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Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Priestess

She is the only woman among Jamaica’s seven national heroes. Her bravery and skill as a military strategist are unparalleled.

Born in the 18th century in Ghana, Queen Nanny became the spiritual leader of the Winward Maroons, the enslaved Africans who fled to the rugged mountains of Jamaica’s eastern parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, and St. Mary. It is from this her stronghold that she led her people in several decisive battles against the British army, bringing them to heel.

However, unlike her male counterparts, very little was written about Queen Nanny. The recently released documentary, Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainness, will change that.

Conceived by veteran stuntman and award-winning filmmaker (Akwantu, the Journey 2012), Roy T. Anderson, and Professor of History, Dr. Harcourt T. Fuller, both Maroon descendants, and filmed in Jamaica, Ghana, Canada and the United States, Queen Nanny shines a light on the indomitable spirit of this larger-than-life woman. It tells her story through songs, performances and reenactments, interviews with Maroons, and scholars who are experts in Caribbean history and the study of slavery.

The documentary also examines the legacy Queen Nanny has bequeathed to contemporary Jamaican women.

Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainness had its World Premier at the United Nations on October 19th, the day that is celebrated in Jamaica as National Heroes Day.

The screening was part of the UN’s 2015 Remember Slavery Programme of Activities, which included a solemn commemorative meeting of the UN General Assembly, film screenings, roundtable discussion and an exhibit. The events also draw attention to the International Decade for People of African Descent.

This year’s theme of Women and Slavery pays tribute to the many enslaved women who endured unbearable hardships, including sexual exploitation, as well as those who fought for freedom from slavery and advocated for its abolition.

Every year on 25 March, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. This historic day in 2015 marked the unveiling of a Permanent Memorial to Slavery at the UN Headquarters in New York. Titled the Ark of Return, it was designed by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent.


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.

Akwantu: the Journey, a New Film about the Maroons

Akwantu: the Journey, a new documentary film by writer/director, Roy T. Anderson, a Maroon, answers the question, Who were the Maroons?

Akwantu: the Journey

Akwantu: the Journey documents the struggle for freedom of the Maroons of Jamaica who were able to flee the plantations and slave ships to form communities in some of the most inhospitable regions of the island. Poorly armed and outgunned, the Maroons faced down the mighty British Empire led by such brave warriors as Cudjoe and Nanny. Cudjoe who has historically been described as a “short almost dwarf-like man” fought for years to maintain his people’s independence and freedom. However, Cudjoe also held the belief that the only way to secure a stable future for his people would be to negotiate a long-term peace with the British. This way of thinking, some would say eventually lead to the signing of a peace treaty with the British in 1739. Nanny, a spiritual leader skilled in the use of herbs not only managed to keep her people healthy, but safe as well by utilizing effective “guerilla warfare” tactics to defend against the vaunted British firepower. More about the Maroons.

Watch a preview here.