Breaking Down the Spiral of Silence in Caribbean Audiovisual Sector.
In principle, the Caribbean is a whirl
A whirl of mind and judgment
It is a need for mixture and encounter
And for a convergence of voices
(Creolization, identities, relation in the Caribbean)
The Caribbean and its islands refer us to a plural universe, but at the same time, to a shared identity that results from the circumstances related to a common and exciting history. It’s the kingdom of unexpected events and metaphors: it’s a bridge made of islands in which races and cultures have been interbreeding intensely due to constant migrations. For this reason, the journey makes us find, encounter, meet again, add and synthesize permanently. Everything is transformed to make a rich and different space of the Caribbean: the wonderful world in which what is unique and diverse coexists.
Its culture has been beautifully expressed in music and dance, in plastic arts, in the popular handicraft and literature. But its audiovisual production is much more limited and dispersed in spite of its enormous creative potential and the numerous artists from this Caribbean melting pot that are internationally recognized.
Generally, the Caribbean visual presence has remained out of the hegemonic centers of promotion and distribution. With the exception of Cuba, the film and audiovisual industry in this region of the world has not received a sustained support, even when some films have proved their value and undeniable artistic level in the last century. For this reason, we find often find a fragmented film production, marginally represented, with no access to the international diffusion. The exchanges between Caribbean filmmakers are not as systematic and frequent as the current times need. If this could be possible, mutual knowledge and interaction in the audiovisual production would be more dynamic and productive.
The Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase as a regional Project.
Before this situation, on the occasion of the First Festival of Cuban Cinema that was organized in Kingston, Jamaica (14-18 June 2005), filmmakers together with Cuban and Jamaican cultural authorities agreed about the validity of organizing a regional event that will be a meeting point to our audiovisual production. This event should also serve for mutually knowing and recognizing our identities, starting from visions that go beyond the stereotypes of the Caribbean that were imposed by the big hegemonic centers of audiovisual production and distribution, that leave out the diversity and cultural wealth of the Caribbean countries.
The foundation of this regional event was based on the following principles:
- The film and audiovisual industry can make an important contribution to the knowledge and recognition of our cultures, to the reaffirmation of our identities and to the collaboration and integration at the regional level. The possibility of appreciating works of Caribbean authors inside the region favors the dialog between the different realities of our nations and reveals at the same time the sense of belonging in terms of a common historic and cultural heritage.
- The film and audiovisual creation in the Caribbean can be a decolonizing act, a liberating act, an answer given by thought and autochthonous art to stereotypes that. Since they are foreign visions, they reproduce on the screen a reductionist vision or our societies, histories and cultures. To reclaim the national audiences for the Caribbean film and audiovisual productions is consistent with the aim of developing the educational and cultural level in our countries on the basis of the defense and preservation of the values of our identity and the rich appreciation of our cultural diversity and common spaces.
- The film and audiovisual production in the Caribbean region can contribute to the promotion of universal values as tolerance, respect and dignity, as well as to the enrichment of the artistic innovation and its multiple discourses.
- Cinema, as a means of expression, implies and calls literature, music and all the other arts. In the intellectual wealth of these countries, as well as in their tangible and intangible heritage, lies the possibility of placing the authentic image of the Caribbean region and its people in the global scene thanks to its film and audiovisual productions.
- The revitalization of the film and audiovisual movement in the Caribbean region is an important cooperation and integration project that makes the most of facilities given by the geographical and cultural proximity and the relatively equal economic development level on which there is an undeniable consensus at the academic and governmental levels in the region.
- The presence of Caribbean works and authors in cinemas and other exhibition halls of the region could make possible for filmmakers and audiences to enrich mutually thanks to the knowledge and interaction of our film productions and could also offer valuable opportunities for cooperation and exchange in the framework of the audiovisual production.
Therefore, the Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase is projected a valuable alternative against the isolation suffered by our audiovisual productions and the stereotypes projected about our region image in the Caribbean and in the whole world.