St Paul’s Carnival film to be screened at world’s biggest black film festival

st pauls carnival film to be screened at worlds biggest black film festival - St Paul's Carnival film to be screened at world's biggest black film festival

A film about St Paul’s Carnival is being screened at the biggest black film festival in the US this month.

The 12-minute short film – named ‘Carnival’ – focuses on a mother trying to reunite with her young daughter who goes missing at the carnival and is being shown at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles on February 18 and 21.

Film-maker Stuart Napier says “cultural expressions” and the “family feel” of St Paul’s Carnival, which celebrates African-Caribbean culture in the city, inspired him to create the film.

He says he was “surprised” his work was selected after submitting an application.

st pauls carnival film to be screened at worlds biggest black film festival 2 - St Paul's Carnival film to be screened at world's biggest black film festival

Haniya Lampkin Berry who plays Soraya (Image: Stuart Napier)

“Films that are shown at the festival are eligible to be nominated for the Oscars, so to be selected is really exciting,” he said.

Carnival was filmed on location at St Paul’s Carnival’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2018 and features crowds of Bristolians in the background.

Stuart says he cast people from the South West in order to keep the story as local as possible.

The lead actress, Nadia Williams, is a born and bred Bristolian and Haniya Lampkin Berry who plays Nadia’s daughter – is from Gloucester.

The film features music from Bristol reggae legend Dennis McCalla, also known as Dallas.

st pauls carnival film to be screened at worlds biggest black film festival 3 - St Paul's Carnival film to be screened at world's biggest black film festival

The short film features reggea artist Dennis McCalla and plays Soraya’s grandad (Image: Stuart Napier)

Dallas, 65, has played at Glastonbury Festival, supported the likes of Ken Boothe and played at The Bamboo Club, which is a world-famous blues and reggae club in St Paul’s. The Easton-based musician has also played alongside major actors such as Nitin Ganatra, who played Masood Ahmed in well-known soap Eastenders.

Three of his tracks are used in the film, but for him this is an especially big achievement as he says it’s often difficult for reggae music artists to be picked up by record labels.

“[The film] represents St Paul’s for what it truly is – community cohesion and celebrating different cultures,” he said.

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“It shows St Paul’s as a vibrant and friendly area and it highlights the fact that it’s not what it’s been painted to be over the last couple of years. It represents the area authentically.” 

Stuart is currently consulting with the St Paul’s Carnival team to hold a screening of the short film in Bristol, as it is not currently available to watch online.

st pauls carnival film to be screened at worlds biggest black film festival 7 - St Paul's Carnival film to be screened at world's biggest black film festival

Nadia Williams and Ed Browning (Image: Stuart Napier)

He hopes to hold the screening prior to the carnival this year, to promote it further, alongside having a speaker informing the audience about the history of St Paul’s Carnival, fundraising and live music.

The St Paul’s Carnival team said: “It’s fantastic to see the sights and sounds of our Carnival brought to life in the film. The fact that the film is travelling from Bristol all the way to Los Angeles is a fantastic way to showcase the vibrancy and creativity of St Paul’s as a community and as an event. It’s also really amazing to see the talents of Dallas on-screen, particularly as he also performs onstage during carnival. We can’t wait to see the reaction.”

Stuart hopes that by thousands of people viewing the film, it’ll even encourage people to come down to Bristol for the carnival, taking place July 4.

He said: “It’ll massively impact the perception people have of St Paul’s because it’s a positive story about the area, rather than anything negative.

“It’s also promoting Bristol’s Caribbean culture and there’s an off chance that someone out there would even want to come down for the carnival after seeing the film,” he added.

Back to: Home Bristol NewsSource: Bristol Post

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