The Gala Premiere of the Bahamian made film ‘Cargo’ – an action filled human drama inspired by true events – unveils in Abaco on December 6 at the Abaco Beach Resort and is open to the public.
It tells the story of Kevin, a Bahamian fisherman with a gambling addiction in Nassau, who takes a job smuggling Haitians to Florida in a desperate ploy to support his family.
‘Cargo,’ produced by Bahamian production company Best Ever Film Ltd., has already won a Bahamian Icon Award and the Amnesty International Human Rights Award at the Trinidad+Tobago Film Festival.
The film stars Warren Brown, Gessica Geneus, Omar J. Dorsey, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Persia White and Sky Nicole Gray.
“Cargo is the culmination of seven years of raising money, writing, researching and looking within to make a work of art that we are ultimately proud of,” stated Writer and Director Kareem J. Mortimer.
The film is a feature length version of Mortimer’s award-winning short film ‘Passage,’ which was released in 2012 and won ten awards including an African Movie Academy Award and a Bahamian Icon Award.
Mr. Mortimer remembers the first images of dead people he ever saw on TV – the bodies of migrants who drowned trying to enter The Bahamas. “It was a very jarring image and I’ve never been able to forget it.” He said.
“It never goes away, these stories, it keeps coming back and coming back, and it was sort of the entry way for me to explore the story which eventually became Cargo.”
He said the themes that play out in ‘Cargo’ involve race, class, migration, gaming and gambling, extra marital affairs. “The film unpacks a lot – the larger issue is the human smuggling, but it also encapsulates those other issues as well,” he said.
He said that as all the characters in the film are Bahamian the culture of the Bahamas is very prevalent throughout the film.
Business partner and Producer Alexander Younis said that he and Mortimer met “four years ago at a time that was vital for Kareem as a filmmaker in the Caribbean and in The Bahamas, and with ‘Cargo’ being such a local story, being so deeply rooted in The Bahamas, it was a crucial decision, so to shoot the film in The Bahamas was a commitment from all of us.”
He said they pushed forward even though it was known that, “when it comes to film, things are more costly [in The Bahamas] including equipment and we’re proud that of 140 people employed by the production 80 were Bahamians in crew as well as cast in front of the camera.”
Mr. Mortimer says he plans “to continue telling stories – there’s a new project coming – it’s still in the incubator so I can’t share it yet.
This is his thirteenth project which includes documentaries and commercials as well as full length features ‘Children of God’ and ‘Wind Jammers,’ both of which were filmed in The Bahamas as well.
He said that ‘Children of God’ has travelled to 26 countries worldwide and was in more than 100 film festivals and has been seen by millions of people.
Mr. Younis said that Best Ever Film Company is a production company with local investors and is committed to producing up to 5 feature films over the next 10 years.
Mr. Mortimer advised any young person wanting to purse film that it “starts with a belief in yourself – confidence not arrogance – and with that you are always able to see a way for you to accomplish your dreams, whether you come from privilege or not. When you don’t believe in yourself you become insecure and you sabotage yourself.”
Mr. Younis added that Bahamian filmmakers ought to seek to share and collaborate, “it is not a competition and it’s not a threat to one’s career as a filmmaker in The Bahamas.”