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Archives for December 2013

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Documentary on Queen Nanny, Jamaica’s National Hero, on Indiegogo

Following in the footsteps of acclaimed filmmakers like Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese, movie stuntman turned director, Roy T. Anderson has decided to go the crowdfunding route to help finance his latest project: a one-hour documentary film, Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess. Queen Nanny was the indomitable leader of the Jamaican Maroons, and Jamaica’s only female National Hero.

Jamaican $500 note with likeness of Nanny of the Maroons

Jamaican $500 note with likeness of Nanny of the Maroons

Anderson’s impressive début film Akwantu: the Journey, on the history of the Jamaican Maroons, a self-funded effort, has screened on three continents, winning several prestigious awards in the process. This has encouraged Anderson to start working on his second film, which will expand on the story of the New World’s first successful freedom fighters by shedding light on one of the leading figures in that struggle, Queen Nanny – and he is looking to for help.

Indiegogo, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform has a major appeal to budding filmmakers like Roy because of its flexible option that allow campaign owners to keep all the contributions they receive even if they don’t reach their goal. And so Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess launched on Monday, December 16, 2013 on Indiegogo, with a modest goal of $50,000.

Queen Nanny will begin shooting in 2014 in Jamaica and Ghana. As the producers continue to look for additional funding, they have taken to Indiegogo as a way to ‘spread the word’ and solicit contributions. In return they are offering contributors and supporters perks such as tickets to the première of the film, exclusive private screenings, autographed DVDs, and much more.

About Queen Nanny, the film

She was a queen, captured in her homeland, forcefully transported across the Atlantic Ocean in the belly of a slave ship. In the New

Queen Nanny director, Roy T. Anderson

Director Roy T. Anderson at Akwantu screening, NY

World, she would eventually rise up to become the leader of a new nation.

However, not many people outside of Jamaica know of the Legendary “Nanny,” warrior chieftainess of the Jamaican Maroons, one of the most celebrated, but least recognized heroines in the resistance history of the New World. Most of what we know about Queen Nanny comes through Maroon oral tales and folklore, and not much is written about her in historical texts. So who was this herbal healer, prophetess, and Asante Warrior Queen?

Conceived by Anderson and Georgia State University History Professor Harcourt T. Fuller, this landmark one-hour documentary film, will unearth and examine this mysterious figure that is Queen Nanny of the Maroons. Queen Nanny will document the struggle for freedom of the Jamaican Maroons, which was led by the indomitable military genius “Nana” Queen Nanny, a spiritual leader, skilled in the use of herbs and “guerilla tactics.” From her mountain stronghold at the source of the Stony River in the Blue Mountains, she directed the warfare that effectively neutralized the vaunted British firepower.

The film will be shot in Jamaica, Ghana, the United Kingdom, and the United States starting in 2014, and will feature interviews with scholars who are experts in Caribbean history and the study of slavery.

As we seek to uncover the history and legacy of Queen Nanny, her intriguing story will be told through songs, performances, poetry, and a series of reenactments. One of the highlights of the filming will be a three-day trek to the rugged hills of Old Nanny Town in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica. Legend has it that only the bravest Maroons or those “free of bad deeds” can safely venture up to this sacred spot where Nanny’s powerful spirit still inhabits.

Nanny symbolizes the pride of today’s Caribbean woman. This film will also look at her legacy and impact on contemporary Maroon and Jamaican women in general, such its current Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, Olympic sprint champion Shelley Ann Fraser-Pryce, and many others. This documentary will also serve as a prelude to the dramatic telling of the epic story of this larger than life iconic figure.

For more information, visit Nanny, the Movie, and on Facebook, Twitter, and the campaign page on Indiegogo

About Queen Nanny Director | Roy T. Anderson

Roy T. Anderson is writer, director and producer of the award-winning film Akwantu: the Journey (Action 4 Reel Flimworks,

2012), on the history of the Jamaican Maroons. This film, which has screened on three continents to rave reviews, was one hundred percent self-funded.

Queen Nanny, Roy’s sophomore film, will expand on the story of the New World’s first successful freedom fighters by shedding light on one of the leading figures in that struggle.

Anderson is a veteran stuntman/stunt coordinator and world record holder. He’s doubled for such Hollywood stars as, Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx, accumulating more than 400 production credits in the process. He has worked on such hits as Men in Black 3, The Dark Knight Rises, Spiderman 2, Bourne Ultimatum, and American Gangster, and the highly anticipated, Wolf of Wall Street.

While continuing his stunt work, Anderson has flipped the script to direct his second film. During his storied career, Anderson has shown the ability to be very creative in his performance and coordination of difficult stunts, and brings this same imagination to the table as a young director who has observed some of the top filmmakers in the world.

Sorrel, a Popular Jamaican Christmas Drink

There’s no Christmas in Jamaica without sorrel, a drink that is infused with ginger, sweetened with sugar and spiked with white overproof rum. It is as ubiquitous at Christmas time as rum cake, curried goat, and rice with pigeon (gungo) peas.

A hibiscus variety, sorrel came to Jamaica from West Africa. According to the National Library of Jamaica website, references to Jamaican sorrel date to the 1700s.

How to Make Sorrel Drink

Sorrel plant

Sorrel is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It is also rich in copper, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. Researchers at Jamaica’s Northern Caribbean University have found that three varieties of sorrel that are grown on the island could be effective in fighting some forms of cancer.

Many Jamaicans have the plant in their backyard gardens and some use it not only to make the popular Christmas drink but also to cool fevers, cure colds and lower blood pressure.

Sorrel Drink

Sorrel sepals

Its popularity as a Christmas beverage likely stems from the fact that it is harvested around November/December – just in time for the festive season. For many years, sorrel was only available at that time but as the numbers of Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals living in North America and the UK swell, you will find several different brands of the dried sepals for sale in supermarkets and health food stores. You can also find the bottled beverage available in some Jamaican/Caribbean restaurants.

Sorrel is also popular in Latin America. A few years ago, my boss’ Mexican wife introduced me to flor de Jamaica. I was so fascinated by the name of the blood red tea she’d made, it took me a while to realize that the color and vaguely familiar aroma was really sorrel.

Unsweetened, sorrel has a sharp, tangy taste. Add a little sugar and it becomes a refreshingly delicious drink. Sorrel can be used to make jams, jellies and chutneys, the leaves can also be used in salads.

Sorrel Drink
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  1. 6 cups water
  2. 3 cups sorrel sepals
  3. 2 oz ginger
  4. 6 whole pimentos
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  1. Bring water to boil.
  2. Pour boiling water over sorrel and ginger. It should be enough to cover the sorrel
  3. Cover and let steep overnight.
  4. Strain and sweeten.
  5. Add rum, if desired.
  6. Add pimento berries and refrigerate.
  7. Serve with ice.
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Jamaica Travel News

The following is a round-up of travel news culled from the Jamaica Gleaner and the Jamaican Observer newspapers.

Make the historic Cuba Cruise

Five days after the winter tourist season commences, Jamaica will be part of history when Louis Critsal Cruises sails out of Montego Freeport en route to Cuba.

This is the first time that a cruise line will operate ships between the two neighbouring countries.

During an interview on Monday, Cuba Cruise’s marketing and media coordinator, Melissa Medeiros, confirmed that the first ship from the tourism capital will depart on Friday, December 20, and operate every Friday until March 21, 2014. Read more here.


Jewel Paradise Cove Opens

The 225-room Jewel Paradise Cove hotel in Runaway Bay, St Ann, officially opened last weekend to become the third hotel in the Jewel brand owned by Sagicor Life Jamaica.

Jewel Paradise Cove joined the Jewel Runaway Bay, and the Jewel Dunn’s River in Mammee Bay, St Ann, as Sagicor extended its interest in Jamaica’s tourism product. Described by the company as its most contemporary spa resort, the redesigned adult-only property sparkles from its multimillion-dollar upgrade, offering services that are centred on its health, spa, and fitness theme.

Private balconies and patios have been added to the rooms, another evidence of the physical enhancement that has been made to the property. Of the 225 rooms, 15 are junior suites that have been totally refurbished to offer more luxurious accommodation for the guests. For more.


Jamaica on Target to Make Stopover History

THIS year is shaping up to be the best in the history of stopover arrivals, with preliminary figures suggesting that Jamaica could welcome more than two million visitors to the island by the end of the year, according to Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill.

“The 15th (today) is the start of the season but if we continue tracking at that pace, as we are doing now, we will have a landmark year as for the first time in history we would surpass two million stopover visitors for 2013,” McNeill told editors and reporters at the Jamaica Observer Press Club held at the newspaper’s head offices in St Andrew on Thursday. Read more here.


$20-billion Boost For Tourism Sector

Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill has said that over $20 billion in investments have been earmarked for Jamaica’s tourism sector.

“What we have on the books in terms of investment is about 20 billion in the tourism sector and it brings about 840 rooms on stream which are either new rooms or old rooms that have been completely refurbished,” McNeill said. Read more here.


Shorter Wait Expected at Airports

With thousands of visitors expected to travel to Jamaica during the 2013/2014 winter tourist season which begins today, efforts are underway to lesson the lengthy wait in long lines at the island’s two international airports.

According to Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill, the process has already begun with the removal of the outgoing immigration service, which had contributed to the bottleneck, from both the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Read more here.

Nelson Mandela Walks with the Angels Now

Nelson Mandela was laid to rest today in Qunu, the village in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province where he was born 95 years ago.

Even though he’d been ailing for several months and we knew it was a matter of time, the news of his death knocked me back unexpectedly.

I thought I was ready when I wrote earlier that it was time to let him go but I feel his loss as acutely as if he were a family member, which, in the grand scheme of things, he was.

Nelson Mandela was a towering figure, a fearless advocate for his people and, by extension, the international black community. He was our hero, too.

My tears flowed silently and freely, leaving streaks in my makeup, but I didn’t care. I was sad, sad and felt forlorn. I had never met Nelson Mandela or Madiba as he was called or been part of the crowds that heard to him speak. I had ‘walked’ in his footsteps at Robben Island Maximum Security Prison and Victor Vertser Prison, from which he resumed his life as a free man, but I wished now that I had a glimpse of him. And as I reflect on Madiba’s life, his struggles and sacrifices, I take comfort in his words.

5 Inspiring Quotes from Nelson Mandela

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to  serve others – qualities which are within easy reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life.

Our human compassion binds us to one another – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.

Farewell, Mr. Mandela.