A gothic punk Caribbean love story.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Vashti Anderson
Main image: Vanna Vee Girod as Asha
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you. The idea for Moko Jumbie started with my grandmother in San Fernando, Trinidad, who insisted that my family, who had emigrated to England, Canada, and the United States, gather at her house in Trinidad each year. We told each other stories and laughed into the night. These memories have created the fabric from which I draw inspiration for my work. With Moko Jumbie, it was important for me to show the Caribbean in a non-cliched way, emphasizing its moodiness, its melancholy, and the dualities of life and death, beauty and decay. The love story in the film questions the politically stratified rift between people of African and Indian descent, a legacy of colonialism. Because there are so few feature films set in Trinidad, it was also important for me to incorporate certain cultural elements, like music and folklore.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
My grandmother taught me that our unique, diverse stories hold an essential place amongst the narratives of the world. It is important to me to speak to audiences with a strong and daring voice. Moko Jumbie is a thematically provocative film that is at the same time fun and sensorial.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
My work has been heavily influenced by my complicated position of being multiracial, living in between cultures, and being both accepted and rejected by the cultures to which I technically belong. I think that many people feel this sense of displacement now, especially as the world becomes increasingly multicultural.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
I wrote the script over a long period of time during which I did research, visited family and scouted locations. In some instances, the location affected the script. For instance, the DP and I saw people hunting for blue land crabs while we were in Cedros, where we ended up filming, and I found it so visually fascinating that I wrote it into the script.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
I made this film partially to create a conversation – one not just about the aesthetics of the film but also about post-colonialism, race, class, and multiculturalism. The Q&As so far have generated wonderful moments for people to engage with the themes and subject matter.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The film presents images and ideas that are challenging to some, but that’s precisely why I made it.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
We appreciate the support that www.wearemovingstories.com offers to women filmmakers, as well as its aim to connect filmmakers with other industry professionals. We made Moko Jumbie to reach audiences, and that is what we are continually striving to do.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We’re looking for support and possibly partnership from industry professionals who believe in the vision and the potential impact of the film.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would like people to feel that they can make connections with others and gain an understanding of life in unexpected ways.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Can we, as human beings, pursue unity and understanding instead of conflict?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am developing several ideas for my next feature film.
Interview: March 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
A gothic punk Caribbean love story.
Length: 94 minutes
Director: Vashti Anderson
Producer: Vashti Anderson
Writer: Vashti Anderson
About the writer, director and producer:
Vashti is a Trinidadian-American film director whose films have won grants and awards at national and international film festivals and have been curated for special screenings.
Key cast: Vanna Vee Girod, Jeremy Thomas, Dino Maharaj
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Funders: Grants: Chris Columbus/Richard Vague Production Award, Canon Filmmaker Award from Film Independent
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month?
Moko Jumbie is continuing its festival run, with upcoming screenings in the US and abroad, including its European Premiere, not announced to the public yet. Follow @vashtiandersonfilm for updates.