Bermuda Film Fest – Day 5

AKA Black History Month in one night…

The first of my two evening screenings took place at the swanky Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. ‘Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela’ chronicled a life in exile from South Africa, documented in a deeply personal manner by the subject’s adopted son. In a rare nod to the 21st century, the director is keeping a blog of the film’s journey through the festival circuit. It’s accessible through the production company’s website:

The film was great, but what really stuck in my mind was the persistent murmurs from the audience during the Q&A afterwards. It wasn’t heckling by any means, more like a congregation participating in a sermon. The strong communal bond between native Bermudians is something this pasty-white agnostic isn’t used to… If I wasn’t leaving on a Sunday I might have mustered up the courage attend my brother’s local Church.

It was no surprise that ‘Walking on a Sea of Glass’ sold out— locally-produced films usually do. But why festival organizers chose to screen it at the smallest venue in town is beyond me. It ended up working in my favour, though; candy and popcorn flowed freely from seat-mates on either side of me.

I had thought that ‘Walking on a Sea of Glass’ was going to be about the struggle to end segregation in Bermuda in the 1950s, but Kingsley Tweed, the subject of the film, pretty much solved that in the first half-hour of the film. The remaining screen time showed another life lived in exile, as Tweed was urged to flee his island home for his own safety. The outspoken activist was finally convinced to return only a few years ago, to be reunited with surviving friends and the daughters he never knew.

Though shot on video, the quality of the production was quite impressive, except for an odd sound mix which made Mr. Tweed seem larger than larger than life.

Film quote of the day:

“Young people have to realize that there is no today without yesterday, and there’s no tomorrow without today.”

…. One of the disciples in ‘Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela’.

Most magnanimous gesture of the festival thus far:

Director Errol Williams waving off the Q&A after ‘Walking on a Sea of Glass’, saying it was too late and thanking the audience for coming.


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