Barrow: Freedom Fighter – a Step by Step produced docudrama is one of Top Ten Best Films of African Diaspora 2017 Film Festival (ADIFF) in New York City. It has also been selected by ADIFF for a European premiere in Paris, France in September 2018.
Truth be told, Saturday, January 14, 2018, was very cold. The streets surrounding Columbia University and Teachers College were almost empty. Indeed, in the evening, some warmly dressed pedestrians ran two blocks from the 116th street train station to the university’s entrance.
Yet, a very appreciative audience of multicultural theatre enthusiasts braved the winter’s cold to view the film, part of a sequel shown at 8 p.m. in the chapel of Teachers College.
The showing of the docudrama preceded the January 21 celebration of the birthday of Barbados’ Founding Father and First Prime Minister and National Hero, the Rt. Excellent Errol W. Barrow, who is idolized in the film for his relentless and courageous fight for the people.
Dorothy Davis, the American niece of Barrow’s now deceased wife Carolyn, and one of the actors in the docudrama attended the evening’s affair. She described the event as timely.
“The guiding principle of Mr Barrow’s visionary leadership is reflected in his famous quote which can be applied to any country in the world, ‘What kind of mirror image do you have of yourself? Let me tell you what kind of mirror image I have of you . . . that the people of Barbados would be able to run their own affairs, to pay for the cost of running their own country, to have an education system which is as good as what can be obtained in any industrialized country, anywhere in the world.’”
Davis also explained that her aunt Mrs Barrow – portrayed in the docudrama by Lisa Arrindell Anderson, a New York-based actress – was more than a fashion designer and first lady:
“ Ms Barrow met Errol W. Barrow at the home of a friend in Toronto and they married the same year. She lived in London for five years while her husband studied at the London School of Economics and raised their children primarily in Barbados. She was admired for being a woman who faced the tough politics of the 1950s with poise and sophistication.
“At her funeral, former Attorney General of Barbados Sir Frederick Smith (now deceased) stated, “She shared Errol’s dream. She never interfered with his dream or his vision for Barbados. By her un-intrusiveness, by her commitment and dedication to Errol during his career, she can go to her grave knowing that she shared in that dream.”
The Best Film Awards were adjudged by members of the audience. Barrow: Freedom Fighter was chosen from among a screening of 61 films from 31 countries during its short run of several weeks.
After the screening, the film’s producer, Marcia Weekes of Step by Step Productions, was congratulated and presented with a plaque and a cheque by Diarah N-Daw Spech on behalf of ADIFF for the Best Film Directed by a Woman of Colour.
Speaking afterwards, a proud Weekes said: “Honestly I was shocked, but excited. We entered the film in this festival knowing that the audiences were not just Caribbean; but at the same time, we wanted to get the film beyond Barbados. The inclusion of Attorney General Eric Holder in the film is another important bridge to America. I would, therefore, like to thank ADIFF for including the film in the festival. ”
Barrow: Freedom Fighter has also been screened in Washington, DC, Toronto, and London and will soon be shown in Los Angeles at the Pan African Film Festival.
The film received further commendations from those attending the after-screening reception ending just past midnight.