Garvey film takes shape

Garvey film takes shape

Observer senior reporter

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!

A 2019 release date has been set for Marcus Garvey: The Untold Story, a docufilm by Jamaican-born, US-based filmmaker and stuntman Roy Anderson.

This will be the third production in a series from Anderson's Black Star Line Films. The previous productions are Akwantu and Queen Nanny.

Anderson saids he is taking his time with this project to ensure that it is done right.

“Movies can take a long time, so that's the reason behind the 2019 date... We just want to give this story its due and do it justice so we are taking our time. We started production in December of last year and we have set ourselves one-and-a-half years to complete all the interviews. We have done a number of the interviews already, but there is still more to be done. There are also some dramatisations and re-enactments which will be shot in Jamaica next summer. We have found a Jamaican, Paul Williams, to play Mr Garvey, so we are looking forward to that. We project that post-production will take six to nine months, so we are in no rush,” Anderson told thee Jamaica Observer.

The film-maker will be recreating certain key aspects of the Garvey story, including a number of his speeches, his deportation from the United States in 1927, as well as moments from his childhood growing up in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica.

For Anderson, getting the Garvey story correct is of critical importance, hence the timely nature in which the production is being approached.

“It's all in the title — The Untold Story. I have seen, heard and felt that Garvey has been maligned and misrepresented over time and, therefore, I want this production to showcase the man for who he really was and what he stood for from those who were and are closely associated with him and his work. In the past, his has been represented as a caricature; someone who took people for their money and this has mainly come from his detractors, so we want to show the other side,” he said.

One week ago, Anderson released a sample reel that provided an example of the ideas and images which will form the structure of the completed project.

“We just want to tease our audience with this snapshot which includes takes from some of the interviews which have been done with the likes of former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga, Garvey scholar Professor Rupert Lewis, actor and activist Danny Glover; Black Panther leader Fred Hampton Jr, dub poet and commentator Mutabaruka, Garveyite Miriam Samad, American politician Charles B Rangel, Dr Julius Garvey — the youngest son of Marcus Garvey — and Professor Justin Hansford of the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the interviews that has stood out was with George Carter, the first native black judge in Canada. He was present at an event where Marcus Garvey spoke in 1937. He describes, so well, the whole atmosphere and excitement. I have reached out to Harry Belafonte who was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in America.”

Anderson also has an interview with Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of the first prime minister and president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, which will be shot in Ghana next year. His wish list of interviewees includes former US President Barack Obama, Bernice King and Atala Shabazz — the daughters of civil right martyrs Dr Martin Luther King and Malcolm X — and Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.

“I also want to include Usain Bolt. Given that Marcus Garvey is Jamaica's first national hero and there are calls for Bolt to be named a national hero, I would really want his take on how he feels to be mentioned along the same lines of this great man,” says Anderson.

A proponent of black nationalism in Jamaica and the US, Garvey was a leader of a mass movement called Pan-Africanism. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) and promoted the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral lands.

He died in London, England, in June 1940 at 52. He is interred at a shrine in the National Heroes, Park in Kingston.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon