(Photo above- at Cannes' International Pan African Film Festival)
From New York City to Harvard, Miami, Cannes and back to New York, once the film had its first public screening in New York with the Caribbean Cultural Center-African Diaspora Institute, we barely stopped long enough to unpack a suitcase!
A complete list of events is on the screening page of the website; please have a look to see how blessed we have been with support from so many distinguished cultural organizations, academic institutions and research conferences. Highlights include the International Women's Day special event at CUNY, where a group of enthusiastic students welcomed a panel of women, organized by Prof./Iya Gloria Rodriguez, now a dear friend. Shortly thereafter, we headed to south Florida with film and photography exhibit for events on World Water Day at the Fort Myers' Alliance for the Arts, with special remarks by Mayor Henderson and sponsored by the Lee Co. Black History Association. A beautiful drive through the Everglades took us to Florida International University (FIU), for a screening and panel, sponsored by the Africana Studies Department, thanks to the extraordinary support of Dr./Baba Willie Ramos. Then with less than a week to unpack summer clothes and dig out winter coats, we headed to Harvard University's conference of the African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association, organized by Funlayo Wood. That event and CCC-ADI's conference provided such tremendous knowledge and insights into North American and Caribbean Orisha traditions, and opportunities to meet many powerful people who I've read about for years.
Once back from Boston, an invitation arrived to what would be our festival debut, in Cannes, during the International Pan African Film Festival...with only two weeks to decide whether to go! Convinced by friends that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I went. It definitely was that..and a chance to practice my very rusty French, long since overtaken by my slightly better Brazilian-Portuguese. Morning walks by the French Riviera, communing with the azur sea, were almost as good as meeting all the fine folks at the festival.
The highlight of the spring was sharing our film with an appreciative audience at Lincoln Center in the New York African Film Festival. Yemanjá was the featured film in a sold out Mother's Day event, along with a documentary about the legendary heroic figure Queen Nanny of Jamaica. The Q & A afterwards brought terrific questions and a few tears, mostly from a Bahian woman ... obviously helping her to "mater saudades". (Saudade can't be translated; closest is when you really miss and long for something.) As Yemanjá is the Yoruba Great Mother Goddess of the Sea, there couldn't have been a more appropriate day to showcase our film...in the best place imaginable!
Now, we prepare for film festivals of late summer, while awaiting news from and applying to various festivals at home and abroad.
Most exciting of all, we're organizing a magnificent series of activities for the October 27 Pittsburgh film premiere in our current hometown, featuring a panel discussion with our film's narrator, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, Dr. Rachel Elizabeth Harding and esteemed Candomblé leader Makota Valdina Pinto, from our film. SAVE THAT DATE!!
With profound gratitude for all the gifts.