My Father's Land Won Amnesty International Human Rights Prize

'My Father's Land', a documentary film by Miquel Galofré and Tyler Johnston has been awarded the Amnesty International Human Rights Prize in 2015 at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival (ttff) on September 27, 2015. The film is a true story of protagonist Papa Jah, a Haitian gardener who has spent the last 40 years in a marginalized community called 'the Mud' in the Bahamas. Papa Jah is a long-time friend of director Johnston. When Papa learnt that his 103-year-old father has taken ill back in Haiti, he feared that he may not see him anymore, rushed back to Haiti to meet him living in a small village on the island La Tortue.

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The film highlights the issues of migration and discrimination against people of Haitian origin in the Bahamas. It is the strongest analysis of human rights issues in the Caribbean that nicely describes the worst humanitarian migration crisis ever and how difficult it is to get empathized with the people in power. It is a film that speaks about the discriminatory policies on immigration system adopted by different states which not only affects Haitians, but applicable to all nations who have left their beloved homeland and migrated to another country for a better prospect and are susceptible to deportation.

Johnston is a Bahamian-American filmmaker and artist, settled in Trinidad and Tobago. He grew up partly in Abaco in the Bahamas, within an intersecting community of Haitians and Bahamians. Miquel Galofré is from Barcelona, Spain, but he lives in Trinidad. His previous, award-winning documentary was 'Why Do Jamaicans Run So Fast?'. 'My Father's Land' was completed within a 20-day shoot. The duo never wanted to promote the film with a political tag, but preferred it to be remembered as a humanitarian document. Amnesty International is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. It exposes human rights violations and campaigns for justice around the world. Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, founded in 2006, seeks to facilitate the growth of the Caribbean film industry and screens recent important films. The other three films that came close to the winner were: Casa Blanca by Aleksandra Maciuszek (from Cuba), Citizens of Nowhere by Regis Coussot and Nicholas Alexandre Tremblay (from Canada), The Last Colony by Juan Agustín Márquez (from Puerto Rico). The Amnesty International Human Rights Award is a formal acknowledgement of the efforts of filmmakers and activists in the Caribbean to raise awareness about human rights in the region.

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