The Flatbush Film Festival has grown bigger with more films and venues than its previous two successful and sold-out years. This year’s West Indian Edition–held on seven nights between Oct. 25 and Nov. 14 – starts at Harlem’s Maysles Cinema, followed by film screenings in Brooklyn Heights and Tribeca, more at Maysles, with a final screening at Brooklyn College on Nov. 14.
On Nov. 1 at Brooklyn Heights Cinema, two features and a short film are on the schedule. The Trinidadian film, “I’m Santana,” (6:30 and 10:30 p.m.) is brought back by popular demand, a comedy about a digital puppet. At 8:00 p.m., the film “Ring di Alarm,” eight short films about modern day Jamaica made by the New Caribbean Cinema filmmakers collective, will be screened with the short “Cabbie Chronicles” from an animated series about a Jamaican taxi-driver, navigating the absurd complexities of modern Jamaican life.
On Nov. 2, Patricia Benoit’s film on Haitians living in the Diaspora in the 80s, “Stones in the Sun” that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, will screen at 7:15 p.m. at Tribeca Cinema, 54 Varick St. Benoit lives in New York City and used many local actors in her film. “Ring di Alarm” will follow this film at 9:15 p.m.
Other highlights of the Festival are two Cuban subject films – the first for this festival– screening on Nov. 9 at Maysles at 7:15 p.m. “Barrio Cuba” (2005), by the late esteemed Humberto Solas, is a warm human portrait of a society desperately seeking upbeat moments in relentlessly downbeat circumstances. The film provides an invaluable cinematic record of a city that looks on the verge of collapse.
Brooklyn College’s Tanger Auditorium will host the final screening at 3:00 p.m. on Nov. 14. “Doubles with Slight Pepper,” a short family drama will be screened along with the Trinidadian & Tobago film “No Soca, No Life” about a teenage girl from an impoverished community with a fabulous singing voice, honed in the church choir, who must confront family obstacles in her quest to sing Soca. For full film info: www.caribbeing.com/film.
Founder and Executive Director Shelley Worrell, whose parents are from Trinidad, studied anthropology and Caribbean studies at Brooklyn College with graduate studies in media at the New School. Why did she start this festival? “Caribbeans are underrepresented in the media in one of the most significant Caribbean cities in the world – Brooklyn.” This is the motivation for the festival that is a project of the cultural organization caribBeing. After the public reception to the first edition of the Festival at Brooklyn College, with the screening of two Haitian films, Worrell saw the opportunity.
The Festival director is forced to go outside the community to screen films because of an absence of theater screens in the Flatbush area. ”We go where the venues are,” she says, with two added locations to show films, this year. “Last year, we had 500 attendees to our films,” Worrell said, expecting to double the attendence, this year.