ST. JOHN, USVI (June 12, 2013) -- Award-winning documentary filmmaker Andrea Leland has just launched a crowdfunding campaign for her upcoming film YURUMEIN (Homeland) -- a documentary about the revival of Garifuna culture on the island of St. Vincent. Through her fiscal sponsor, the Center for Independent Documentary, Leland is trying to raise $20,000 by August 16th to complete post-production on the film. Leland is requesting help to finish graphics and animation, sound design and color correction for the film. Any remaining funds will be used towards outreach and distribution efforts.
When Leland began to film YURUMEIN, Garifuna culture had been all but lost on the island of St. Vincent for the last two hundred years. The Garifuna people, descendants of the native Carib and Arawak people and West Africans, once lived freely on the island of St. Vincent. Forced into hiding and exile by British colonial forces during the 18th century, St. Vincent’s Garifuna descendants knew little of their ancestral language, rituals, dance, music or food. While traditions may have been lost on St. Vincent, Garifuna culture flourished in the exiled communities of Central America. In the film, Leland captures the efforts of St. Vincent’s Garifuna descended population to recover their cultural traditions by connecting with their brothers and sisters in the larger Garifuna disapora.
Leland has worked with and filmed the Garifuna diaspora for the past twenty years. Her 1998 documentary, THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY, focuses on the culture of the exiled Garifuna in Belize. The idea behind YURUMEIN came to Leland during a 2005 screening of THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY in St. Vincent. Locals learned that where Garifuna culture had been suppressed on St. Vincent, it flourished in the diaspora. The Garifuna community in St. Vincent expressed a desire to reconnect with the larger diaspora, and Leland says, “the story of YURUMEIN began that very day.”
Leland has completed shooting the footage for YURUMEIN in both St. Vincent in Los Angeles. She is now in the critical stage of post-production. She hopes to raise the funds to complete the film and screen it at film festivals, community groups, classrooms and widely within the Garifuna diaspora. Also in the works is an interactive website where Garifuna worldwide can upload their own video stories.
A trailer and more detailed description of the film are available on the campaign page:
Andrea Leland is available for interviews and guest blogging.