By Nina Kalirai
The opening night of the 13th CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF) was a feast to many a movie lover. The festival rolled out at the Royal Theatre on College Street, with teasers of pitches from filmmakers across the world for next year’s festival.
© Queen of Hearts
Queen of Hearts (QOH) was one of the three films that premiered for the first time at the festival. The film is directed by Lindsey Addawoo and Kyisha Williams, who also plays the main character, the queen.
Queen of Hearts, a 15-minute short film that was filmed in Canada follows a woman with unusual powers through a world where things work quite differently. The characters in QOH are seen battling love, loss, betrayal and anger. At the very beginning, viewers are teased with a vision from the queen’s past, which comes full circle by the end of the film.
The queen is seen facing consequences of her actions throughout the film, when she chooses her heart over her mind. Visions from the queen’s past are further explored at the end of the film, when she stands up to a character who prefers to be in power by making others submissive. At this point, the audience is given a glimpse of the very first time she became aware of the usefulness of her powers.
QOH takes place in a European like setting, mixed with elements of Afro-Futurism.
In an exclusive interview with VIBE105 Correspondent Nina Kalirai, director and main actress Kyisha Williams explains the significance for the film’s setting:
“Initially when I thought of Queen of Hearts, I wanted to re-imagine that time period because it’s very colonial. When we do see black people represented in Victorian films, they’re often the help, a servant/slave and marginalized overall in the story. We (Lindsey & Kyshia) wanted to really bring black experience and black culture into the forefront, by having a complex black woman lead who has a lot of different things going on and isn’t really easy to understand. She’s not your stereotypical representation of black women and ‘how they are’. We wanted to reclaim and take over that space. I personally find it a very beautiful time period, but I never saw black people represented well, or in leads, aside from one movie.”
The end of the film leaves the viewers wanting more, questioning what it all means and what happens next to these wistful characters.
When asked about a sequel, Kyshia said: “It was definitely designed that way. We would like too for sure. It was initially seen as a feature film, so we wanted the short film to be a teaser, and for people to want to see more of this world and the character. We used the short film to set up some of her backstory, to see where she takes it next. We do have some content for the future and are work shopping it, to see if it gets picked up.”