Peter Bailey center in the CTFF19 Q&A for his feature documentary, ‘Paradise Discovered: The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders’ which won ‘best documentary feature’
Hi there, on September 16 last year we debuted “Paradise Discovered: The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders” to a packed audience at the Prior-Jollek Hall on St. Thomas. It was my birthday and I decided to give our US Virgin Islands a gift for inspiring me in how we took care of each other after hurricanes Irma and Maria changed our lives forever. Having just laid my father to rest the day before, I made a promise to the audience that I would honor my father and celebrate what we achieved as a community by sharing our story around the world.
Now fast forward to the present where Unbreakable was just awarded best documentary at Toronto’s Caribbean Tales International Film Festival. One of the judges and the festival’s founder, Frances-Anne Solomon, will also be serving as a judge for the upcoming Oscar Awards after being nominated by Ava DuVernay.
You can watch the award announcement here: https://youtu.be/
While in Toronto I also had the pleasure of discussing Unbreakable on NEWSTALK 1010 with acclaimed Canadian activist and journalist Desmond Cole, my first time on Canada’s airwaves. You can listen to that interview here: https://www.iheartradio.
Does this award validate our story’s importance in a world now focused on climate change? Of course not. Our legacy in history is already forever cemented as the only community to have faced back to back category 5 storms. However, the honor shows just how inspiring our story has been to those who’ve joined us on this historic tour, where the Toronto screening marked our 17th stop.
The honor – the first of its kind to be awarded to a film produced in the Virgin Islands by a Virgin Islands filmmaker – also sets a precedent for the need for authentic Caribbean story-telling. For too long we’ve allowed those not rooted in our culture to share our story. The disservice has led to our region being depicted as solely a vacation, void of a thriving innovative community which I’ve explained on NPR and NBC:
We know better in the Caribbean and it’s time the world be introduced to us beyond a postcard. The evolution of film in the Virgin Islands and larger Caribbean also presents the opportunity to diversify our economy and reinvent our tourism product to include cinema as we enter into the “Age of Content”.
NiteCap Media Founder & CEO