Film Festival

Through the Barricades

In the midst of the treacherous social protests that have paralyzed Haiti for months, a modest couple must face blocked roads and murderous gangs in the hope of finding a place to give birth safely


Director: Alexandrine Benjamin
Alexandrine is an emergent Haitian filmmaker. She directed Justice for Fara, a short segment from animated series for children, Lakou Kajou, finalist at Prix Jeunesse 2022 and produced by Blue Butterfly. She has just finished, N Ap Boule, a short film made as part of her final thesis for a masters degree in Film Production at the University of Greenwich in England. She is currently working on her first feature, promoting the full emancipation and inclusion of people living with HIV.

Alexandrine est une cinéaste haïtienne émergeante. Elle a réalisé Justice pour Fara, un segment de la série télévisée Lakou Kajou, finaliste du Prix Jeunesse 2022 qui est produit par Blue Butterfly. Elle a travaillé sur d’autres projets tels que Dans La Cour de Vivianne Gauthier, un documentaire réalisé par Marie Claude Fournier qui a remporté plusieurs prix dans de nombreux festivals. Alexandrine vient de finir “N Ap Boule”, un court métrage qui parle d’insécurité en temps de crises socio-politique en Haïti qu’elle a réalisé dans le cadre de sa thèse finale pour l’obtention d’une maîtrise en Production de Film à l’Université de Greenwich en Angleterre. Elle travaille présentement sur son premier long métrage titré “O Négatif”, un film qui explore la non-discrimination des personnes vivant avec le virus du VIH/Sida.

HappySAD in Trinidad


Mandy (Angel Ross), a troubled high-school soccer phenom in Trinidad, has her eyes set on a scholarship to America. Her dreams are derailed when her wayward mother is unexpectedly incarcerated and ships Mandy off to live with a father she has never known on the tiny island of Tobago.

But Mandy’s father fobs her off on yet another relative, her great-uncle Cephas (Bill Cobbs), a colorful, passionate, American ex-pat with a lust for life, but who is much too distracted by his hot, young girlfriend to pay Mandy any attention. As Mandy feels her future slipping away, new chances to break through arise —if only she could get past her anger to seize them.

Director’s bio
Dianah Wynter

Dianah Wynter is a television and stage director. Her feature film HappySad starring Bill Cobbs and Angel Ross, was filmed on location in Trinidad and Tobago, and won a jury prize at the 2010 Pan African Film Festival. Her other movies include the feature film Intimate Betrayal for BET-Starz, and ABC Television’s Daddy’s Girl starring Elise Neal, Lauryn Hill and Ruben Santiago-Hudson, for which she received an Emmy nomination. Episodic series credits include Showtime’s series Soul Food, The Parkers for Paramount Television, and various series for Nickelodeon and Disney.

Her stage credits include the World Premiere of The Interrogation of Nathan Hale at South Coast Repertory, To Take Arms starring Sanaa Lathan, and Mules at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, and at A.C.T. starring Anika Noni Rose at

a film scholar, Wynter’s new book, The Post-Soul Cinema of Kasi Lemmons is available at Barnes and Noble. She is author/editor Referentiality and the Films of Woody Allen published by Palgrave Macmillan. Other publications include “Combat, Couture and Caribbeana in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther” for Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies; “Identifying Stereotypes: The Stories Nielsen and Nickelodeon Tell Black Children” in Communicating Prejudice II, and "James Earl Jones,” “Doc McStuffins,” “Benson,” and "Equal Justice" in Race in American Television: Voices and Visions that Shaped a Nation.

Wynter is a graduate of the American Film Institute and Yale Drama School. She is a full professor at Cal State Northridge, where in 2019 she became the first Black woman to Chair a top film school.



Dampened by office life during a wet Vancouver winter, a genderqueer Trinidadian woman, Marlinn, misses out on the chance to celebrate Carnival season back home. Until, one night, they discover that the power of masquerade is within them no matter where they are.

Director: Lauren Marsden:
Lauren Marsden is a queer Canadian filmmaker and media artist of European and Trinidadian descent. She is currently based in Vancouver, BC, on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. As a storyteller, she focuses on narrative and experimental works that revolve around gender, Caribbean identity, and the human impact on the land.



