By Shamonique Murray
Draw Fire: Bajan Invasion is CTFF’s annual ode to the sweet isle of Barbados. This year featured three Barbadian filmmakers, Kia Redman, Romell Hall, and Keren Hall. There was a theme of passageways in this year’s collection of films. The passageways that are right in front of us, as well as the ones that we must often times tirelessly create ourselves, adding to the ever-changing life force of culture.
Dismantling the notion that culture is driven by our roots and putting forth a modernized edit, is Barbados’ own, Kia Redman. Redman animates everyday items in her environment, creating films that portray the many routes that one takes at any given moment. Her use of humour and double-entendres add a special touch to the vibrancy of seen and unseen passageways. Each of her subjects had a point of view different than the other, but each of them carried a touch of the Caribbean with them. This collective perspective reiterated that although our roots own a strong vein in our culture, the routes that we travel further enrich, expand, and mobilize culture throughout generations. Redman skillfully used lighting and props to attach moods and emotions onto identifiable staples that would otherwise be simplistic overlooked objects.
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Someone that went overlooked for years is the subject of the second Draw Fire: Bajan Invasion film. Hall directed by husband and wife duo, Romell and Keren Hall, tells the unbelievable story of Barbados’ own Houdini, Winston Hall. Hall escaped Barbados maximum security not once, not twice, but three times, living on the run throughout the Caribbean on and off for nearly two decades. Stealing from the rich white plantation owners was a taboo in Barbados, which garnered Hall much dislike across the island when he began his sprees with his crew in 1984.
From then to 2004, Hall gave Barbados law enforcement a literal run for their money. Romell and Keren Hall skillfully mapped out Winston Hall’s journey from a notorious vagabond to a beloved mastermind, including interviews from classic soca musicians who helped to create the folklore of Winston Hall. With narratives from media reporters who were the other major players in the continuation of the idolization of Winston Hall, viewers can see how media can alter perception and how influential it is to culture.
Of course, it is never an ode to any Caribbean island without the inclusion of humour and Draw Fire: Bajan Invasion did not disappoint. The seriousness of venturing off into the world unknown can be a scary realization. Along the way many tribulations and battles come into your path, yet unknowingly to us, how we handle the turbulence is what adds to the collective experience and culture. Draw Fire not only portrayed the resolve of Bajan people, but also gave a chronology to the happenings on the island throughout the years.