Not wishing to wait for Galleria Cinemas to get back to us, the National Commission on Cultural Development (of which I'm the Deputy Chair) contacted the distributors for the film Amazing Grace to see what the story is on the release of the film to the Caribbean.Now. Let me make my position clear here, lest people get sidetracked by the politics of the whole thing. I tend to agree with Frances-Anne about the reasons behind the abolition of the slave trade and of slavery itself, although I would go further and say that I believe that the abolitionist movement sprang from a genuine crisis of conscience. The fact that this gained political mileage when it did had plenty to do with power-struggles and economics, and the fact that the industrialists and factory owners who were gaining economic strength in Britain wanted to break the backs of their powerful predecessors, the land-owning aristocracy and the planters overseas. I don't, however, discount the question of conscience.The problem is that conscience is often compromised by prejudices and bigotry, which are often so unconscious that they are invisible to those who practise them. The release of the film Amazing Grace provides a fascinating study in the juncture of bigotry and conscience -- if indeed there are no plans to release it in the Caribbean.This is one fact I'm still investigating.So here is the email sent by me on behalf of the Cultural Commission to the distributors:
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 3:04 PMSubject: Amazing Grace - Limited Release?I am writing from Nassau, Bahamas, to inquire about the release of the film Amazing Grace in The Bahamas.I currently serve as the Deputy Chair of the National Commission on Cultural Development, a government-appointed group whose purpose is to monitor and oversee cultural activity and development for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. One of our main foci in 2007 is the Commemoration of the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Countries throughout the former British West Indies are observing this Bicentenary, which has fundamental significance for our populations and for our nations.As part of our commemorative activities, we wish to urge all Bahamians to view the film. However, it is not currently screening here. Inquiries of the Galleria Cinemas, the only distributor of mainstream movies in the nation, revealed that the film is in limited release and is not available to The Bahamas for showing.Given that the Abolition Act championed by William Wilberforce and his Abolitionists directly affected the British West Indian colonies, of which The Bahamas is one, we find the unavailability of this film, which provides an account of his struggle, beyond our comprehension.The National Commission on Cultural Development for The Government of The Bahamas wishes to invite a response from the distributors of the film regarding the screening of Amazing Grace in The Bahamas, and would be grateful for any light you might shed on this matter.Sincerely,Nicolette BethelDeputy Chair, National Commission on Cultural DevelopmentNassau, Bahamas
I received the following response from Roadside Attractions, one of the distributors (there are two - Samuel Goldwyn's the other):
Unfortunately, we don't hold the international rights to the film. Any inquiries about the Bahamas should go to the film's producers Bristol Bay Productions. They can be reached here: www.bristolbayproductions.com.