From New York to South Africa, Argentina, St Kitts and Brazil, patrons are singing the praises of the film Panama Dreams.
The Director, Alison Saunders, got a standing ovation from the audience at the United States premiere of the film at the African Diaspora International Film Festival at Columbia University, New York.
Panama Dreams was shown in Brasilia, Brazil and one of the innovations implemented by the Barbados mission this year was the use of an online survey, and the results were extremely positive. When asked how much they enjoyed the movie, from a scale of 1 to 10, the film received a 9.69 per cent rate of satisfaction.
Panama Dreams was shown in Argentina courtesy of the Ambassador of Argentina to Barbados Gustavo Pandiani and in South Africa at the RapidLion Film Festival. It was also shown in St Kitts as a premiere for a fundraiser for the St Christopher National Trust.
HE Liz Thompson, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations, who attended the premier said: “I think Panama Dreams was wonderful, and I was deeply moved to the point to where I laughed, [and] to the point [where] tears came to my eyes and I think it is an important record of our socio-cultural and socio-economic history. It’s a story that so many people who had gone to Panama died out and families have not necessarily told the story, that history being lost. Therefore, it was important to have this level of research and vigour brought to the telling of this story. It really was well thought out.”
Petra Griffith-Roach, Director of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, who also attended the event, said: “I just loved every second of it. I was just sitting at the end of my seat wondering what was going to come next. I thought that the fact that she did it in the first person made it a rather meaningful journey. I understood the motivation for the journey and it actually has left me with the thought that I should go and do some digging into where my family comes from as well.
“I mean genealogical tourism is very important for us. We at the USA office decided that rather than just promoting Barbados as sun, sand and sea, it has to be, you know, a tourism which is responsible, a tourism which is born on an emotional connection for our visitors and it is so interesting that ten million Americans have their roots in Barbados, from this little island that is 166 square miles. I think the path that Alison has now paved, in part, to further prove this story is absolutely sensational and she has helped me to do my job much easier.”
H.E. Ms Tonika Sealy-Thompson, Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil, noted, “The film Panama Dreams, [did] ground-breaking work in putting the focus on the historical connections between Barbados and Latin America and [constructed] a new consciousness about the Barbadian-Latin Diaspora.
“Here in Brazil, Barbadians made a very important contribution to what are now the states of Rondônia and Para, having come here in pursuit of their dreams for a better life at the beginning of the last century and having contributed to the construction of great infrastructure projects such as the Ferrovia de Madeira Mamore in Porto Velho.”
The screening of Panama Dreams for the community of Barbadian descendants will also be a main activity planned for Barbados Week in Porto Velho, which will see the big launch of We Gatherin in Brazil.