I’m inspired by the women in my life and telling stories that prominently feature women making decisions, being active and at the forefront of the narrative… I simply knew I wanted to explore sisterhood and tap into some of my experiences as a teenager living in Trinidad. I then started interviewing dancers and the story for the film became clearer from those interviews. I was lucky enough to get women to open up to me about their personal stories. Those interviews helped affirm that there was an important story to tell. — Maya Cozier
SHE PARADISE—directed by Cozier, and co-written by the filmmaker and Melina Brown—started out as a feature-length script. Cozier then devised a short version as a festival calling card before developing her story of a work hard/play hard Trinidadian dance troupe, negotiating gigs—video shoots and party appearances—and demanding their due. Sisterhood above all is an inviolable precept, and it is a pleasure to watch Sparkle (Onessa Nestor), Diamond (Kimberly Crichton), Mica (Chelsey Rampersad), and Shan (Denisia Latchman) build a life through exhilarating movement and hustle.
This world premiere engagement is now streaming at AFI Fest 2020. See link below for details.
AFI Fest Presented by Audi.
Streaming through October 22.
Following the film, AFI FEST Senior Programmer Claudia Puig leads a conversation between Maya Cozier, Melina Brown, and Onessa Nestor.
Maya Cozier, She Paradise (2020), from top: Onessa Nestor; She Paradise; Chelsey Rampersad; She Paradise; Nestor. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, and She Paradise Instagram.