The Caribbean is a region of rich cultural heritage, but it is also a place where traditional practices are rapidly disappearing due to economic and social changes. The whaling town of Barrouallie, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is one of the few places in the Western hemisphere where men still practice the ancient art of hunting whales for food. This unique way of life is the subject of a new documentary called MADULU, THE SEAMAN.
The film tells the story of George “Tall12” Frederick, one of the most legendary whale hunters in the small Caribbean village. Tall12 is also the last surviving keeper of the old sea shanty songs he sang out on the water. Now retired from whaling, he tries to pass on his lifelong traditions to his creative young nephew Amari, who dreams of leaving the island and becoming a soccer star in Paris. Through Amari's art, we see the connection between past and present, and the new interpretations of old traditions.
MADULU, THE SEAMAN is a lyrical documentary that uses a touch of magical realism to explore the divide between past and present. It interweaves documentary footage with animated sequences of young Amari's drawings to preserve the rich history of a dying tradition in the wake of the economic struggle at the hand of the tourism industry.
The film intends to bring back to life these old-time, folkloric stories to help explain the origins of this Caribbean village, which is now swiftly losing its traditional heritage. The 21st-century renaissance of a maritime music tradition among living practitioners represents a remarkable survival that deserves greater recognition.
The documentary features Caribbean Sea Shanty performances by George “Tall12” Frederick, one of the most successful harpoon gunners in the Caribbean. His songs are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the region and the struggles of those who live off the land and sea. The film is a reminder of the importance of preserving traditional practices and ways of life that are in danger of being lost forever.
MADULU, THE SEAMAN has been officially invited to have its World Premiere at the 2023 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. This will be the first time Hot Docs will host the world premiere of a film from the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The film is eligible for the Award for Best Short Documentary, as well as the Audience Award.
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America’s largest doc festival, conference, and market. It presents over 200 cutting-edge films from around the world each year, and its mandate is to showcase and support the work of Canadian and international documentary filmmakers and to promote excellence in documentary production.
MADULU, THE SEAMAN is a powerful tribute to the rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean and a reminder of the importance of preserving traditional practices and ways of life. It is a must-see documentary for anyone interested in the region's history and culture, and it is sure to make an impact on audiences around the world.