Panama Dreams transports us on the modern-day search of filmmaker, Alison Saunders for descendants of an ancestor who left Barbados in the early 1900s as a labourer among over 40,000 from that tiny island and the single largest group officially recruited by the US Government to build the Panama Canal – one of the seven wonders of the modern world. This documentary with extensive dramatic sequences provides a unique insight into the Caribbean’s biggest migration that eclipses even the “Windrush” migration to the UK in scale and global impact. Over 150,000 West Indians went to Panama mainly as labourers but also in a variety of ancillary roles during the US phase of construction that mirrored their Southern Jim Crow System in terms of discrimination and oppression. Thousands lost their lives and after construction, many stayed on while others went back home or on to Cuba, the US and other parts of Latin America. Panama Dreams explores the impact on those left behind in the West Indies as well as the lives of the descendants of these workers in Panama and Cuba, who are an almost unknown diaspora of the West Indies to this day. After fating compelling re-enactments and collecting archival film and photos as well as contemporary images and interviews, the filmmaker tells a larger, poignant story of strength, endurance, and sacrifice and uncovers troubling and complex issues of race, class and power that face descendants to the present day.
Alison Saunders, a Trinidadian/Barbadian, is the writer/director/executive producer of Hit For Six!, shot in Barbados and Trinidad. The first film commercially exported from Barbados, it was shown around the world and listed among the Top Ten Movies Based on Cricket by IMDB. Saunders also created, directed and produced the reality show for entrepreneurs Bank on ME, shown in Barbados, the region and North America. She is currently producing a TV series on a home makeover for a deserving family.
Rating: General Audience
TUESDAY Jan 15, 2019
5:30 PM PANAMA DREAMS (Talk Back with director Alison Saunders)
Walled Garden Theatre