July 21st saw this year's annual Caribbean Carnival and parade through Derby. Local film-makers Daniel Romero and Sean Ford were tasked to capture its essence in a 60-minute documentary film.
In the fiftieth year of indepence for Jamaica for Trinidad & Tobago, it seemed fitting that work was completed on The Carnival, a documentary film about Derby's Caribbean carnival. A large number of locals turned out to see the premiere at Derby Quad, including many of the stars of the film.
Two years in the making, the film follows George Mighty, Chairman of the Caribbean Arts Network and Derby's West Indian Community Centre, and other members of the carnival's organising team. The enormous task of organising the logistics, costumes and choreography for the parade and festivities on Osmaston Park is largely carried out by a handful of volunteers. We are given a taste of what life was like for the first generation to migrate to these shores, through their reminiscences and archive footage. Initially, the cultural and climatic differences were a big shock to the system, but the Community Centre has played a huge role throughout the years in their integration to society and allowed local people of all ethnic backgrounds to get involved in social and educational activities. The film later looks at the obstacles faced by the organisers today – from a difficult economic climate to a growing apathy amongst younger members of the local community.
In spite of recent challenges, this year's carnival parade on July 21st was arguably the biggest yet, as Mighty and the rest of the team put on yet another vibrant display – both visually and musically – for the people of the city. The theme of 'Celebration, Celebration, Celebration!' - inspired by the Olympics, Jubilee and fiftieth anniversary of Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago's independence - was strongly evident as East Midlands Carnival Queen, Samantha Hudson, led the procession from Pear Tree Junior School to the market place where a stage show provided the finale. Weather caused the postponement of the Sunday portion of the carnival, which will eventually take place on 26th August.
The documentary lifted the lid on the annual festivities and gave us a glimpse of the efforts that go on in the background each year. Directors Sean Ford and Daniel Romero share a strong interest in horror movies but have found themselves working on a variety of projects. They told me that a documentary is a different type of challenge to directing a screenplay, but had managed to find a cohesive narrative for The Carnival from around thirty hours of footage.
The duo formed the production company Rainfray Pictures (named after an inspiring holiday home in Normandie) with an aim to bring back some flair to British cinema that they thought it had lacked in recent years. Whilst Rainfray specialise in arthouse cinema and the horror genre, they have proven themselves equally adept as documentary makers. Their next aim is to get The Carnival shown at other cinemas and festivals around the UK. Expect more great locally-produced cinema from Rainfray in future, as they are already champing at the bit to start work on new projects. Hatch'd Magazine will keep you posted.