GARIFUNA IN PERIL (USA/Honduras) with filmmakers Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute Seattle, WA
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GARIFUNA IN PERIL (USA/Honduras) with filmmakers Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes
GARIFUNA IN PERIL with filmmakers Ali Allie and Ruben Reyes 7:00 p.m., Friday, April 19 at the 2013 Langston Hughes African American Film Festival Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute 104 - 17th Avenue South Seattle , WA 98144
Please go downstairs for a discussion with the filmmakers in the Great Hall (ground floor) after the screening.
Filmed in Los Angeles, California and Triunfo de la Cruz, Honduras, with debut performances by nearly the entire cast of Honduran and Belizean actors, "Garifuna in Peril" confronts historical and contemporary issues facing the Garifuna community such as education, health and land rights, and is the first feature film with a majority of its dialogue in Garifuna (a language proclaimed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity).
The Garifuna are a mix of West African and Carib-Arawak Indian people who originated on the island of St. Vincent in the 17th Century, and are considered indigenous to the Americas. For over 150 years the Garifuna successfully defended the island against European colonization, but were ultimately defeated by the British and exiled in 1797 to Central America where they now live in the coastal regions of Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua. More recently, large numbers have immigrated to U.S. cities such as New York and Los Angeles.
The plot of the film "Garifuna in Peril" centers around Ricardo, a Garifuna language teacher living in Los Angeles, as he struggles to preserve his fading culture by building a language school back in his home village in Honduras. A business venture with his brother Miguel designed to raise money for the school's construction becomes complicated by the expansion plans of a nearby tourist resort, prompting Ricardo to confront land rights issues in tandem with his educational mission. Family tensions heighten when Miguel waivers in the face of pressure from the resort, and Ricardo's wife Becky objects to her daughter Helena's new boyfriend Gabriel. Historical parallels to the contemporary land struggle are invoked as Ricardo's son Elijah rehearses a stage play about Garifuna hero and Paramount Chief Joseph Satuyé and his last stand against British colonialism on the island of St. Vincent in 1795. This play-within-the-movie was written by Bill Flores of the Garifuna Writers Group of Los Angeles, and is a tribute to The Drama of King Shotaway, the first theater play produced by an African American Theater Company in the United States in 1823 in New York City, also about Garifuna hero Joseph Satuyé (aka Joseph Chatoyer).
Allié also photographed the film, with assistance from Franzwah Estrada in Los Angeles and Angel Castillo in Triunfo de la Cruz, Honduras. The film was edited by Allié, Reyes, Milton Guity, Jr., Katherine Cumpa and Marya Murphy.
The directors say the film is especially important at this juncture in history because the Garifuna language is now one generation away from being lost unless serious action is taken to preserve it. This challenge, along with that of defending the integrity of ancestral lands from exploitative interests, is the focal point of the film's message, highlighting perilous realities not only for the Garifuna, but all indigenous peoples worldwide.
Allié and Reyes originally met at the Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival at a screening of Allié's "El Espíritu de mi Mamá/Spirit of my Mother" (his debut feature film relating to Garifuna culture and spirituality, filmed in Honduras). Reyes questioned why Allié made that film in Spanish and Allié responded by challenging Reyes to make a film in Garifuna language. They ended up collaborating over a decade later, ultimately bringing a unique mix of talent to the table with Allié's cinematographic expertise and Reyes authority as a Garifuna language expert.
Reyes is also the author of "Garüdia", the first Garifuna Trilingual Dictionary (Garifuna-English-Spanish), 20 years in the making, which was released in November 2012 at the world premiere of "Garifuna in Peril" at the London Latin American Film Festival. The screening was held at the Yaa Centre and attended by the Honduran Ambassador to the U.K. and the Belize High Commissioner.
Technical Information Year of Production: 2012 Countries of Production: USA/Honduras Running Time: 99 minutes Languages: 55% Garífuna, 30% English, 15% Spanish Subtitled in: English (Spanish subtitled version available) Written, Produced and Directed by: Alí Allié and Ruben Reyes Additional Writing: William Flores Associate Producers: Dudley Augustine, Ben Flores, Jorge Garifuna, Bennie Davenport Cinematographer: Alí Allié Principal Camera Operators: Alí Allié, Franzwah Estrada, Angel Castillo Editors: Alí Allié, Ruben Reyes, Milton Guity, Katherine Cumpa, Marya Murphy Principal Actor Names / Character Name / Actor's Country of Origin: Ruben Reyes "Ricardo" Honduras Julian Castillo "Miguel" Honduras Gloria Garnett "Becky" Belize Etsil Arnold "Jimmy" Belize E.J. Mejia, Jr. "Elijah/Satuyé" USA Yessica Alvarez "Helena" Honduras Luisito Martinez "Gabriel" Honduras Arleny Escobar "Vera" Honduras Aubrey Wakeling "Richard" United Kingdom Bill Flores "Hillbuck" Belize Araceli Nuñez "Yanisi" Honduras
Screening History (as of February 2013)
London Latin American Film Festival November 2012 (World Premiere) New York African Diaspora Film Festival December 2012 (U.S. Premiere) Santa Fe Film Festival December 2012 (Southwest Premiere) Best of NY African Diaspora Film Festival January 2013 San Diego Black Film Festival February 2013 (West Coast Premiere) Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival February 2013 (Los Angeles Premiere)
Alí Allié is an independent filmmaker and cinematographer who was born in Northern California. After graduating from California Institute of the Arts, he produced and directed several Spanish language short films, Mi Piñata (a Mexican woman's tragicomedic birthday fantasy) and Agua en la Villa (a montage of water usage in an orphanage in Honduras), both of which played at major Latin American film festivals. He then went on to direct the first dramatic feature film relating to Garifuna culture and spirituality, "El Espíritu de mi Mamá" (Spirit of my Mother), filmed in Honduras, which won awards at film festivals worldwide. More recently Alí has been working as a cinematographer on several independent films such as Canary and Amity, and with young people in the field of video production and multimedia at the Blazer Learning Center in South L.A.
Ruben Reyes is a Garifuna scholar and educator who was born in Tela, Honduras with extensive knowledge of the Garifuna culture and history and is an expert in Garifuna language. He has taught Garifuna language classes in Los Angeles in association with the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation and also produced "The Sásamu Show," a weekly program of interviews on GariTV.com about the Garifuna culture and issues in the community. In 2012, Ruben published the first Trilingual Garifuna Dictionary (Garifuna/English/Spanish), which he spent 20 years compiling and editing. He is also a songwriter and artist, designing the Garifuna flag emblem seen in the movie "Garifuna in Peril". He has also translated the National Anthems of Honduras, Guatemala and the United States into Garifuna, and co-founded the Garifuna Museum of Los Angeles.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (View)
104 17th Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98144