Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nigerian Premiere of TULA, the Slave Revolt Epic at 4th Eko International Film Festival

Tula: The Revolt, the historical epic slaves revolt film is among several new blockbuster movies that will have their Nigerian premiere at the forthcoming 4th annual Eko International Film Festival from November 18-23, at the Silverbird Cinemas, Silverbird Galleria on Victoria Island, Lagos.

The film directed by dutch filmmaker Jeroen Leinders and with an international cast including Danny Glover, Obi Abili, Jeroen Krabbé, Deobia Oparei and Derek de Lintis is based on the true life story of Tula (executed October 3, 1795) who was a slave on Curaçao and a leader of a 1795 slave revolt that convulsed the island for more than a month. He is revered on Curaçao today as a fighter for human rights and independence.

Scenes from Tula.

Bandabou had between 4,000 and 5,000 inhabitants in 1795, mostly enslaved. Tula had been preparing the insurrection for some weeks. On the morning of August 17, 1795, at the Knip plantation of Caspar Lodewijk van Uytrecht at Bandabou, Curaçao, Tula led an uprising of 40 to 50 slaves. The enslaved met on the square of the plantation and informed van Uytrecht they would no longer work for him. He told them to present their complaints to the lieutenant governor at Fort Amsterdam. They left and went from Knip to Lagun, where they freed 22 slaves from jail.

From Lagun, the rebels went to the sugar plantation of Saint Kruis, where they were joined by more rebels under Bastian Karpata. Tula then led the escaped slaves from farm to farm, freeing more slaves.
The slave owners had now retreated to the city, leaving their plantations unprotected. At the same time, a confederate French slave, Louis Mercier, led another group of freed slaves to Saint Kruis, where he took the commandant, van der Grijp, and ten of his mulattos prisoner. Mercier also attacked Knip, where he freed more slaves and took some weapons. He then rejoined Tula, locating him by following the trail of destruction Tula had left behind.


I bumped into this story by accident about five years ago. I was surprised that I’d never heard about it before and that apparently nothing had been done with it until then. It is a special and true story shedding light on a dark period in our history. But above all it is a story containing all the necessary elements – like despair, love, hope, treason and determination – to make a beautiful film

Click here to read the full Q&A with Jeroen Leinders the Director of Tula – The Revolt.

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