Number 848 • Friday, January 28, 2011

Feature Film on Christina Disaster in Production
By Teshell Samuel
MV Christina
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A documentary film depicting the events of the August 1, 1970 sinking of the MV Christina is currently in the works.

Local filmmaker Jeffrey Phipps will make his official directorial debut with the piece, and informed that it is, at present, in the production stage. According to Phipps, research for the feature began in 2009, coming after being inspired by reading the work of Nevisian Whitman Browne titled, “The Christina Disaster in Retrospect.”

“I have always heard of the stories of the Christina, but not as in depth as what I read in the book and being a filmmaker I have always been opportunistic about making a film … and I think it is pertinent to our history in a visual sense,” he said. “A lot of people do not read the books that we have here that tells our story, and I think if the opportunity arose where they could have a sense of some part in our history, they could possibly have a better outlook, and how to view themselves and the Federation as a whole,” he posited.

While Phipps informed that the film was less than 50% completed, he said that he felt good about the work already completed. According to him, a lack in finances has in ways slowed the project’s progress, but a number of avenues to correct the problem are currently being sought.

“I am in negotiations currently with overseas investors on actually taking the next step to fund the film, but nothing has been solidified yet, so I’m still in need of funding, which is important when doing any sort of activity of this nature,” Phipps explained.

Nationals have already had the opportunity to sample the film, as a brief nine-minute trailer was shown during the opening of the 3rd Traveling Film Showcase held at the Royal St. Kitts Beach Casino. The preview received positive feedback, Phipps stated, but indicated that said responses were from a more mature audience. He said he was not sure how the younger crowd would receive the documentary, but it was his hope that they would share similar sentiments.

Speaking directly towards what one can expect from the film, Phipps explained that he will take viewers through a reflection of the Federation’s relationship with its African heritage, the relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis, and then onto the actual disaster. It was necessary to include the African background of the Federation, he said, because the incident took place on Emancipation Day.

Information that may be revealed through the film may not be welcomed, Phipps indicated, but he explained that this was not a deterrent to him. He felt that it was necessary to educate persons on what actually took place in 1970, and of the circumstances that surrounded the sinking of the vessel.

“The film is not really to lay blame on anyone, but because of what I’m doing which can also be seen as investigative journalism, some persons will be offended, and that is not a personal care of mine. … I am a storyteller, and I have to do my job,” he asserted.

At present, there has been no date set for the completion of the documentary.

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