By Kassandra Sharma
Kia Moses’ short film Flight, originally released in 2018, featured on the second night of Caribbean Tales Film Festival (CTFF) 2020. With the theme of the night “Truth to Power”, all films featured seem to all have an underlying call to action message surrounding the notion of dreams verses realities that people are dealing with in different parts of the world. By extension also displaying that people can relate and identify with different struggles even while worlds apart.
Flight follows our young main character, Kemar “Mars” played by Rohiem Phillips who strives to be an astronaut one day despite his father Clive’s (Jermaine Nelson), disapproval and living situation.
The film opens with a shot of Kemar, his father and younger sister all sleeping together in a bed; he however lays awake until a knock at the window rouses him to carefully slide out. His friend Roshane (played by Craig Robinson) waits outside for him - the two exchanged hurried whispers and sneak up onto Kemar’s roof where their prized telescope awaits. Most likely constructed by the boys themselves, the two take turns looking at the moon through a cardboard and duct tape telescope while exchanging facts about the heavenly body. How far away is it? How many people have actually been to the moon? All things I learnt while watching this heartfelt short film.
“Hey Mars, what do you think it feels like on the moon with no gravity? Like floating in the sea, but with stars.”
Roshane and Kemar, Flight (2018)
Throughout the film, we see Kemar and Akeem pretending to be astronauts on various expeditions, accompanied by their make-shift rocket ship and astronaut costumes, also made from cardboard, duct tape and foil. However, his father who opposes this dream, saying: “You need to get your head out of the stars,” constantly catches Kemar. Reasoning with him that those types of dreams belong to the rich and lucky, of which they are neither.
As the film progresses you can see how important childhood dreams and imagination can be. Roshane is roped into trouble by his cousin and is pulled away from playing with Kemar again. This of course upsets Kemar, which results him in destroying his rocket ship, causing enough of a disturbance to pull his father outdoors. After a touching and heartfelt moment shared between the two, Clive decides to help his son complete his rocket ship and the two undertake the grand adventure of lifting off into space together; finally seeing eye to eye. Roshane watches from the sidelines with his cousin, no longer a part of the dream but allows a small smile to escape his lips, happy for his friend.
Having grown up with not much on a Caribbean island myself I found this film very relatable and sweet. It’s easy to disregard big dreams from a little kid when reality doesn’t allow for such luxuries, but that doesn’t mean you cannot support it. My parents always encouraged me to dream big, the resulting lessons were to work hard and keep a good head on my shoulders. Seeing Kemar’s makeshift rocket ship and telescope reminded me of when I was a child and was consumed by the idea of being a cowgirl. Of course, my horse was an old broomstick, some shredded newspaper and masking tape. It was all make-believe but to me, I was a real cowgirl akin to Kemar being an astronaut.
Flight, while just thirteen minutes in length packed a punch in its short time frame. The story was complete and had a flawless ending that allowed a child’s fantasy to come full circle. With its wholesome values of family, friendship, loss and support, the film has a clear message - it is important to allow kids to be kids – and to dream big.
*Editor’s note: Flight screened at the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival ‘20