It’s extremely fitting that for our month of Independence we should have a local film in the cinemas – one that’s actually good.
I’m stupidly sentimental and patriotic about Independence. I really can’t take the people who argue about whether we are truly independent and launch into diatribes about what it means. I appreciate that we have a far way to go, but I’m not convinced we are as horrid as some would make us out to be.
Nevertheless, to find the film Chrissy, made locally and starring local characters in a local cinema just tickles me ultra-marine blue, gold and black. It’s just too sweet.
I had the opportunity, thanks to some stories I did during the filming etc, to attend the premier more than a week ago. I went in not quite knowing what to expect, but from the trailer that is all over YouTube, expecting that it would be an interesting production. What I actually experienced was quite an overwhelming feeling of pride for writer and director Marcia Weekes and her cast, inclusive of those who worked behind the scenes or helped to fund the production in any way.
I can speak a little bit more about the background to this film than any other because I interviewed Weekes several times during and after the making of this film. I was interested in the project from the time I heard about it for several reasons. A local film, using local children as the main actors, with popular adults playing the supporting cast, now that’s the stuff that’s worthy of note.
The lead actress, Chrissy, played by Makalah Harrison, was a surprise to me. It was her debut performance on film, though she’d done some acting before and what the director was able to get out of this 10-year-old was simply amazing.
In the role, she was a strong leading lady, clear in the delivery of her lines and frankly should serve as an inspiration to many young girls who need positive influences to emulate.
Her supporting actress, Cara O’Donnell, who plays Melissa Edghill was also a nice addition as a star, because she brought that new element of how to deal with race at such an early age, especially when it turned out that it led her to being bullied by classmates. She too was a girl who had never been on camera before in such a major way and dealt with it admirably for an amateur actress.
In short, the cast of children, from local primary schools was a thing of beauty. The bullies were wonderful in their roles as were the other students in the class.
The teachers made you mad at their refusal to help Chrissy overcome her challenge and to even acknowledge how beautifully gifted she was. There were points where someone yelled at the screen and you could hear other comments and sense the frustration in the audience at what was happening to Chrissy simply because she was poor.
In short, Weekes has a winning product on her hands and one Barbadians should support and take their children to see because it has several important lessons to impart. It’s no Hollywood production, it’s something from right here by us and that alone should make it worthy, if not of accolades, then worthy of at least a look to make a judgement for yourself.
It’s showing in Canada this week and I say congrats to Weekes and her crew for getting that far. firstname.lastname@example.org