The 12°N61°W Film Festival puts Grenada on the map as a hub for filmmaking
June 22nd 2019
Grenadian-American filmmaker Meschida Philip has launched an initiative that aims to shift perceptions of African people, and more specifically those from Grenada and the Caribbean. Through the 12°N61°W Grenadian Film Festival and with the help and support of its organizers, Philip seeks to provide the platform from which filmmakers, especially the new and inexperienced, can showcase their work.
Formerly of the Boca Secondary School, Philip graduated from The City College of New York with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film, concentrating on documentary filmmaking. She is a women’s rights activist and is greatly interested in social issues involving children. This focus is apparent in her directorial work, one of which is a short documentary entitled, “Scars of our Mothers’ Dreams.” It is about how parent and child are separated because of migration.
She has returned to Grenada to facilitate the 12°N61°W Grenadian Film Festival, whose theme is “Beyond Borders.” For the three days that the festival will run (May 3 to May 5), short films, documentaries, and other narratives will be featured to represent the concept of blackness and show the black experience.
Various locations in Grenada, such as Lavo Lanes, Movie Palace-Excel Plaza, Deluxe Cinema and Grenville, will play host to 47 international film screenings and 22 Grenadian features that focus on black culture and narrative.
According to Philip, it is personally important to her for there to be black cultural representation that does not adhere to mainstream media’s depiction of people of African descent. She relates her childhood experience in Grenada and her adult perspective on migrating to another country. This has shown her how big a difference there is between black experience and stereotype. She has since made sure that her work is geared towards breaking that stereotype by representing “blackness”.
Grenada has a particularly unique history and culture that Philip believes will serve to be an advantage in making the country a centre for new filmmakers to send their work.
Philip hopes that the festival is the start of a community of artists that collaborate with each other. On her part, she hopes to share what she has learned from both Grenada and the US with Grenadian filmmakers. In the next few years, she says, she expects that what is produced in Grenada will be welcomed in the global market.
At the very least, the festival reception will create a database of Grenadian filmmakers and creators with whom she could share knowledge and expertise and help their projects gain more visibility and traction.