New Independent Film, GARIFUNA IN PERIL, Screens at Seven Film Festivals, Wins Three Awards

Garifuna in Peril, a feature film written, produced and directed by Alí Allié and Ruben Reyes, screened at seven film festivals to diverse audiences this past April, winning three awards and screening to sold out audiences in Chicago and Houston.
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LOS ANGELES - May 8, 2013 - PRLog -- In a flurry of activity, the new film GARIFUNA IN PERIL, screened across the U.S. in April, coinciding with the celebration of African Heritage Month in Honduras and the celebration of Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York City.

Starting in Tucson, Arizona on April 13, and moving north to the Chicago Latino Film Festival, then west to the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, the film screened at diverse venues and to diverse audiences across the U.S., culminating with a standing-room-only, sold-out showing in Houston on April 21.  In the space of two weeks, the film picked up three awards:  “Best Narrative Feature” at the Arizona International Film Festival; “Indie Spirit Special Recognition Award” at the Boston International Film Festival; and a “Golden Remi Award for Docu-Drama” at Worldfest Houston.

Garifuna in Peril follows the remarkable story of Ricardo, a Garifuna language teacher in Los Angeles (played by Reyes), as he embarks on an odyssey to build a school in his native Triunfo de la Cruz, Honduras.  Compelling, humorous, and deeply human, the film takes us on a journey with Ricardo as he struggles with being a father, husband, brother and cultural ambassador.  The film truthfully examines family strife and the tensions between tradition and assimilation.  These challenges, along with defending the integrity of ancestral lands from exploitative interests, are the focal point of the film’s message, highlighting realities not only for the Garifuna, but all indigenous peoples worldwide.

Praised as “a commendable and heartfelt piece” by Cinema Paradiso, and “thoughtful and enlightening” by IndieWire, this award winning film features strong debut performances by Garifuna actors from Honduras, Belize and the USA, and is the first dramatic feature film with a majority of its dialogue in Garifuna (a language proclaimed by UNESCO in 2001 as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity).

The Garifuna are a mix of West African and Carib-Arawak Indian people who originated on the island of St. Vincent in the 17th Century, and are considered indigenous to the Americas.  They were exiled from the island in 1797 by the British and now live in the coastal regions of Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the United States.

Co-Director Ruben Reyes, said of the recent April screenings, “After the screenings of the film, I heard the Garifuna people in [these cities] say they were inspired to really take action as far as uniting and empowering the Garifuna Nation.”

The screenings were not only attended by the Garifuna community, but a cross-section of local leaders, the press and others of diverse backgrounds interested to know more about Garifuna culture.

“I had no idea about the Garifuna... that they even existed... I am amazed about this history.” said Martha Salisbury, an audience member who attended a screening in Arizona out of curiosity.

Coretta Warner, Vice President of the St. Kitts & Nevis Association of Houston remarked “I sincerely enjoyed the viewing of Garifuna in Peril.  It made me feel even more proud of my Caribbean ancestry, yet even more responsible.

“Winning three major film festival awards in a month, including in areas where no one had ever heard of the Garifunas... is an amazing achievement and will be an inspiration to filmmakers considering films about Latin American Indians and Blacks for the next generation.” wrote Wendy Griffin, reporter for Honduras

“It was a special day, this film was very educational, learning about the Garifuna people, culture, background & history...” said Merlisa Determined, award winning actress and host of Caribbean Vybez TV.

In May, Garifuna in Peril will be presented in Germany at Black International Cinema Berlin, in Florida at the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials, and in Los Angeles at the African Diaspora Creative Industries Forum and the 2nd Annual Garifuna Film Festival International.  

Additionally, Co-Director/Lead Actor Ruben Reyes will personally present the film in eight cities and towns across Honduras from May 24 through June 3, and eventually take the film to Belize and Guatemala in July.
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