Film director Sharon Lewis recalls the day when she first saw the novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, at her favourite bookstore in Los Angeles.
‘From the moment I read the first page, I knew then that I had to bring this bold and unique story of a young black teenage heroine growing up in a post apocalyptic Toronto to the screen,” she says.
At the time she was studying film
directing at UCLA.
It took her 15 years to finance the film and bring it to the screen.
Come Saturday, the Canadian premiere of Brown Girl Begins, as the film is titled , will take place at Jackman Hall in the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto.( There will be two screenings – the first at 6 p.m. and the second at 9 p.m.)
Brown Girl Begins is a story about “a young black woman who is trapped in a world forced upon her. Ti-Jeanne, a reluctant priestess, must resurrect Caribbean spirits and survive the possession ritual that killed her mother or her people will die.”
The fantasy elements of Brown Girl Begins have their basis in Caribbean folklore, inspired by Brown Girl in the Ring, the award winning novel written by Nalo Hopkinson.
The cast: Mouna Traore, Emmanuel Kabongo, Shakura S’Aida, Nigel Shawn Williams, Rachael Crawford, Hanna Chantee, Measha Brueggereosman and David Rudder,
After the first screening of the film on Saturday, Sharon Lewis. author Nalo Hopkinson and the stars of the film, will be present at a gala reception at the AGO with performances by musicians featured in the film, including calypsonian David Rudder, blues dynamo Shakura S’Aida and opera singer Measha Brueggergosman.