Two of the actors in Joseph jumped at the opportunity to play key roles in the film which premiered in the Caribbean Tuesday night at the Barbados Independent Film Festival.
Both Barbadian Alison Hinds and Jamaican Kenroy Burton were elated when they were contacted by writer, producer and director of the film which was shot in Jamaica, Barbados and Ghana.
The film is an African-Caribbean drama that aims to rebuild relationships between Africa and its Caribbean and diaspora family. It exemplifies the vision of bridging the gap between cultures.
Renowned filmmaker Marcia Weekes reached out to both Hinds and Burton and the rest is history. The two were speaking during an interview conducted at a Press Mix and Mingle held ahead of the Festival’s official opening.
Queen of Soca Alison Hinds said when she read the script she felt strongly that the film was something she needed to be a part of, especially since the character she plays was written with her in mind.
“In my case, Marcia Weekes, the writer, producer and director of the movie, actually called me home one evening. It was kind of out of the blue. She explained that she is writing [a movie] and there is a part she is writing and she has me in mind. She actually wrote the part of Mrs King with me in mind.”
Alison continued: “She was like Alison, I just think that you are the person who needs to play her. I said let me see the script so I can go over it and understand, so I can feel the role and see if it is something I can handle.
“She sent me the script and after I read it I was like: ‘Yes, I definitely want to be a part of it’. The storyline absolutely captured me. Not only the story that is at the foundation of it, but all the other sub stories between various characters. I felt like this was something I really need to be a part of.”
Kenroy has a similar story. Weekes had seen work he did a decade ago and was impressed. He said he was gung ho at the mention of the word Africa.
“There is a film I did ten years ago when I was in high school and Marcia saw it. So she decided she was writing this script with me in mind. She tried contacting me through Facebook but I saw it late…
“My manager called me and said somebody wants you to do a film. She told me it’s a film called Joseph and we going to Africa. I was like going to Africa? Say no more, you don’t have to tell me anything else. I am in. Then I saw the script and was like – this is brilliant. Then she said I would be working with Alison Hinds and Shontelle Layne and I was like… What! It’s a good experience,” Kenroy said smiling broadly.
Internationally acclaimed Barbadian songwriter and singer Shontelle Layne has a significant role in the film as well.
Speaking about the reception of the film in Africa when it premiered in Ghana, Alison said the feedback was extremely positive.
“There were quite a few black Americans who felt very strongly that this is a movie that needs to be seen throughout the diaspora. It is that story of reconnection of us as Black people and the cradle is where the mother land is. Where our true birth place is… Even though we are born in the Caribbean, how did we get here?” she asked.
Kenroy weighed in, saying the stories told by the Caribbean of Africa paint a bad picture which is far from the truth.
“Last year was the Year of Return which brought a lot of awareness to Africa, so now a lot of people are returning to see what Africa is like. You know usually Africa is a scary place for us in the Caribbean so now people in the diaspora get to see this Africa which is completely different from what we think we know. I think people will be drawn to this film because of that,” he said.
The film aims to break into the Nollywood film market and open doors in the Caribbean. It has already secured a distribution deal with Film One Distribution in Nigeria. Releases are planned for next year in New York, Toronto and London. (IMC)