From Antigua to Africa to the Big Apple

(Photo courtesy Studio JoJan)

Antiguan actress Francoise Bowen will take her talent and her country to the world stage at an international film festival later this year.

Bowen’s short film titled “Back to Africa from Antigua” will debut at the Ocktober Film Festival in New York.

She says the movie focuses on the trials of house slaves in Antigua during the colonial era and struggling with being in a new and foreign place and their longing for their homeland.

“Field slaves always have a story but I think house slaves have one to share as well, one that nobody knows,” she says. “The story is that Antiguan slaves thought that Africa was nearby when they went down to Hawksbill they thought that they could see Africa in the distance but it was actually the island of Montserrat.”

She came up with script last year during a bout of chikungunya.

“While laying down in bed, I was looking at my closet and saw the top of the sleeve of a dress I designed. Looking at the top shoulder of the dress, one word came to my mind repetitively “Africa” and in five minutes I wrote down the script.”

Once she recovered, she contacted her producer, Anderson Edgehill, and they started filming. She also got help from local historian, Paddy Simon.

Bowen said she submitted the film in good faith, unknown to her family and friends. According to her, the result has been monumental.

“On Friday morning when I saw the email I actually screamed down the house because I didn’t think for a moment it would be accepted,” she said.
“It might sound weird and I had faith, yes, but I still didn’t think it was going to happen.”

The Ocktober Film Festival will take place from October 1st to 4th in New York City.

Bowen, who is also a screen writer and playwright, told OBSERVER Entertainment that she hopes to win international support for the local film industry while in the Big Apple.

“It’s a good way for me to help promote my island and to show that we have the natural ability for acting and we just need more help from the international community.”