Last year, I had the privelege to meet “Miss Lou”. I spoke to her on the phone a few times, before my friend the actress and broadcaster Leonie Forbes agreed to arrange a visit. We spent a few hours with her, had dinner with her and her companion Rosie, and I taped most of the evening.
Leonie was able to access two documentaries about Miss Lou from Jamaica. (This was no mean feat since most of the television archives in Jamaica have deteriorated or been destroyed). In particular, “Miss Lou and Friends” is an extraordinary record of Louise’s performance in 1990, when she returned to Jamaica for the first time since emigrating to Canada in 1981. She was 72 years old at the time, but the power, generosity and intelligence of her performance brought me to tears. The CBC agreed to let us use invaluable archive recorded in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. (This was also hard won since this publicly funded national broadcaster charges its tax-payers extortionate private sector rates for use of their archive. In the end they “gave” us 5 mins of Miss Lou for $1,000).
The result is “Miss Lou – Then and Now”, a half-hour doc that is part of our series “Literature Alive”.
It’s just one of the docs profiling Caribbean-Canadian authors that will be shown during the first ever “Literature Alive Film Festival”, part of the Irie Festival 2006. The Festival will take place at the NFB Mediateque, on John Street.”Miss Lou – Then and Now” was produced by Leonie Forbes and Frances-Anne Solomon, directed by Frances-Anne Solomon and Regan Macaulay.