An exploration of Indigenous displacement and environmental destruction

By Janet Grant

Jael Joseph

The Caribbean Tales Film Festival, a showcase of cinematic excellence featuring films from the Caribbean and its diaspora, is celebrating its 18th year with memorable films that touch many hearts. 

The Festival opened on September 6th and will continue through 22nd, in-person at the landmark HarbourFront Centre in Toronto and online, reaching a global audience. 

Despite the lower attendance numbers, the Festival’s opening night set a high bar for a stimulating and socially relevant experience, exploring themes such as Indigenous displacement and environmental destruction caused by corporate greed. 

One of the four opening night films, “Even River” by Jack Evens, was inspired by Peter Matthiessen’s novel, “Far Tortuga” and takes place in Belize, where foreign interests threaten the culture and the river systems. The film tells a captivating story that examines the complex relationship between humans beings and nature. 

Another film that tackled these issues is Anne-Sophie’s “Here Ended the World We’ve Known” set in Guadeloupe, French West Indies. The film tells the story of a young woman who sought freedom for herself and her unborn child with the help of a Maroon fugitive African. The film depicted the harsh realities of colonialism and environmental degradation.

Jael Joseph’s “Territory” offered a unique perspective on the issue, focusing on the relationships between Indigenous peoples and the land. The film underscored the deep connection between culture, identity, and the environment, inviting viewers to reflect on the consequences of their destruction.

 Closing the night with a powerful punch was “Powerlands” by Ivey Camille Manybeads Tso.This documentary provided a compelling insight into the corporate forces responsible for the environmental

Jack Evans

degradation of Indigenous lands. It highlighted the voices of those fighting against these destructive practices and advocating for change.

The Festival also featured other films that delved into these pressing themes, offering viewers a rich and diverse perspective on the Caribbean’s challenges and opportunities. The films range from 4 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes – presentations  that make the audience laugh out loud or bring them to tears.

The Festival ends in another week. So, there is still time to catch some films at the HarbourFront Center or register for the online option. 

The Festival is a testament to the resilience and creativity of Caribbean filmmakers who used their art to raise awareness and inspire action.

Diana Webley