CaribbeanTales Film Festival goes down the Eden River

By Stephen Weir

Scene from Eden River

It all begins on Wednesday. The Annual Caribbean Tales Film Festival kicks off its 2023 program at Harbourfront, showcasing “Eden River,” a creepy, eerie, suspenseful American movie made on a river.

It is 1961, and three poachers are paddling along a swampy river in Belize in a boat that has seen better days. They have no food, only a bottle of what looks like homemade hooch. They are illegally hunting for green turtles, hoping to score big by selling poached turtle meat.

However, there are no turtles to be found. There is no mosquito repellent, and there is no motor at the stern of the single mast dinghy. Oh yes, and there is no love lost between the three men, even though one of them swears he is the half-brother of one of the other sailors, and the third claims he believes in love, peace and the Bible.

Arguments and a man overboard, accompanied by a musical score about Zombies, leave you wondering at the end of this 20-minute movie if everyone makes it out alive! We will have to wait to see if the film makers make a follow-on feature length movie.

“Eden River” was made on a shoestring (or should we say on a turtle fishing line) budget of $70,000 by American journalist Jack Evans, a 27-year-old filmmaker. The entire film was shot along an infested river in Belize.

This movie was completed last November and has been shown at only four film festivals in France and America. Its Canadian debut will take place in Wednesday at the Toronto Caribbean Tales International Film Festival, 7pm- 10pm opening night.

Also scheduled for Wednesday night are:

  • “Here Ends the World We’ve Known” – a 20-minute drama set in 1645 in Guadeloupe.
  • “Territory” – a 24-MINUTE documentary by Jael Joseph about Dominica’s Kalinago people.
  • “Powerlands” – a 75-minute award-winning documentary made by a Navajo filmmaker investigating chemical iconography.
  • “Iconography: Roy Cape” – an hour-long interview with Trinidadian saxophonist Roy Cape.

The 18th Annual Caribbean Tales International Film Festival is taking place from September 6th to 22nd in Toronto and online. Join us as we delve into urgent narratives on climate change, along with a multitude of diverse stories from the Caribbean and African diaspora. The festival will feature films, premieres, events, and Q&A sessions.