Jamerican Canadian patriot gifts ‘Garvey’ for Heroes Day TV

Filmmaker Roy T. Anderson; Co-Producer R. Alison Gail and actor Keith David.

Thanks to a gracious gesture made by New Jersey-based film director Roy T. Anderson, Jamaican nationals on the Caribbean island will have an enlightening Heroes’ Day experience during the Oct. 18 mandated COVID-19 weekend lockdown.

With courtesy of the multi-talented actor, stunt coordinator and documentarian he has offered his “African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey” — for a free national showcase to citizens on the island with hopes its screening might ease confinement and no-movement restrictions on the most culturally honored holiday on the island.

Anderson, a native of Jamaica gifted a one-time broadcast to the island’s Television Jamaica (TVJ) for airing in two consecutive parts slated to conclude on Heroes’ Day, a replacement holiday of Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday which was adopted in 1969 to honor to seven local heroes.

Commemorated annually on the third Monday in October, the heritage acknowledgement marks tributes, to outstanding firemen, policemen, nurses, teachers, intellectuals, creative artistes and other essential workers whose efforts in executing their jobs proved dutiful beyond distinction.

Given the day’s association with heritage and culture, Anderson decided the gift an ideal treat to families particularly those who might not be aware of the trials and tribulations their first national hero encountered while living in foreign countries.

“It’s my gift to Jamaica.” Anderson, a proud national said.

Born on the island, celebrated stuntman and filmmaker is also accredited by his acting and directing roles in two award winning historic documents — Akwantu, (biopic on the Maroons, indigenous Jamaicans who overran British soldiers) and “Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess” (Jamaica’s only female national heroine).

Both films won national acclaim premiering at the United Nations and the Schomburg Library in Harlem.

Anderson said his decision to gift the 85-minute, feature sidesteps plans for a global release slated for next year when precautions against the coronavirus will have subsided.

According to a press release from his Action 4 Reel Filmworks, the documentary chronicles Garvey’s journey to becoming the island’s first national hero, one of the world’s leading civil rights leaders and the first foremost Pan-Africanist.

Historically regarded for spearheading the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Marcus Mosiah Garvey dedicated his life to the mission of redeeming Africa and Africans throughout the world.

At the height of the Harlem Renaissance (1918 – 1930s) Garvey’s Harlem-based UNIA recorded membership in 1,000 branches spanning 40 countries. It is well documented that membership exceeded six million loyalists.

‘Filmed in Jamaica, Ghana, Canada, USA, UK, and Central America, the docu-drama blends live action sequences and stunning still photographs with no-holds barred interviews and conversations with world-renowned leaders, scholars, and personalities.’

All of the testimonials in the film attests to the influence of Garvey’s influence on each individual’s activism/profession.

Among the spokesperson included in the film, Dr. Julius Garvey, the younger of Garvey’s two sons, Ilyassah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, Edward Seaga, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, reggae singjay artist Sister Carol, poet Mutabaruka, UWI professors Dr. Carolyn Cooper and Michael Barnett, former New York Congressman Charles Rangel, actors Danny Glover and Louis Gossett and Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of an independent Ghana.

The film also features the music of British reggae recorders Steel Pulse.

Narrated by multiple Emmy-award winning actor Keith David, the film has been making the rounds at some of the world’s most prominent film festivals.

Recently screened at the Reelworld Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, the feature copped three standout nominations for Anderson’s production, writing and direction ability as well as another hailing cinematographer Jahsen Levy for his stellar contribution to enhancing the film.

Anderson was particularly imbued by kudos and the warm reception the film received in the Ontario province because there was where he spent his formative years and where his parents reside.

Needless to say, his family members were able to view his work and witness the platitudes bestowed on a “hometown hero” and highly regarded adopted native son.

Anderson received similar adulation on the eve of the anniversary of Garvey’s 134th birthday this summer when he previewed a VIP screening in Harlem.

Held just blocks away from where Garvey helmed his UNIA, the invitation-only screening attracted the likes of Rangel, Jackie Rose and Alice Titley, narrator David’s niece.

“I went alone and learned so much…I did not know Garvey was so involved,” Titley explained afterwards.

Rose now on an extended visit to Maui, Hawaii said she too was enlightened by images and reenactments Anderson introduced.

Rose added that although she risked infection from the coronavirus, she was privileged to join the limited first-time audience and mostly elated after meeting the two producers – Anderson and his wife Alison.

Rose and others expressed hopes that educational institutions in Jamaica might incorporate the film as a learning tool to the curriculum.

Since August, Anderson has kept the reels sequestered yielding late last month to a showcase in Trinidad & Tobago where an international debut celebrated the Caribbean hero.

The national television broadcast in Jamaica will be aired in two parts on Sunday at 5 pm with a concluding episode the following day marking Heroes Day and the conclusion of Heroes Week.

The feature will also be screened on PBCJ, a cable channel there.

The outlet will present the film in its entirety on Heroes day at 8 pm.

Anderson explained that the one-time offer will not be available for online streaming, He added that his agreement was made in conjunction with the island’s ministry of culture whose 2021 theme is “Saluting Our Heroes: Safeguarding Our Heritage.”

According to the New Jersey resident, his motive for gifting “African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey” documentary is to showcase what he described as a “labor of love” everyone should accept.

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