June 24, 2022

Stories of the Caribbean Diaspora | Beyond Resilience x Third Horizon Film Festival

Documentary films from the Caribbean are as diverse and varied as the sovereign states and territories within the island region itself. What are the issues surfacing on the islands across its shores, and how can we all learn from the practices of this diasporic community? Join Firelight Media's Beyond Resilience series at the Third Horizon Film Festival for a discussion with Caribbean filmmakers whose work engages with the region – its stories, its struggles, and its people.

Accessibility notice: This event included live closed captions.



  • Simon Benjamin, Filmmaker, Errantry (THFF '22)
  • Michele Stephenson, Filmmaker, Stateless (THFF '21)and Elena; Firelight Media Spark Fund grantee

The Beyond Resilience series is sponsored by Open Society Foundations. Beyond Resilience is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Field of Vision.

Participant bios:

Simon Benjamin is a Jamaican artist and filmmaker, whose research-based practice encompasses multi-sensory installations, sculptures, video, photographs, and printmaking. Benjamin earned his MFA from Hunter College in New York City. Hiis work has been included in documenta fifteen, Kassel, Germany (2022) and the Kingston Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica (2022), the trinidad+tobago film festival, Trinidad and Tobago (2021); NYU Gallatin at Governors Island, New York (2021); The 92nd St. Y, New York (2020); Brooklyn Public Library, New York (2019); Hunter East Harlem Gallery, New York (2019); the Ghetto Biennial, Port Au Prince, Haiti (2017); Jamaica Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica (2017); Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (2019); New Local Space, Kingston (2016); and Columbia University, New York (2016). Benjamin will be an Artist-in-Residence at Light Work as well as Baxter St. CCNY in 2022, and has participated in residencies at Lighthouse Works, Fishers Island, NY, Shandaken Projects and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, both on Governors Island in New York.

Janah Elise Cox is a Nuyorican documentary director and editor from the Bronx, NY. Her previous editorial work has premiered at Cannes, Berlinale, Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and New York film festivals, among others. She holds a BA in Globalization Studies with a focus in Latin America from SUNY Albany, was a 2019 Karen Schmeer Diversity in the Edit Room Fellow, a 2020 IF/Then North Shorts grant recipient and 2021 EnFoco Inc. grantee. Her directorial debut, Melting Snow, a short documentary about the coloniality of Puerto Rico's labor, was supported by IF/Then and Field of Vision and nominated for best Experimental Short at BlackStar Film Festival. It premiered on the Criterion Collection in May 2022.

Arleen Cruz-Alicea is a Puerto Rican film director, producer, national film activist, and mother. Among her credits is the direction of CUENTAS PENDIENTES, ANATOMÍA DE LAS CANAS, HISTÉRICAS, and she is the producer of PERFUME DE GARDENIAS, a narrative film that premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival.

Filmmaker, artist, and author Michèle Stephenson pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots and her experience as a human rights lawyer to think radically about storytelling and disrupt the imaginary in non-fiction spaces. She tells compelling, deeply intimate stories that are created by, for and about BIPOC communities. Her films reimagine Black diasporic community while highlighting personal and collective resistance to systemic oppression. She is a three-time Emmy Award nominee and winner of Tribeca and Sundance Festival Jury Prizes and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Her book, Promises Kept, written with co-authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. Stephenson is also a Guggenheim Fellow and a Creative Capital artist.

Chloë Walters-Wallace is the Director of Regional Initiatives for Firelight Media. In this role, she heads up Firelight’s Groundwork Regional Lab, which aims to expand the pipeline of emerging diverse makers from the South, Midwest & US Territories. Previously, Chloë  led the New Orleans Film Society's Emerging Voices Mentorship Program, and the Southern Producers Lab, a regional program bringing together 13 emerging, diverse producers from across the South. Chloe has worked for the Tribeca Film Institute, Clinica Estetico (under the late Jonathan Demme), Article 19 Films, and companies in New York, London, New Orleans, & Jamaica. In 2017 she produced “Woke” a narrative feature infused with mental & sexual health messaging for youth, preceded by the feature documentary "Back Story." Chloe has served on selection committees for the National Endowment for the Arts, Create Louisiana, Creative Capital, CAAM, Reel South, Cucalorus Works-In-Progress Lab, Doc Society’s New Perspectives Fund, IDA Documentary Awards & TFI If/Then Short Documentary Program. Chloe lives between New York & New Orleans and is on the board of Court 13 Arts.

Program Notes:

  • Stream Comida Pa’ Los Pobres via the Firelight Media website.
  • Watch Erranty via Third Horizon Film Festival. The short film is part of a program of 4 films which will broadcast live June 26th at 3:45 pm EDT. You will not be able to pause or rewind. After the live broadcast, you can access an on-demand recording until June 27th at 1:30 am EDT.
  • Watch Melting Snow via Third Horizon Film Festival. The short film is part of a program of 6 short films which will be broadcast live June 24th at 6:45 pm EDT. You will not be able to pause or rewind. After the live broadcast, you can access an on-demand recording until June 25th at 6:45 pm EDT.
  • Stream Stateless via POV on PBS.
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