On the backdrop of civil unrest in the United States, a Jamaican immigrant gives her and her troubled pre-teen a reprieve with his first trip to her homeland. As they ease into the change of pace, Mom gets shocking news that forces her to make a life-changing decision. The short film GETAWAY from writer/producer Malaika Paquiot and director Stephanie Malson explores what it means to be a good mother in extraordinary times.

Director’s Statement:
Stephanie Malson is a multi-hyphenate filmmaker who is drawn to telling ancestral stories. Her recent short film, SLOW BURN, was an official selection of the Gary International Black Film Festival and the Baltimore International Black Film Festival. She produced the festival gem, OURIKA!, which premiered at BlackStar Film Festival. She is a Co-Producer on the upcoming feature documentary, ULRICK, which chronicles the life of Haitian master painter Ulrick Jean-Pierre. Her cinematography is featured in the short experimental film We Are Free Because of Harriet Tubman, which was also an official BlackStar Film Festival selection. Among many work-for-hire projects, she has produced work for Intercultural Journeys, The Debbie Allen Dance Academy, ARRAY, and Metabook. She also teaches Script Writing part-time at Temple University. Stephanie holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Rosemont College.


So in Love

Music Video
Director: Miriam Bavly

Miriam Bavly is the Co-CEO of BreakOut Music and Films, headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA. she is a screenwriter, director, and producer. She has directed countless music videos, and her first feature film is currently on Netflix. In 2021, she wrote and directed two feature films. Miriam graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Soviet Studies. She also attended graduate school at Harvard and earned a masters in Health Policy and Management. She lived and worked in Prague, CSFR for 2 years prior to her management consultant work. Her company makes diegetic music for its film scores. The company’s musicians are Billboard, iTunes, and terrestrial radio charting artists.

Dolla Van

Jordana and Khalid Bibby are two Trinidadian siblings from Brooklyn who have started a dollar van service. Despite much competition up and down Flatbush Avenue, Jordana has the distinction of being the first woman driver. After bickering sibling rivalry style, Jordana and Khalid pick up a colorful and assorted group of passengers that are diverse as Brooklyn itself. The passengers include a gentrifying couple hungry for Roti, a military vet who has been priced out of his apartment, and an eclectic horn wielding man demanding a trip to deserted Floyd Bennet Field airfield where he plans to mystically fly away.

Director: Gabriel Tolliver

Black People Surf?

A documentary that chronicles the renaissance of Black surf culture in Southern California.

It’s no secret that Black people are not the first that come to mind when you think of water activities or surfing. But what if we told you there were communities all around the world where Black folks are meeting at the beach and communing in the water to dispel those ideas?

This documentary follows the founders, instructors, and surfers who are committed to building a more inclusive surf community through their collectives and non-profit efforts. We hope this film will help inspire those who do not know how to swim into changing the tide.

Director: Bailey Williams & swimteam

The Incident

A little girl, who can see the supernatural, is rescued by her grandmother from a dangerous situation.

Director Biography – Emily Smart
Emily Smart grew up in a small town in Michigan but fell in love with the Caribbean and its culture. She has lived in the Caribbean since 2006. Emily has been working in the film industry for almost 19 years in the roles of Editor, 1st Assistant Director, Consulting Producer, and Production Manager /Coordinator. This film represents her decades-long dream of being a writer/director.

The Caribbean in Me

Five Puerto Rican artists share their diverse visions and thoughts on the meaning of making art in the Caribbean, and on the presence of the region in their work. Each artist has chosen for the film a location that connects with their vital experience and perspectives. Through their interaction with these spaces they articulate textures, sounds, recollections and senses of place that deliver a diverse narrative about the experience of living, being and creating art in the Caribbean.

She Playing With Fire

She Playing With Fire is a vibrant tale set inside of a real masquerade “in the Northern home of the Caribbean”- Brooklyn, NYC. When Mark invites Kayla to Prospect Park, his romantic proposal plan spins into chaos as the spirit of Carnival pulls Kayla into the masquerade, and out of his reach. Pulsing drums and larger than life Carnival characters seduce Kayla “to play Mas”, but will she lose her chance at love when she plays a game with unexpected consequences?

Director: Orion Gordon

Orion Gordon is an Emmy award-winning sound engineer, producer, performing artist and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Orion is the CEO of an independent media production company, Rah Productions LLC, which he started in 2008.

Catapum: Nowhere to Fall

From the Colombian coast to New York City, this film is the powerful story of 3 women from 3 generations, who found in the Bullerengue -an ancestral musical tradition- a way to resist, heal and celebrate life.

