PAHOKEE — The independently produced film “Pahokee” recently brought home the grand prize from the Champs-Élysées Film Festival, which ran June 18-25 in Paris, France.
Directors Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan were on hand for numerous showings at Paris theaters before the awards were presented. “We’ve had some great screenings and Q&As,” she wrote, with the final one on June 24 at Cinéma Le Balzac.
“We were deeply touched and moved by the power of a film, an immersion in the heart of black and Hispanic communities in a small town in the United States, a film that delivers the portrait of a youth who strives to get by at the same time as it maintains the illusion of equality. A film that, through the accumulation of delicate portraits and poignant glimpses, tells the whole story and paradoxes of America and probably the western world.”
They posted their announcement and thanks to their supporters on the “Pahokee” (@PahokeeFilm) Facebook page on Thursday, June 27, quoting the jury, presided over by filmmaker Stéphane Brizé:
Ms. Lucas stated how thankful they were to those who welcomed them at the Champs-Élysées Film Festival, “especially Giulio Casadei and his team of programmers, the amazing Océan Océan and other members of the jury, Chantal Lian and Ulka Sniegowska at U.S. in Progress, and festival Director Sophie Dulac, who created this amazing opportunity for American independent film.”
She went on to say, “This award is for our friends in Pahokee Middle-Senior High, Kerria Nelson, Alphonso Walker, Jocabed Martinez, Bj Crawford and Bryan Crawford, who trusted us with their story. Big shout-out to our producer Maida Lynn, who pitched at U.S. in Progress, and our French co-producer Laurence Westlake, who rolls out the red carpet every time we visit France.”
The film actually was shown on three continents during June 2019 — at the Oak Cliff Film Festival in Dallas June 9 and at Olhar de Cinema in Brazil on June 8 and 10, then at the Champs-Élysées Film Festival.
She said it was a personal honor that the grand prize award last year at Champs-Élysées was won by Yen Tan of the Austin (Texas) Film Society for the film “1958,” whom she credited for making the titles and poster for the “Pahokee” film.
In May, the film was brought to the Glades for a special showing, where the directors were present for a question-and-answer period.
Tammy Jackson-Moore, co-founder of the advocacy group Guardians of the Glades, attended their showing and Q&A session at the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center in Belle Glade on May 14 and had this to say: “If you haven’t had an opportunity to see the film Pahokee yet, you have missed a great showing of life in Pahokee.
“As I watched it this evening, I was very familiar with the sites, sounds and many of the individuals shown in the film. The smiles on the faces of the children, young adults and everyone showed the happiness that engulfs the city. Patrick Xavier and his wife, Ivete Lucas, did an awesome job, and the editing was amazing!
“As I watched the credits, I saw my name listed with the ‘Thank You’s,’ but I must thank Patrick and Ivete for their dedication and commitment in seeing this film through. This is something for the city to be proud of! Thanks for everything that you do, Patrick and Ivete! Outstanding!”