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Forward Ever a hit in US, UK
When Bruce Paddington produced and directed Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution, a film about the Grenada Revolution and the circumstances surrounding the execution of Maurice Bishop and his colleagues, he was acting on a burning desire to create a comprehensive record of the key events of the revolution, having been impressed with what he saw on his visit to the island during the revolutionary period.
But he hadn’t catered for the overwhelming response that the film has received to date.
Having been screened in ten countries in only nine months, Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution, which is often followed by a post-screening discussion, has generated a buzz of activity worldwide, among analysts of the Grenada revolution, filmmakers and of course the Grenadian diaspora.
The fact that the documentary was made and released almost exactly 30 years after the revolution might also have something to do with it; there is the distance of historical perspective, but there are also still enough people around who lived it and who remember the raw details of those events that had such an impact on the region’s politics.
And those who are old enough to remember are not the only ones who flock to Forward Ever.
“What I also find compelling is the interest that young people—people who might not have even been born when the revolution took place—have in the film,” said Paddington.
“Some of them had older relatives involved, others are just curious about Caribbean history. Either way, it’s extremely gratifying to see that level of interest all around; it means that we did something very right with the production.”
The film has also gained critical acclaim. In St Lucia, the veteran journalist Earl Bousquet praised the film as a work of art that “allows images to tell stories, accompanying still photos with explanatory narratives while allowing those who were there to tell their unvarnished stories.”
Les Slater of Caribbean Life News believes, “a huge debt is owed to the filmmaker Bruce Paddington for the very important document he assembled for the Caribbean archives.”
John Green of the Morning Star newspaper in the United Kingdom argues, “Paddington’s documentary is a gripping and revealing account of the Grenada revolution as never seen before.”
This year, the film has been screened in London at the British Library and at the British Film Institute on Southbank as part of its African Odysseys programme.
It made its New York City debut in June, with former head of the Transport Workers Union, Roger Toussaint, a Trinidadian, with the Caribbean Awareness group, as a collaborator.
Also supporting the film was Michelle Materre, the director of Creatively Speaking, an organisation which highlights important films which feature people of colour and their histories.
It was screened at the Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, The Maysles Theatre Harlem and DCTVNY in Soho, and then went on to the Baobab Center in Rochester.
These screenings were sandwiched in between sold-out screenings in Jamaica, St Kitts, St Lucia and Barbados that were organised by the UWI Open Campus network.
The film now returns to T&T with a special screening at the National Commission for Unesco, 15 Wainwright Street, St Clair tomorrow at 1 pm.
The public is invited to this free screening, which will be followed by a question and answer session with the director. The DVD will be launched at this event, which will also recognise the contribution of the film’s sponsors: UWI, the Fundashon Bon Intenshon, Flow and the T&T Film Company.
The film is also available for the US market at grenadamarket.com.