DC Caribbean Film Fest- June 8-14


Thu Jun 08 2023 at 07:00 pm to Wed Jun 14 2023 at 10:00 pm



Showcasing the best in contemporary Caribbean Cinema
About this Event

DC Caribbean FilmFest – full lineup

Thursday June 8 –Wednesday June 14 (7 Days)


In recognition of Caribbean American Heritage Month in June, AFI Silver is proud to once again host the DC Caribbean FilmFest, now in its 21st year. The Fest is co-presented by the Caribbean Association of World Bank Group and IMF Staff, (CAWI) Caribbean Professionals Network (CPN), Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) and Africa World Now Project.

The 21st edition of the Fest features 11 films representing eight Caribbean countries, opening with a 35th-anniversary screening of ONE HAND DON'T CLAP, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Kavery Dutta Kaul. This newly restored documentary traces the history of calypso and soca music from their birth in the African and East Indian traditions of Trinidad and Tobago to their spread through the country's worldwide diaspora. The restoration is by the Academy Film Archive and the Women's Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film & Television, with the support of the Leon Levy Foundation.

Other highlights include crowd-pleasing Trinidadian comedy CHEE$E; KUMINA QUEEN, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Nyasha Laing; Clement Virgo's sensitive family portrait BROTHER, which swept the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards with 12 wins; Saint Lucian historical drama SHANTAYE'S WORLD; BEBO, a documentary exploring the life and legacy of the great Cuban musician Bebo Valdés; and 2023 SXSW alum KITE ZO A, an immersive exploration of Haitian artistic and religious rituals.

See every film and save with DC Caribbean FilmFest all-access pass, just $100 (nearly $50 in savings!).

This year’s FilmFest includes films from:

Trinidad & Tobago, Guadeloupe

Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica

St. Lucia, Cuba, Martinique

Opening Night - ONE HAND DON’T CLAP

Thurs, June 8, 7:30 p.m.

*Q&A with filmmaker Kavery Dutta Kaul

Kavery Dutta Kaul's newly-restored 1988 documentary traces the history of calypso and soca music from their birth in the African and East Indian traditions of Trinidad and Tobago to their spread through the country's worldwide diaspora — including their popularization in the 1950s by Harry Belafonte and the new, independent distribution networks that arose to serve the expatriate community in the 1980s. Kaul's principal informants are charismatic performers Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts), who found stardom in the UK in the 1950s, and the formidable Calypso Rose (Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis), who overcame prejudice against female performers to emerge as an international star in the 1960s and a Queens-based activist, entrepreneur and touring sensation in the 1980s.

The film also features famed Trinidadian calypsonian Black Stalin (Leroy Calliste), who kept political and social commentary central to his music. Kitchener and Black Stalin have passed, but Rose, at 82, continues to perform and record. This digital restoration from the Academy Film Archive and the Women's Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film and Television renews the vivid colors and dynamic soundtrack of the original 16mm elements. (Note adapted from MoMA.) DIR/SCR/PROD Kavery Dutta Kaul; PROD Bhupender Kaul. U.S., 1988, color, 92 min. In English. NOT RATED

Digital restoration by the Academy Film Archive and the Women's Film Preservation Fund of New York Women in Film & Television with the support of the Leon Levy Foundation; courtesy of Riverfilms.

In Memoriam: Black Stalin (1941–2022)

ONE HAND DON’T CLAP also shown on Sun, June 11, 1:30 p.m.


Fri, June 9, 5:20 p.m.; Mon, June 12, 9:00 p.m.

In Marie Galante, an island off Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, the past speaks. The island is covered with sugar cane fields which still shape the destiny of men; sugar is made from their sweat in the groaning and roaring machines. The workers and planters devote their strength to the survival of their old sugar factory, Grand Anse, a cathedral of rusty iron where they cannot escape the history of their enslaved ancestors. In WORDS OF NEGROES, documentarian Sylvaine Dampierre shares with today's sugar workers transcripts from the 1842 trial of the Grand Anse plantation master, bringing to light a painful part of their heritage. The workers seize and embody these “words of Negroes,” thus enlivening a memory that still forges their present. Although the cane has been the instrument of their ancestors' damnation, against all odds, it will become the instrument of their dignity. (Note courtesy of Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival.) Winner, Best Documentary, 2022 Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival; FIPRESCI Prize, 2021 DOKLeipzig Film Festival. DIR Sylvaine Dampierre; PROD Sophie Salbot. France, 2021, color, 78 min. In French and Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Fri, June 9, 7:10 p.m.; Sat, June 10, 10:00 p.m.; Tue, June 13, 7:15 p.m.

