Bajan film lands US streaming deal
In a first for a Barbadian flick, Auntie, a short film written and directed by Lisa Harewood and produced by Ian Smith, has been acquired by the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) in the United States for streaming online.
The film will premiere on Tuesday, June 10, on www.afropop.tv and www.blackpublicmedia.org to coincide with Caribbean American Heritage Month, and will continue to be exclusively available there over the course of the year as part of the well regarded programme AfroPoP.
In announcing the series launch, Leslie Fields-Cruz, NBPC vice-president of operations and programming indicated that AfroPoP would feature “a small selection of the amazing shorts made by some of the Caribbean’s most promising young film-makers”. Auntie is one of only four short films selected for this inaugural Caribbean shorts showcase.
Throughout the month of June, having started Tuesday, June 3, a new short will be added each week, along with a profile of each of the film-makers. Now in its seventh season, the series is hosted by critically acclaimed American actor Anthony Mackie. Previous seasons have been hosted by the likes of Gaborey Sidibe and Idris Elba.
Auntie is a 16-minute drama that deals with the common, but untold story of the caregivers –– “aunties” –– who look after children, whose parents have migrated, until they are eventually “sent for”. The film, which features Marcia Burrowes and Che-Annika Mayers, won a NIFCA Gold Award last year, and has been screened at festivals all over the world. Writer/director Lisa Harewood expressed her excitement about the deal.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our film and a tribute
to the talent and dedication of the whole team who worked on it,” Harewood said.
“AfroPop showcases some of the best work from around the world and we’re thrilled to have been chosen for their inaugural Caribbean showcase. Auntie has already been heavily featured in the series trailer, and its availability online via this prestigious platform will allow us to reach a huge segment of the Caribbean diaspora, as well as the African American audience in the US.
“We’re encouraging everyone to spread the word to family and friends, to log on and watch it from June 10 and to contribute to a dialogue about the film and the issues raised in it. This is just the start of an entire programme of outreach we have planned for Auntie over the coming year,” the writer/director added.
Harewood was selected and funded to make the film by the Commonwealth Foundation and B3 Media in Britain from over 800 applicants from around the world. The film also received local in-kind support from Barbados Lumber Company, CIBC Offshore Financial Services, SuperCentre Limited and Rubis Inc.