Thursday 23 May 2019

Interview with Nassau-born filmmaker Kareem Mortimer

From Nassau-born filmmaker Kareem Mortimer, Cargo adds more fuel to the conversation about immigration reform currently happening in the United States.  We spoke to Mortimer from his native Bahamas ahead of the May 30 release.

Where did you hail from, sir? Always been based there? 

Hi, I was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas but I have lived in Miami, Florida and spent time in New York and Western Massachusetts. I currently live between Nassau, Bahamas and Eleuthera, Bahamas.

How’s the industry there?

 The population is quite small in the Bahamas so the industry is nascent, there are a great deal of commercials and short films that are shot here but not a great deal of local features on a regular basis.

What was your first project? Did it shoot there? 

This is not my first project; it is my third feature and second feature as Writer/Director. My first feature was Children of God. We shot this film entirely in The Bahamas.

How better a project is this latest one to the first? In your opinion, of course?   

That’s a difficult question, I love both for many different reasons so it is hard to say which one is better but I can describe how they are different.  With Cargo, we had a larger budget so it allowed me to take more time to complete a take than I had with my first feature.

How do you think you’ve grown as a filmmaker? 

I am more confident about the stories I want to tell and feel incredibly at home with that.

What’s the film about?

 The film is about a down on his luck fisherman who becomes a human smuggler and the lives his choices affect. It’s personal on many levels, the first time I had seen a dead body was at 9 years old when I saw a group of Haitian refugees on the news that had washed on the shore.
And I can relate to Warren Brown’s character, not in the way that I have made the choices that he makes but I relate in the way of feeling trapped by financial pressures and as a father wanting to do whatever it takes for the well being of my child.

What is the strength of the film? 

The strength of the film in my opinion is the point of view and it’s authenticity.  I think the film takes a nuanced and unique view of human smuggling and also a rare look of life for some people trying to get to the United States.

It’s a tense ride – is tension hard to write in a script, or does it come together via visuals and sound?
Thank you! I try to capture it as much as I can in the writing but it definitely all comes together in post with my editor and sound designer.

How do you think the film will resonate in the US? 

I think with all the conversations about migration that is currently happening in the United States about immigration reform, our film provides a human face to this issue that will hopefully lead people to be far more compassionate.

Where can we find the movie?  

The movie hits theatres in the U.S this summer and will be released on major platforms shortly after through Artists Rights Distribution in the US.