Nontheatrical Ecologies: The Films of Esther Figueroa
Esther Figueroa, PhD, is an independent Jamaican filmmaker with over 30 years of experience in political documentary cinema. A self-taught activist filmmaker, her work focuses on local knowledge, indigenous cultures, social injustice, community empowerment, and most recently, environmental issues. Her poignant documentaries give voice to those outside of mainstream media and aim to counter dominant narratives and practices that are driven by commercial and political interests. This screening series at IU Libraries Moving Image Archive concentrates on Figueroa’s documentary work in Jamaica, particularly her feature-length documentary Jamaica for Sale, and discusses her filmmaking career in the context of Caribbean cinema and society. IU Cinema will screen her latest work on Sunday at March 24 at 4PM, Fly Me to the Moon (2019), which examines the deep political-ecological and geopolitical connections between the polluted landscapes left by bauxite mining in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries, and the sleek icons of space travel and modernity. Focusing on aluminum's transnational role in reshaping modern transport, warfare, homes, buildings, and everyday portable design, the feature length documentary Fly Me to the Moon unravels the toxic realities of past, present, and future "aluminum dreams.” The series is supported by IU Cinema Creative Collaborations. Esther Figueroa will be present at both screening events.
Jamaica for Sale (84 min)
Jamaica for Sale engages with a cross section of Jamaicans: workers who labor for low wages in the tourist industry; small hoteliers and providers of tourism services concerned about the future of the industry; fishermen affected by the increasing development of the coast; citizens alarmed at their exclusion from the beaches and decision making processes that allow for development in their communities; and environmentalists fighting to have the value of the Jamaica’s natural resources recognized.
Massa God Fish Can Done (15 min)
Jamaica is the most over-fished country in the Caribbean, and one of the most over-fished in the world. Chronic unemployment, overfishing and development practices, pollution, a weak fishery regulatory framework, and lack of enforcement of present environmental laws have led to degraded reefs and the loss of important fish nurseries. As part of efforts to counter these trends and to foster fishery conservation, in 2008, the Nature Conservancy Jamaica Program sponsored a fisher exchange between Jamaica and Belize. Massa God Fish Can Done is a 15-minute educational video that shows how Belize, which had itself been over-fished, changed to having the most successful fishery conservation practices in the Caribbean and argues that Jamaica should follow the South American country’s example. In Jamaica there is the saying "Massa God Fish Can Done" meaning Marine resources are infinite and cannot be exhausted, and that God will always provide. "Massa God Fish Can Done" shows that in fact marine resources are depleted and will continue to fail unless the government, regulators, fishers, consumers all change our attitudes and habits.
Cockpit Country is Our Home (28 min)
A 28-minute educational video about the biota of Cockpit Country, the interior western region of Jamaica. Through breathtaking, intimate footage you get to experience Cockpit Country's environment and the animals found there. The video explains the interconnected ecology of Cockpit Country, the role of trees and plants such as Bromeliads, and features Jamaican bats; the Jamaican Slider Turtle; the Jamaican Laughing Frog; the Jamaican Yellow Boa; a variety of birds including Doves, Pigeons, Yellow and Black-billed Parrots, Olive-throated Parakeets, Hummingbirds, the Jamaican Tody, and the Jamaican Woodpecker; Snails; and Anancy, the Golden Spider. Made especially for a Jamaican audience, it is narrated by residents of Cockpit Country who represent a cross-section of ages, and features the on camera talent of Lorna Williams Christie, Susan Koenig, and Wayne Francis.
Sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), the Black Film Center/Archive (BFC/A) and the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive/Screening Room.
*This event is free, but ticketed, and open to the public.
*The Screening Room temperature tends to run cool, so please remember to bring a jacket or sweater.
*No food or drink is permitted in the Screening Room.