Seitz, David W. and Seitz, Alexandra Klaren and Campbell, Chris and Churchill, Erik and Olsen, Burke
Montserrat: Emerald of the Caribbean.
In the late 1990s, massive volcanic eruptions destroyed Montserrat’s infrastructure and leveled the island’s capital, Plymouth. Today, Montserrat’s 4,000 citizens are still coming to terms with this traumatic event. "Montserrat: Emerald of the Caribbean" explores how shared values—community, hope, faith—and traditions serve as sources of strength and identity for Montserratians as they rebuild their lives together. The film culminates in a portrayal of the sights and sounds of Montserrat’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival, a commemoration of African slaves who rebelled against their Irish slave masters on Saint Patrick’s Day, 1768. A unique blend of African, Caribbean, and Irish traditions, the Saint Patrick’s Day Festival represents the past, present, and future of a resilient people.
In recording the events of Montserrat’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations and offering a space for Montserratians to speak to outsiders about its meaning, the film functions, in a way, as an intervention into the communication subfields of rhetoric, media studies, and culture. In terms of rhetoric, the film explores various local forums and styles of public address—poem recitations, calypso performance contests and radio public service announcements—to elucidate how Montserratians construct arguments, maintain collective memories, and motivate each other to ways of thinking and action as they struggle to rebuild a nation severely uprooted by volcanic eruptions. As a “media study,” the film offers an intimate portrayal of ZJB Radio, the island’s only local media outlet. Following prominent radio personalities Rose Willock and Basil Chambers, the film shows how ZJB Radio fulfills many roles on the island (much like early radio in the US): town crier, public forum for debate, repository for local news and concerns. Furthermore, the film examines what one might consider to be non-traditional forms of media—intricately designed kites, cross-cultural “masquerade” dress—and shows how such non-traditional media convey specific messages to community members.
||University of Pittsburgh
|Schools and Programs:
||Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
||Montserrat, masquerade, visual ethnography, Irish slave trade, African Diaspora, community radio, documentary film, West Indies, nationhood, ZJB Radio, Irish music, transatlantic slave trade, Saint Patrick's Day, shamanistic dance, slave rebellion, ritual studies, Caribbean, Caribbean culture, Caribbean history, permaculture, British expatriates, Sufriere Hills Volcano, kite flying, David W. Seitz, Alexandra K. Seitz, Alexandra Klaren, Chris Campbell, Erik Churchill, Burke Olsen
|Media of Output:
||22 Mar 2010 14:24
||14 Jul 2011 17:33
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