What do you have to do to get your big break? For Skimma, tired of life in his small Caribbean village and faced with impending parenthood after a one-night stand, the answer is easy: you start a W**d empire by stealing goods from your local Rastafarian and storing them in wheels of cheese. The result? Skimma has accidentally created a new, potent strain of W**d. But while his profits are soaring, the police are hot on his trail. Imagine FIRST COW crossed with CITY OF GOD by way of THE HARDER THEY COME and you're not far from Damian Marcano's (GOD LOVES THE FIGHTER) unique sophomore feature. A kaleidoscopic, hilarious and surreal comedy featuring dynamic subtitles, fake adverts and cursed talking trees, CHEE$E is guaranteed to become a new cult classic. (Note courtesy of BFI London Film Festival.) Winner, Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award, 2022 SXSW Film Festival. DIR/SCR Damian Marcano; PROD Alexa Marcano. Trinidad and Tobago, 2022, color, 105 min. In English. NOT RATED


Fri, June 9, 9:25 p.m.; Tue, June 13, 9:30 p.m.

It's 1937 and dictator Rafael Trujillo has ordered the execution of all Haitians on Dominican soil, in what came to be known as the Parsley Massacre. Caught in the middle of this hellish nightmare is Marie, a Haitian woman married to Frank, a Dominican, and pregnant with their first child. Separated from Frank on the eve of the massacre, Marie faces a perilous journey alone through the dense hinterlands of Hispaniola to seek refuge. Led by a delicate performance from Cyndie Lundy as Marie and featuring evocative nighttime photography by Hernan Herrera, the latest film from José María Cabral (HOTEL COPPELIA, WOODPECKERS) is a poignant reminder that those who do not bear witness to history are doomed to repeat it. Winner, Audience Feature Film Award, 2022 Miami Film Festival. Official Selection, 2022 AFI Latin American Film Festival. DIR/SCR José María Cabral; SCR Arturo Arango, Nuri Duarte, Alán González, Joaquín Octavio González, Xenia Rivery; PROD Rafael Elías Muñoz. Dominican Republic, 2022, color, 85 min. In Spanish and Haitian Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Sat, June 10, 1:20 p.m.; Sun, June 11, 3:30 p.m.

On the night of August 14, 1791, a Vodou ritual took place in Bois-Caïman that became the precursor to a mass uprising against slavery and led to the birth of Haiti, the world's first Black independent republic. Since then, ceremonies of artistic and religious expression have been a mainstay of Haitian culture and its resistance to external oppression, poverty and natural disasters. Working hand-in-hand with local dancers, musicians, fishermen, daredevil rollerbladers, surfers and priests, Kaveh Nabatian's (SIN LA HABANA) documentary feature provides a sensory immersion into these sacred rites. Set to the rhythms of the Lakou Mizik group and Joseph Ray and the poetry of Wood-Jerry Gabriel, KITE ZO A is an intoxicating creative and spiritual experience. (Note courtesy of La Distributrice de Films.) Official Selection, 2023 SXSW Film Festival. DIR/PROD Kaveh Nabatian; SCR Wood-Jerry Gabriel; PROD Zach Niles, Joseph Ray. Canada/Haiti, 2022, color, 70 min. In Haitian Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATED

BROTHER (2022)

Sat, June 10, 3:00 p.m.; Wed, June 14, 7:10 p.m.

When his childhood sweetheart Aisha (Kiana Madeira, FEAR STREET) returns to their Toronto neighborhood of Scarborough for the first time in 10 years, Michael (Lamar Johnson, THE HATE U GIVE, THE LAST OF US) is forced to revisit a family tragedy. Growing up as a young Black boy in a neighborhood prone to gang violence and police brutality, older brother Francis (Aaron Pierre, THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD) was Michael's best friend, protector and even parent when their Jamaican mother (Marsha Stephanie Blake, WHEN THEY SEE US) worked night shifts. As they grow older, Francis and Michael's lives diverge, as Francis immerses himself in Scarborough's West Indian community, but there remains a fierce, unconditional love between the brothers and their mother — it's them against the world. As the lonely and closed-off Michael is helped by Aisha to face the memories of a past that he's been shutting out, he may finally be able to break free and love again. Clement Virgo (THE BOOK OF NEGROES, RUDE) movingly adapts David Chariandy's bestselling novel, creating a vibrant world and sensitively exploring complex but unbreakable family bonds. (Note courtesy of BFI London Film Festival.) Winner of 12 Canadian Screen Awards in 2023 including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. DIR/SCR/PROD Clement Virgo, from the novel by David Chariandy; PROD Damon D'Oliveira, Sonya Di Rienzo, Aeschylus Poulos. Canada, 2022, color, 119 min. In English. NOT RATED


Sat, June 10, 5:30 p.m.

Q&A with filmmaker Nyasha Laing

Imogene "Queenie" Kennedy was a priestess in post-colonial Jamaica who catapulted her African spiritual practice into renown. But after centuries of erasure, what remains of the dance between the living and the dead? In the wake of the loss of her mother, filmmaker Nyasha Laing travels into the heart of the Jamaican countryside to research Kumina, an ancestral practice, and one of the most well-known Kumina Queens. Born in St. Thomas in the late 1920s, Queenie would have been discarded as a witch had she lived at any other time in history. For centuries, colonial laws and social taboos made her traditions of Kumina and Revivalism misunderstood and feared. But the end of colonialism in Jamaica created the rare opportunity for her to share her practice on the world stage. She died in 1998. Today, Queenie's legacy is palpable in Jamaican art, music and identity. In this visually emotional film, artists, scholars, practitioners and the filmmaker meditate on the values and struggles inherent in holding onto a spiritual life. (Note adapted from Women Make Movies.) DIR/SCR/PROD Nyasha Laing. U.S., 2022, color, 57 min. In English. NOT RATED


Sat, June 10, 7:30p.m.*; Tue, June 13, 4:45 p.m.

*post-screening desert reception featuring St. Lucian treats sponsored by Caribbean Professional Network

Shantaye Anderson is bold, Black, beautiful, intelligent and passionate about love. Born in rural St. Lucia during post-colonial times, she struggles to process the loss of her mother, who passed away just hours after bringing her into the world. She finds consolation in her loving grandmother, Mam Lucess, who tries to equip her for the world. Her father, Edson Anderson, does his best to care for Shantaye after the passing of his wife. However, when he remarries, the young girl is exposed to the jealous wrath of an unreasonable stepmother. Her life changes forever when she falls in love with Jean Claude Le Marche, the handsome son of the community's white doctor, a charismatic young man who promises to love her until death. All hell breaks loose when Shantaye's family and the community folk realize the pair are in love. To save Shantaye from making what he believes to be a grave mistake, Edson sends her to war-ravaged England, still reeling after World War II. (Note courtesy of Iyanola Pictures.) Official Selection, 2022 Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival. DIR/SCR/PROD Mathurine Emmanuel, based on her novel; DIR Guillaume Rico. Saint Lucia, 2022, color, 120 min. In English and French with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Sun, June 11, 7:30 p.m.; Mon, June 12, 5:00 p.m.

This documentary tells the story of the great Cuban musician Bebo Valdés, whose career as a pianist and bandleader helped cement Latin jazz as a worldwide phenomenon. Utilizing rare archival footage of Bebo himself from his only television interview in Sweden and interviews with his numerous descendants and close friends, director Ricardo Bacallao paints a portrait of a musical genius forced to flee his native country and the art he loved only to find a new beginning late in his life. Interspersed throughout are bouncy renditions of his songs that will leave audiences bopping in their seats. DIR/PROD Ricardo Bacallao. Germany, 2023, color, 93 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Sun, June 11, 9:30 p.m.; Wed, June 14, 9:40 p.m.

On a wintery day in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 2008, a teenage girl named Tessa was mysteriously murdered in her own home. Ten years later, Canadian filmmaker and Tessa's cousin, Miryam Charles, reopens the cold case in this enigmatic, imaginative debut. Combining aspects of monologue, dialogue and reenactment, Charles examines the decade-spanning family trauma through the reconstruction and excavation of her own memories. Evoked in the hazy warmth of 16mm film is an apparition of Tessa (sensitively portrayed by Schelby Jean-Baptiste) haunting, consoling and questioning the aftermath in an imagined coexistence between transformative temporalities and staging, marking a poetic parallel between the African diaspora's disconnection to a collective home and one's isolation from a lost past. Impossible to categorize yet profoundly reflective, CETTE MAISON proposes cinema as a circulating, continuing conversation between filmmaker, subject and viewer. (Note courtesy of AFI FEST.) Official Selection, 2022 SXSW and AFI FEST film festivals. DIR/SCR Miryam Charles; PROD Félix Dufour-Laperrière. Canada, 2022, color, 75 min. In French and Haitian Creole with English subtitles. NOT RATED

OPAL (2021)

Mon, June 12, 7:00 p.m.; Wed, June 14, 5:15 p.m.

In this mesmerizing animated fantasy, there is a mystical kingdom eternally blessed with life and abundance. The source of the magic is the young princess, Opal. Legend says that her happiness ensures the land's wonders and prosperity. Should her joy be lost, and sadness take hold of her heart, darkness and ruin will blight the kingdom. Opal desires an escape from her seemingly perfect, yet perfectly constrained, existence. But at what cost to the people of the realm? And what dire secret within the royal household drives her wish to flee? A pioneer of independent Caribbean animation, Alain Bidard's sumptuous, imaginative fairytale is graced in every detail with a rich and exquisite Afro-Caribbean sensibility, and like every great fairytale, it contains profound psychological undercurrents and confronts childhood trauma. (Note adapted from Fantasia Film Festival.) DIR/SCR/PROD Alain Bidard. France/Martinique, 2021, color, 85 min. In English. NOT RATED

Tickets $13 Tickets on sale at this link:

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Centerhttps://silver.afi.com/Browsing/EventsAndExperiences/EventDetails/0000000084


Where is it happening?

AFI SILVER THEATRE AND CULTURAL CENTER, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, United States

Event Location & Nearby Stays:


USD 0.00

Caribbean Professionals Network

Host or Publisher Caribbean Professionals Network

It's more fun with friends. Share with friends