“When Caribbean Heritage Magazine asked if I would be interested in interviewing writer-director extraordinaire, Steve McQueen about his series Small Axe, as part of their Salute to Hollywood Honorees, it was a no-brainer. At that point I had seen all his feature films, and I was an avid fan of his work.
Flash forward to the date of the interview, my nerves are abated; Mr. McQueen and his team are warm and an absolute delight. He and I conversed candidly about the events of the series and the inspiration behind each film. What was indelible for me was hearing him speak about the films in the context of the socio-political zeitgeist of the 60s, 70s and early 80s in the British West Indian communities in which the films are set. He shared that though decades removed, the stories are still very relevant today.
I also enjoyed his insight on what the success of these unique stories mean for Caribbean films, stories and filmmakers going forward. The films speak boldly with an equally eclectic Caribbean and British tongue, and are richly spiced with the dynamism of the Caribbean spirit. I left the conversation feeling encouraged that our experiences, our stories are valid and valued, needed even. I hold whole-heartedly to his charge to us as Caribbean filmmakers to just get it done. “By the hook or by the crook, do it!”
WATCH THE INTERVIEW BELOW
Natasha Griffiths is a filmmaker and lecturer at UTech, Kingston, Jamaica