Trinidadian filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon is hoping Caribbean nationals will turn out in droves to the US premiere screening of “Hero” on May 30 at the Walter Reade Theater where the 26th annual New York African Film Festival will spotlight the unheralded contribution of Ulric Cross, a trailblazer and worthy Caribbean national.
Now making the rounds in London to promote the film, the Canadian resident said she particularly wants fellow TT nationals to attend the film’s outing because she believes they will be proudly enlightened by revelations of the 110 minute feature.
“We are honored to be opening this important festival,” Solomon said. “This is a story that resonates with audiences around the world. From his career in the Air Force, to his time as a lawyer and judge working behind the scenes in the independence movements of Ghana, Cameroon and Tanzania, Ulric’s life blazed a trail that inspires us all.”
Solomon first introduced the film to audiences in Canada, the UK and Trinidad and Tobago.
All screening played to sold out crowds receiving critical acclaim in each market.
Now arriving in the USA, the film is slated to headline New York African Film Fest on May 30.
Included as a major entry to this year’s recognition of the 100th anniversary of the first Pan-African Congress with a showcase of films about Pan-Africanism and global game changers, Cross’s untold contribution adds to the storied legacy of Caribbean contributors to the decolonization of Africa.
Cross left Trinidad in 1941 to become the Royal Air Force’s ’s most decorated then described West Indian navigator. But his life took a different course when, along with a number of other notable Caribbean nationals, he followed the call of history and joined the Pan-African and independence movements sweeping the world in the ’50s and ’60s.
“As we celebrate 50 years of FESPACO, which paralleled the independence movements of Africa, we have to remember that achieving our liberation was integrally tied to the diaspora. In Hero, we get a slice of how our diasporan counterparts advocated for the liberation of the continent,” Mahen Bonetti, African Film Festival, Inc., Executive Director and NYAFF Founder said.
“I want to thank Frances-Anne for shedding light on such a pivotal moment in our history.”
Since the HERO World tour began in February, the film has received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike in Toronto, Trinidad and the UK:
How Solomon happened onto this revealing history could probably provide fodder for a second feature. As she told this insider, it was at her mother’s urging that she was prompted to attempt the project. The benefit of having close family ties helped.
With assurances given, she was able to complete the project and also satisfy her mother’s desire to ensure that Cross received a proper place in the archives that is reserved for trailblazers to TT history.
“Come! Please come,” Solomon said.
“I am sure Hero will make you proud.”
The docudrama boasts an all-star international cast that includes Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicolai Salcedo, in the lead role of Ulric Cross, alongside British stars Joseph Marcell (Fresh Prince of Bel Air), Fraser James (Resident Evil), Pippa Nixon (John Carter), Canada’s Peter Williams (Stargate SG1), and Ghanaian superstars John Dumelo, Adjetey Anang and Prince David Oseia.
A second screening will take place on June 4 at 4:15 at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center,144 West 65th St. where the Trinidadian director will entertain a Q&A session.
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