The Barbadian theater company Step by Step (SBS) is currently visiting the Big Apple in promoting the “riveting, inspirational drama,” “Joseph,” according to Linda Watson-Lorde, Cultural and Community Affairs Officer, Consulate General of Barbados in New York.
Watson-Lorde said “Joseph,” produced and directed by Barbadian Marcia Weekes, “is about self-identity, reconnecting Africa and its Diaspora, reconciliation and reversing the racial stereo-type.
“‘Joseph’ is an African-Caribbean film featuring actors from Ghana, Jamaica and Barbados,” Watson-Lorde said. “The star, Kevoy Burton, is a successful doctor in Jamaica working alongside Mawuli Gavor of Ghana, Christopher MacFarland of Jamaica (his dad), Alison Hinds of Barbados (his mom) and Shontelle Layne of Barbados (his sister).
“This drama sees the family torn apart between the Caribbean and Africa and the discoveries that ensue,” she added.
Watson-Lorde said “Joseph” is “now ready for the various markets and has successfully begun marketing and distribution in West Africa and the Caribbean, and was recently picked up by AMC Cinemas to be screened in the USA.”
“SBS desires to screen the film to the Barbadian diaspora and the wider Caribbean and West African diaspora in the US through the AMC screening opportunity,” she said.
The scheduled dates for this one-week screening is Feb. 28 – March 6.
In the film’s synopsis, Watson-Lorde said Joseph King is a successful, young doctor in Jamaica, being groomed by his parents, also doctors, to take over the family’s private hospital.
“He is hardworking and popular with everyone,” she said. “However, he is haunted by childhood memories of his beloved grandfather in Accompong, the Maroon village from which his family originated.”
Watson-Lorde said Joseph’s father, Christopher King, is dismissive of any idea that connects Jamaicans with Africa.
“He tries to steer Joseph away from ideas of going ‘back to Africa’ because he considers it a backward step for modern, successful people like his family,” she said. “Christopher doesn’t share his son’s affection for his own father and wants nothing to do with the ‘bush medicine’ he was famous for amongst the Maroons.
“Joseph’s yearning for Africa creates family conflict, further exacerbated by his plastic surgeon sister Dahlia’s jealousy over his position as sole heir to the family’s medical empire,” she added.
Watson-Lorde said Joseph’s curiosity about Africa is fueled even more by Kweku, his friend from medical school, who would boast about his homeland Ghana.
“Kweku’s stories contradict what Joseph hears and sees about Africa in the media, making him even more determined to make his own sojourn to Africa,” she said. “A serious tragedy, a chance meeting and an unfulfilled promise drive Joseph towards an uncertain destiny.
“Will Joseph find what he’s searching for?” she asked. “Or, were his grandfather’s dreams based on myths and fables that have no place in present-day Africa? And, will a trip to the motherland be enough to satisfy his longing for an identity that has so far eluded him?”
Over the last 10 years, Watson-Lorde said SBS has produced seven feature-length films.
She said SBS has toured the Caribbean and internationally with these films.
The company’s most recent, “Barrow: Freedom Fighter”, has won a most prestigious award in 2018, the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for Best Diaspora Docudrama, Watson-Lorde said.
She said among its other international awards and nominations is the Programmers Award at the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), the largest Black film festival in the US
Watson-Lorde said “Barrow: Freedom Fighter’s” director also won the award for Best Film directed by a Woman of Color from the African Diaspora International Film Festival in New York (ADIFF).
She said Barrow – Freedom Fighter has also been offered a distribution deal from ArtMattan Films in New York.
In Barbados, “Barrow: Freedom Fighter” captured the coveted Gold Award in the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA), as well as the Governor General’s Award.
For more information, contact Watson-Lorde at (212) -551-4332 or email: lwats