Broward Coronation Film Festival Two brand-new, must-see documentaries filmed in Jamaica recently, “The First Rasta” and “Bad Friday,” will be premiered at the Broward Coronation Film Festival’s “Tribute to the Patriarchs” on Friday, December 9, 2011.

The double-bill at the Joseph C. Carter Park, 1450 W. Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, starts at 7:00 pm with “First Rasta,” a documentary that gives an authentic and comprehensive account of the little known historical origins of the Rastafari Movement. Produced by award-winning French music journalist Hélène Lee, “First Rasta” traces the exceptional journey of Leonard Percival Howell, a Jamaican revolutionary/religious figure who has virtually disappeared from the history books. Also known as the “Gong”, Howell established a Rasta community of 4,500 members at Pinnacle in the hills of St. Catherine, Jamaica, where the Rastafari philosophy and Way of Life was formalized, along the first agro-industrial enterprise devoted to producing marijuana among other produce.

The second documentary film on the double bill, “Bad Friday: Rastafari After Coral Gardens,” starts at 9:00 pm. “Bad Friday” chronicles the history of state violence against Rastafari in Jamaica during the infamous “Coral Gardens Incident” of Easter 1963. The “Coral Gardens Incident” was a brutal moment in the history of Jamaica just after independence from Britain, when the Jamaican police shot and killed a number of Rastafarians and rounded up, jailed and tortured hundreds more all over the island. “Bad Friday: Rastafari After Coral Gardens” is directed by Deborah A. Thomas and John L. Jackson, Jr., who both have production credits along with Rasta musician Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn, and the late Rasta activist Junior “Ista J” Manning. The documentary was shot on location in Jamaica, and the original score features modern renderings of the traditional musical forms that comprise the roots of Reggae music.

Admission to the Broward Coronation Film Festival is $10.00 at the door and Under-12s are free. Food and refreshments will be on sale. Part proceeds from the event will be in aid of the Anthony White Scholarship Fund. The “Tribute to the Patriarchs” will be the climax of a month-long celebration of the 81st Anniversary of the Royal Coronation of H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Waizero Menen of Ethiopia.

The Film Festival Tribute is presented by the Rootz Foundation Inc. in association with the City of Fort Lauderdale Parks & Recreation Department. For more information at the Broward Coronation Film Festival call Rootz Foundation at 954-981-1176 or Carter Park at 954-828-5411. —