Siren Spirits

A film by Ngozi Onwurah, Pratibha Parmar, Frances-Anne Solomon, Dani Williamson

England | 1994 | 80 minutes | Color/BW | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 99417

SYNOPSIS

SIREN SPIRITS is a wonderful feature comprising four short dramas directed by women of color, produced by Leda Serene for the British Film Institute and BBC Television.

Ngozi Onwurah’s WHITE MEN ARE CRACKING UP uses a murder mystery to explore the legacies of British colonialism and the exoticization of Black women.

Using magic realism, MEMSAHIB RITA by Pratibha Parmar looks at the physical and emotional violence of racism. Shanti is haunted by both the racist taunts of nationalist white youths and the memory of her white mother.

Dani Williamson’s GET ME TO THE CREMATORIUM ON TIME is a moving portrait of undying love and grief. When her husband of twenty years dies, Bonetta is overcome by her loss and is taken to a mental hospital; but she knows she must escape to get to the crematorium to say farewell to the man with whom she has shared her life.

In Frances-Anne Solomon’s BIDESHI a 50-year-old Bengali man lies in a coma in hospital, his soul stuck in a dark tunnel near death, until a resolution of his conflict with his daughter liberates his spirit.

SIREN SPIRITS shows the powerful complexity of family and race relations in contemporary society and is testament to the brilliant creativity of these four directors. SIREN SPIRITS is only available as an 80-minute program.

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Bombay International Film Festival
  • Boston Int’l Women’s Film Festival
  • Clacutta International Film Festival
  • Flanders Film Festival
  • Vancouver Film Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Frances-Anne Solomon

Frances-Anne Solomon is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, producer, curator, distributor and entrepreneur in film, TV, radio, theatre, and new media. Born in England of Trinidadian parents, she was raised and educated in the Caribbean and Canada before moving to Great Britain where she built a successful career with the BBC as a TV Drama Producer and Executive Producer.

She moved to Toronto in 2000, where she continued to create, write, direct, and produce her own projects. Her most recent film, A Winter Tale, received many prestigious international awards, including most recently at FESPACO 2009 (Africa’s Oscars held biannually in Burkina Faso West Africa) where it was won Special Mention in The Paul Robeson Diaspora Category.

Her other directing credits include: the feature film Peggy Su! (BBC Films, 1997); the drama What My Mother Told Me (Channel 4 1995), and Bideshi (British Film Institute 1994); and documentaries Literature Alive (Bravo!/OMNI, 2006), Reunion (BBC,1993), and I Is A Long Memoried Woman (Arts Council of England 1991).

As well as directing, Frances-Anne is the Artistic Director and President of the two companies she founded, Leda Serene Films, her film and television production vehicle, and CaribbeanTales, a prolific not for profit company that makes multimedia products aimed at the educational market.

In September 2011, CIPAVE - the CaribbeanTales Incubator Program for Audio Visual Entrepreneurs and CaribbeanTales Scholarship Fund was formally launched at the Toronto International Film Festival.

She began her television career at Banyan Productions in Trinidad, and studied Theatre at the University of Toronto with Steve Martineau and Ken Gass, and poetry with Jay MacPherson. She trained as a film director in the UK at Bristol University’s RFT Programme and the prestigious BBC Drama Directors Course. (8/14)

Ngozi Onwurah

Black British filmmaker Ngozi Onwurah takes on the issues of time and space in her work which embraces heterogeneity and multiple sites of subjectivity. Onwurah consistently navigates and challenges the limits of narrative and ethnographic cinema by insisting that the body is the central landscape of an anti-imperialist cinematic discourse.

An accomplished director with several episodes of the top British TV drama series "Heartbeat" to her credit, Ngozi Onwurah also wrote and directed the prize-winning feature "Welcome II the Terrordome." Sometimes fierce and at others more gently humorous, Onwurah tackles the clashes and ironies of the apparent gulf separating black and white, whilst showing that under the skin, emotions are universal.
Onwurah’s films have won prizes at the Berlin Film Festival, Germany; Melbourne Film Festival, Australia; Toronto Film Festival, Canada; and at NBPC, USA. (09/09)

Pratibha Parmar

Filmmaker Pratibha Parmar has an exemplary track record for her passionate commitment to making films with integrity and illuminating untold stories with visual flair and imagination. Her award-winning work has been widely exhibited at international film festivals and broadcast globally. Pratibha’s dedication in bringing complex subjects into mainstream media has helped change the contours of popular discourse on race, feminism, sexuality and creativity.

Pratibha’s credits include A Place of Rage, a documentary film on African-American women and the civil rights movement featuring Angela Davis and June Jordan. The film received international critical acclaim and was named Best Historical Documentary at the National Black Programming Consortium in the U.S. In 1993 Pratibha released her most challenging film Warrior Marks, which documented female genital mutilation at a time when the subject was taboo globally. This award-winning documentary was made in collaboration with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker. Parmar and Walker collaborated on the book Warrior Marks - Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women, which documented the making of the film (Jonathan Cape UK, Harcourt Brace US).

Nina’s Heavenly Delights, Pratibha’s multi-award winning narrative feature film debut starring Shelley Conn & Laura Fraser was released theatrically in the UK and US in 2006/7 and nominated for a GLAAD Award.

Author and editor of several books, Pratibha was awarded The Visionary Award for her body of work from the One in Ten Film Festival in October 2007 and is a past winner of the Frameline Film Festival Life Time Achievement Award.

Pratibha’s most recent award winning feature documentary film, Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth tells the compelling story of an extraordinary woman’s journey from her birth in a paper-thin shack in cotton fields of Georgia to her recognition as a key writer of the 20th Century making history as the first African- American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize. Alice Walker: Beauty In Truthtoured film festivals around the world to sell out audiences and positive reviews in 2013. The film was broadcast nationwide in the U.S on the Emmy Award winning series American Masters on PBS in February 2014, kicking off Black History month. The film was also broadcast on BBC Television (UK) and in several European cities. Pratibha is in development with several films including: FURY & TENDERNESS: ANDREA DWORKIN. An innovative feature documentary drama on controversial writer and feminist campaigner Andrea Dworkin. Co-Producers Salon Pictures (Developed with the support of the BFI (British Film Institute). (3/19)

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