From their routines and their songs, they tell the story of their lives bringing out themes like race, immigration, legacy, and identity. Their personal experiences converge in collective memory, offering a narrative of the Colombian armed conflict that honors the reconciling power of music.

Director: Palu Abadia
Palu Abadia is a Colombian-born filmmaker and visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She has been a director, cinematographer, and film editor for different projects, including short and long documentaries. She has exhibited her work in festivals and galleries in the USA and abroad. Her personal work ranges from experimental videos to documentary films, specializing in complex topics that intermingle identity, culture, gender, and immigration.

Afro Unidad: Roots & Rebellion

Afro-descendants across eight countries reflect on their roots and culture during an international uprising. Unsatisfied with the limited knowledge about their African heritage, some participate in DNA tests to uncover ancient truths about their ancestors. Afro creatives share reflections from Panama, Jamaica, Peru, the USA, Brazil, Nigeria, Argentina, and South Africa in this documentary about unity. Music and dance across the Afro-diaspora provide a rich flavor and soundscape for the film.

Director: Dr. Amir Whitaker
Dr. Amir Whitaker is a human rights lawyer, film director, and founder of the non-profit Project Knucklehead. Amir has traveled to over 20 countries tracing the influence and music of the Afro-diaspora. In the process, he has taught workshops on Hip Hop and Beatmaking in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Guatemala, and other countries. He is the co-founder of the Afro Unidad, a cultural movement that united Afro-descendants around the world through art and justice. Dr. Whitaker is also a published author and his “Encyclopedia of Afro-Diaspora Music ” compiles over 200 styles of Afro music across the Americas. His research also focuses on the criminalization of Afro culture and the drum throughout history and can be viewed at Amir received his doctorate in Educational Psychology from USC, law degree from the University of Miami, and Bachelors from Rutgers University. He currently works as a lawyer for the ACLU of SoCal and previously worked as a researcher at UCLA.

Daughter of the Sea

After the death of her grandfather, a young woman experiences a spiritual awakening when she is called by Yemaya, the orisha Goddess of the Sea.

Director: Alexis Garcia
Alexis Garcia is an award-winning writer, director, and proud Afro Boricua whose work has spanned both TV and digital. Through her previous work at Univision and current work as Supervising Producer for BuzzFeed’s Pero Like, Alexis has honed expertise in Latinx audience development & storytelling across multiple platforms. She was the creator and showrunner of the Webby Award-winning series, “Mi Quinceañera Come True,” and is a 2022 recipient of the LALIFF Inclusion Fellowship in partnership with Netflix. Alexis is passionate about driving critical conversations that both inform and uplift the Latinx community.


In the spectacular township of Kayamandi in Cape Town, South Africa, Vusi and his younger sister Mbali cope with their mother’s untimely death. The siblings are forced to face the gripping realities of life on their own accord. To fight poverty and societal pity, they decide to make use of their small inheritance by opening a makeshift neighborhood car wash.

The car wash quickly becomes a popular hangout and is frequented by a variety of colorful individuals including a few small-time criminals with big aspirations. All goes well until one day, the entrepreneurial siblings are visited by local thugs who claim to have missed their point of transition, because of the mishap the thugs demand to use the carwash as their alternate delivery location.

The criminal group entrust a briefcase to Vusi and Mbali with strict orders that the briefcase is kept in their possession until a mystery man named “John” arrives to collect it.

Mbali predicts danger yet her brother Vusi sees opportunity and envisions wealth and grandeur. Can these two make an informed decision and overcome their dangerous dilemma?

Writer/Director: Sipho Nuse

Execute Produced by Clinton Wallace

Sipho Nuse, was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and educated at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Film School Africa College.

Sipho’s love of the performing arts started in high school after joining an afterschool drama program, and was kickstarted while attending the prestigious Walker Teka Primary School.

Sipho is an active filmmaker with two short films which has been screen both local and internationally, his debut film “JABU” was screened internationally at the Côte d’Azur Webfest in Cannes, France. “JABU” holds three awards for Best Film, Best Young Filmmaker and Best Action Film.

Sipho’s newest project, “INKABA,” has been making the rounds on the global film festival circuit.

Sipho’s dream is to open a no-fee film school in Capetown and present storytelling opportunities to young filmmakers through the art of cinema.