Kareem Mortimer: An interview with Bahamian filmmaker Maria Govan
By Kareem Mortimer
Aug 14, 2015 - 2:03:15 PM
Maria Govan and I in 2003
I first met Maria Govan 13 years ago and since that time we
have worked together on many projects as collaborators and have enjoyed a close
friendship. As our 'Caribbean Storytellers' series at The Island House is almost nearing its end for 2015, it would be incomplete without showing
Maria’s debut film,
I recently chatted with her and asked a
few questions about her film and career.
Can you tell us a little bit
about your history? How did you get involve in filmmaking?
I have wanted to make films since I can remember. I decided
that I would rather than go to college, move to LA and begin working in the industry.
I did that for four years and then returned home, bought a digital camera and
with my friend Erika Robinson, made a film about Junkanoo.
That was 1999. I then took a camera workshop in Havana and returned home
to begin making a film on HIV/AIDS in the Bahamas. That film though one
of the most challenging times in my life, it really was a huge gift. That world
really inspired the world of "Rain," which in so many ways really
celebrated all of the films leading up to it.
your film Rain about?
Rain is the story of a young fourteen year old girl, Rain who
lives with her Grandmother on a rural family island. When her Grandmother
dies she travels to the big city of Nassau to reconnect with her estranged
Mother. It's really a film about their reconciliation. It's a
very common story here at home.
do you connect to this story?
A big piece of
Rain's journey is grounded in her finding her
voice and speaking up for herself. I can relate to that very much.
you tell us some of the achievements of this film?
"Rain" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008 and won awards at
several international film festivals. The film was sold to Showtime Networks
and also distributed by Image Entertainment. It has sold over 70, 000dvdsin
the US alone.
some of the challenges you face as an independent filmmaker?
I think the biggest challenge is financial. It's very
difficult to find financing these days and therefore films are being made on a
dime so that we, the artists who have spent a year writing, a year producing
and another year directing the work, are not being compensated in a way that is
sustainable for our lives. It can be tough at this ripe old age of forty,
but then again, at the same time, it is such a huge privilege to do what we
love -- to make work that has meaning and resonance. Being a filmmaker and
artist is a choice I have made and continue to make with gratitude. Besides I
do believe that when we work at something for long enough it does eventually give.
you working on next?
I have just completed filming my second narrative feature
called "Play the Devil." We shot it in Trinidad in the spring
of this year and have been working on the edit during the summer.
It's a coming of age film set against the backdrop of Carnival about a working
class boy named Gregory who interfaces with many challenging aspects of his
life. We were incredibly blessed to have significant support from the
Trinidadian government. It was a very different experience from
"Rain," in that it was a lot easier on so many levels. I'm excited to
share it when it's all said and done!
Amy screens everyday from August 14-20th
Rain screens Saturday August 15th
Life is Beautiful screens Sunday August 16th
must be made at The Island House at 242.698.6300
About the author: Kareem
Mortimer is an award winning filmmaker and artist who has completed
several films including
Children of God, Wind Jammers, Passage, Float
Eleutheran Adventure. He is the President of the production
company Best Ever Film and is the curator of the film program at The
Island House Cinema, a boutique 48 seat theater in Western New
Providence dedicated to showcasing the best in independent, foreign,
art, Caribbean and Bahamian film. He is also in development of the
feature film Cargo.
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