Andrea E. Leland, a film maker and artist, attended the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, then traveled throughout the Caribbean capturing moments within its communities through the medium of paint.
In 1986, changing her artistic medium to film, she began to document and celebrate communities in Haiti, Belize, Virgin Islands, Mexico, and the United States.
Her first documentary, Voodoo and the Church in Haiti, illustrates aspects of Voodoo and how it fits into everyday Haitian life. Her second documentary,The Long Road Home, focuses on the Mayan community living in Guatemala under its 1980s government policy known as "Scorch and Burn" which caused the Maya to migrate to Chiapas, Mexico.
For her next film in 1995, she collaborated with Kathy Berger, a producer, for The Garifuna Journey, documenting Garifuna tradition bearers in Belize and below is a study guide to the film.
Another film project was completed in 2014, Yurumein (Homeland), a collaborative work with the Caribs/Garifuna of St. Vincent in the Caribbean, documenting the attempts to bring this culture back to the nation as its traditions and culture were almost lost during years of colonial repression. Filmed oral histories with transcripts are available here and below is a study guide to the film.
Andrea E. Leland provides more information about her work and films.
INTERVIEWS are available. Andrea Leland conducted them while in the Caribbean, specifically in St Vincent, with her crew where they filmed and transcribed these oral interviews with Carib and Garifuna people.
Andrea E. Leland, Lauren Poluha, and Paula Prescod
The Garifuna and Carib communities of St Vincent in the Caribbean collaborated with the documentary filmmaker Andrea E. Leland to produce Yurumein – Homeland: The Caribs of St Vincent, an exploration of the historical and spiritual significance of St Vincent and Baliceaux to Garifuna and Carib communities .
This film guide speaks about the history, culture, music, and food of the peoples that were displaced from their home and, through activities addressing the film's content, informs readers about the movement to bring Garifuna/Kalinago culture back to St Vincent and reconnect Garinagu to their homeland.
Andrea E. Leland and Kathy Berger
Garifuna tradition bearers, artists, and technicians collaborated with filmmakers Andrea E. Leland and Kathy Berger in producing The Garifuna Journey, a documentary focusing on this story of resistance and continuity of culture.
The National Garifuna Council of Belize also worked with this project to help with its goal of cultural retrieval, as little had been documented and collected for its own archives .
With direction from tradition bearers in Belize, over sixty hours of video footage and audio taped oral histories were collected, transcribed, and returned to the community in Belize. The Carifuna Journey documentary was produced from the collected materials, and a traveling exhibition was mounted. This project predominately reflects the Garifuna experience in Belize.