Paradise Discovered: The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders 2.0 was awarded the prestigious title of the best feature documentary at the fifth annual 12 °N, 61 °W Grenada Film Festival.
It emerged victorious in a tough competition against films from Jamaica, the USA, Trinidad, Guyana, Grenada, the UK, St Vincent, Dominica and Guadeloupe.
Meschida Philip, the founder of the 1261 Film Festival, extended his congratulations to Peter Bailey and his team on winning the Best Documentary Film award. He added that the documentary Paradise Discovered is a film that beautifully showcases the Caribbean stories on a global scale.
The way they delved into the cultural nuances has truly fostered the understanding among the audiences of multiple cultures. He added that they celebrate the accomplishment and value the contribution they have made to the Grenada Film Festival and the Caribbean Cinema.
The Paradise Discovered is a ground breaking series that is based on Bailey’s New York Times Op-Ed, “Has American Forgotten the Virgin Islands. The series chronicles the survival and reconstruction efforts of the people of the USVI in the repercussions of the disastrous effects of Hurricane Irma and Maria in 2017.
The Paradise Discovered is a film that has touched everyone’s heart, and it sheds light on the harsh impacts of climate change on the people and the culture of USVI.
Despite being a citizen of St Thomas, he is privileged to be a part of this journey where he could share the motivational story of the USVI resilience.
He mentioned that there is a hunger in the Caribbean people to see their stories authentically on the big screen. He further added that Grenada’s 1261 Film Festival is playing a pivotal role in making this unprecedented movement a reality.
Bailey shared his personal experience of both storms. He builds a makeshift roof after the storm devastated his family’s home while writing the famous Times piece.
He grabbed a lot of attention globally for criticizing the US government’s response to this tragedy, and he also pointed out the lack of media coverage.
Moreover, The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders also gained recognition at Toronto’s Caribbean Tales International Film Festival in 2019 and is now streaming on various popular platforms like Apple, Tubi, T.V., and iTunes.
The Anguilla Connection, the first film of the Paradise Discovered series, premiered in Anguilla in 2018. The last film of the series premiered last November with USVI Public High School Students. Also, the last film was featured in Essence magazine.
The screening of the film was an eye opener for the students and instilled a sense of pride in them, telling them about the problems that the local community is facing, stated Alani Arnold, a Complex High School Senior.
Peter Chapman, CEO of the UVI Research & Technology Park, expressed immense pride in being a part of this beautiful journey. He also stated that the message of innovation, creativity, and technological power resonates not only with the Virgin Islands but also with the wider Caribbean community.
Joseph Boschulte, the US Virgin Islands Department of Tourism Commissioner, also extended his gratitude towards Bailey’s effort to showcase the beauty of the territory throughout the film.
The series has gained public recognition and is available in public libraries across North America, including New York City, Los Angeles and Toronto and is also used in the classes at:
– Stanford University
– University of Miami
– College at William & Mary
– Notre Dame University
– University of Houston and many more.