“(Shabier) Kirchner: There was this place in Antigua, The Point, that’s always attracted me. It’s a really fascinating neighborhood. Not only was it a slave burial ground in the 1700s, it was one of the first places in Antigua where slaves started a revolt that led to a big uprising. It’s one of the only tenement yard systems left in Antigua. On top of that — being one of the poorest areas in the island — it shares walls with St. John’s, the capital and a duty-free port for cruise ships.
It’s an insane juxtaposition: this extremely poor area that’s so rich and full of Antigua’s history, and this cruise ship district where the island survives off tourism, where cruise ships come in and unload tourists who trample across the island, drive on the outskirts of these neighborhoods, take photos, and leave. I always thought it was an interesting example of modern-day colonialism.
Filmmaker: Tiquan, who’s narrating most of the film, has a summer job doing horseback tours for cruise ship tourists.
Kirchner: They offer whatever they can to tourists to make ends meet. But cruise ship tours never spend any money on islands. They get off, do a taxi or boat tour, and get on the ship again. A lot of this demographic of the island has never really seen the money. Tiquan would charge very little money, and he’d still get negotiated down from that. It’s wild.
We shot there for two days and met Tiquan — I didn’t think anything of it at the time. It was only after we’d come to the end of shooting Wendy that I showed my friend Elise Tyler — the co-director — the footage, and she said, “We should do something with this.” She and I and the editor, Diego Siragna, a dear friend of mine I met in Antigua, strung the images together. It wasn’t until a year later that we got Tiquan to add a voiceover. I was in New York and got my dad to find Tiquan and rig a car with a zoom mic. We got on speakerphone with him and just had him talk in a stream-of-consciousness: about life, Antigua, what he likes, what he doesn’t like, what he dreams about. That was all done over the phone and plugged into the short film, and we structured the edit according to what he talked about.”
Read the full interview in which Antiguan and Barbudan cinematographer Shabier Kirchner (Skate Kitchen etc.), named by Variety in 2018 as one of 10 cinematographers to watch, discusses his own filmmaking effort Dadli and the country that inspired it.
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.