“Before the Rooster Crows” by Puerto Rican director Arí Maniel Cruz was crowned “Best feature film” by the jury of the 23rd edition of the Regional and International Film Festival of Guadeloupe (FÉMI) that took place from January 27 to February 4, 2017.
For 9 days, 53 films were shown in a dozen towns of the archipelago with sessions for pupils of schools. 33 of these productions (feature films, short films and documentaries) participated in the official competition. 45 well-known guests in the world of the 7th art were present at this annual film event, among them Guadeloupean director Jean-Claude Barny and American actor Richard Gant.
Among these guests at the Regional and International Film Festival of Guadeloupe, there was Jean-Claude Barny. Native of Guadeloupe and Trinidad & Tobago, the director is renowned for three works : “Nèg Mawon” (2005) which is a life story of Guadeloupean youth that is aimless and without any historical landmarks ; “Tropiques Amers” (2007) a series for French television in 6 episodes of 52 minutes, shot in Cuba, whose story takes place in Martinique at the late 18th century, a time when France strongly supported slavery for the development of its sugar economy ; “Rose et le Soldat” (2014), which deals with the history of Martinique during the Second World War, when the island was administered by Admiral Robert, a supporter of the Vichy government, thus Hitler’s Germany.
As the guest of honour of FÉMI 2017, Jean-Claude Barny also came to present his latest feature film “Le Gang des Antillais”, released at the end of 2016 and based on the autobiographical book by Martinican Loïc Lery (present at the Festival) who was imprisoned in the 1970s for armed robberies in France with West Indian accomplices.
The other distinguished guest of the festival was Richard Gant. The 73-year-old American actor who participated in numerous television productions became famous thanks to his role in the movie “Rocky 5” (1990) with actor Sylvester Stallone.
In order to open up to the world, this year, Colombia was the country highlighted by FÉMI. The representative of the Colombian cinema was the scriptwriter Maria Camila Arias.
As regard the prize list, a dozen awards were given to filmmakers who took part in the official competition. After his compatriot Alex Santiago Perez who won the “Best Feature Film Award” in 2015 for his film “Las Vacas con Gafas” (Cows wearing Glasses), Puerto Rican director Arí Maniel Cruz took home the trophy and the check for 2 000,00 euros for his film “Antes Que Cante el Gallo” (Before the Rooster Crows). The jury was chaired by Fabien Gaffez, a member of the short films selection committee of the Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival.
The latter who did not attend the closing ceremony answered : “This good news comes to us as we go to Rotterdam. On the sister island of Guadeloupe, the Jury Grand Prize has just been awarded to us. Thank you FÉMI (…) “.
HONOURS LIST 2017
Best Feature: “Antes Que Cante el Gallo” by Arí Maniel Cruz / Trophy and 2,000 € offered by Canal +
Special Jury Prize : “El Abrazo de la Serpiente” (Embrace of the Serpent) by Cirro Gerra / Diploma
Best West Indies-Guiana Documentary : «Je Nous Sommes Vus» by Gilles Élie dit Cosaque / Trophy and 1,500 € offered by the Regional Council of Guadeloupe
Best Documentary: “Kemtiyu, Cheikh Anta” by Ousmane William Mbaye/ Trophy and 1,000 €
Best French-speaking Documentary : «Le Gardien de Non Retour» by Steve and Stéphanie James / Diploma and a GoPro camera offered by TV5 Monde
Best West-Indies-Guiana Short Film : “San Kombin” by Samuel Tanda / Trophy and 800 €
Best short film: «Viré» by Hugo Rousselin / Trophy and 800 €
Best animated short : “Yul et le Serpent” by Gabriel Harel / Trophy and 800 €
Prize of the High Schooler Jury : «Viré» by Hugo Rousselin / Diploma
Youth Jury Prize : “Yul et le Serpent” by Gabriel Harel / Diploma