We’re gearing up for the return of Third Horizon Film Festival at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) this Thursday, September 27. The third edition of the festival will premiere the acclaimed Floridian documentary Black Mother, followed by a party on the terrace with UK-based Ghanaian DJ/Producer Juls. You can still grab your tickets here.
We caught up with festival’s Director/Co-Founder Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, and chatted about the inspiration for the fest, its greatest successes, and what Miami can expect from the weekend-long event.
PAMM: What was the original inspiration for Third Horizon Film Festival?
Jeffers: In 2013, we produced the short film Papa Machete about an aging farmer in Haiti who was one of the few remaining practitioners of the esoteric martial art of Haitian machete fencing. It was a big success, screening at festivals such as Sundance, and it can currently be seen on NationalGeographic.com, where it’s racked up over a million views. All very exciting, but along the way we came to realize there were so few Caribbean films appearing at these festivals and on these outlets, and felt the need to create a platform of our own to highlight the other amazing stories and creators coming out of the Caribbean, one of the most culturally diverse regions on earth. In many ways, we see Miami as an extension of the Caribbean, making it the perfect home for the festival.
Third Horizon Film Festival is in its third year. What do you consider some of its greatest successes?
Our opening night film for our very first edition — Ayiti Mon Amour by director Guetty Felin — would go on to be the first ever film submitted by Haiti to the Academy Awards. In our first year, we also staged an exhibition at O Cinema of the work of Barbadian visual artist Sheena Rose. Within the next 18 months, she was featured in the New York Times, Vogue, and several other important publications. We been thrilled to share these and other breakthrough works, and because of this, I believe our curatorial and programming—in keeping with our own success as filmmakers—defies outdated notions and expectations that Caribbean creativity is somehow parochial and naive, concerned only with tourism-driven visions of paradise. As a region on the frontline of cultural diversity and even climate change, the Caribbean is the future, and the success of the work that really digs into the issues and complicated legacies it’s dealing with stands as testament to this.
Which Juls hit are you looking forward to hearing most?
For me, that would be “Gwarn”. It’s seductive, futuristic, Afro-diasporic dancehall. Really hypnotic, and even a little dangerous in the best way possible. I’m looking forward to causing some trouble to that one.
What do you hope PAMM’s audience takes away from the evening?
Last year’s party was epic, and I don’t use that term lightly. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that many people sweating and dancing and losing themselves on the terrace. And all this came after the crowd was deeply moved by the film they just watched in the auditorium. I hope and expect our opening night film “Black Mother” will touch people in the same way, and that it will be followed by another amazing carnival of a party for the ages.
What does it mean to you to have Third Horizon Film Festival back at PAMM?
PAMM keeps upping its commitment to furthering the conversation around Caribbean visual art and Caribbean creativity in general. Therefore, it feels very natural to us be powering up the museum one more time, because it creates the kind of space that is welcoming to the wildly multicultural audiences, conversations and vibes we wish to put forth. It’s just as exciting as the first time around, if not more so.
If you could give only one tip to avid Third Horizon Film Festival followers for the weekend of fun what would it be?
There’s a term we use around a lot of the Caribbean to describe hanging out: on many islands, it’s called ‘liming’ or ‘having a lime’. There’s no time to get into the etymology here, but the most exciting thing about the festival is the people it brings together on a weekend-long caravan of good conversation, spirit-lifting parties, and of course, at its very heart, enlightening film. If you dive right in, all the way in, it will likely only take a day for you to find an invigorating tribe made up of exciting new friends from all kinds of different backgrounds. I marvel at who we’re able to bring together every year, and it keeps getting better. My advice would be to take the entire weekend off and ‘lime’ with us.