A Grenadian film about Dominica’s indigenous people, the Kalinagos, have been winning international awards and positive reviews from those who have seen it.
The 35-minute long film is titled “New Land: The Kalinago Dream” and so far it has received awards at the Tokyo International Short Film Festival and the Rome International Movie Awards.
It was honorably mentioned at the Munich New Wave Short Film Festival in Germany, as well as official selections at the 2023 ARFF Amsterdam//International Awards, Berlin Lift-Off Film Festival, and the Nouveaux Regards Film Festival.
According to its producers, it takes an on-the-ground look at how the Kalinagos have been fighting to preserve their history and culture among disaster recovery, rapid modernization and invasive cultures that threaten their survival.
Filmfreeway.com describes the film as a documentary that “journeys into the island of Dominica to tell the true story of the last remaining Indigenous people in the Lesser Antilles who have lived in the protected community of the Kalinago Territory for generations. The present population is estimated to be about 3000 people. Despite the harrowing experience of European invasion and colonialism beginning with Christopher Columbus, the Kalinago have survived these destructive genocidal attempts and are still here today celebrating their history and culture.”
It highlights the efforts of MP for the Salybia Consituency, Cozier Frederick and Kalinago Chief Lorenzo Sanford to preserve the Kalinago’s culture, identity, and land against threats like deforestation, industrialisation, and climate change.
The film, which premiered in Grenada on March 9, 2023, is a joint effort between Grenadian filmmaker and Creative Director of the Grenada Film Company, Teddy Dwight Frederick and German production company, Time of Motion.
MP Frederick stressed the importance of telling the story of the Kalinago people from their perspective.
“We were not discovered by [Christopher] Columbus, we were always here. It is hard work to deconstruct what has been taught for years, but we have to tell our story from our point of view,” he said.
Filmmaker Frederick on the other hand, emphasized the importance of keeping the Kalinago conversation alive.
“We hope that we can keep the conversation of Kalinago; we hope that this will be a pilot into making something more,” he said. “Grenada also has a lot of beautiful stories, and we also have Kalinago ancestry and history, and it will be nice to tell our side of the story. So we hope to have a follow-up. This is the story of the Lesser Antilles, and Grenada is also part of the Lesser Antilles, so it will be nice to tell the stories of the Lesser Antilles and include Grenada in there as well.”
The filmmaking team consisted of Teddy Frederick from Grenada, Tom Heinemann from Germany and Josef Sindelka from the Czech Republic.
The film was released in Germany on 14 November 2022, in the Czech Republic on 7 February 2023, and in Grenada on 9 March 2023.
It will debut in Dominica at the World Music Creole Festival 2023 in October.
In the meantime, it will be screened at film festivals worldwide.
See trailer for the film below.