph - reaching across cultures and countries, transcending language barriers - to speak eloquently on the issues of human rights and social justice. As long as human rights violations exist, there will always be a need for such films, and this prize is our way of acknowledging the important work being done by filmmakers and activists in the Caribbean region."

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than three million members, supporters, and activists in over 150 countries and territories.

The trinidad+tobago film festival celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities.