Benjamin Zephaniah launches Haile Selassie film in Bath
On August 6, Bath cinemagoers will be helping to mark the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence with a special evening of screenings and fundraising.
The highlight will be the showing of an acclaimed 50-minute documentary on the Rastafarian spiritual leaders, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, who lived in exile in Bath between 1936 and 1941.
He used to attend The Little to watch newsreel footage of the Italian invasion of his homeland. While in the city, he settled at Fairfield House in Kelston Road, Weston, which he later bequeathed to the Bath community as a cultural centre.
Presented by poet, writer and broadcaster Benjamin Zephaniah, the documentary Footsteps Of The Emperor was produced and directed by local film maker Shawn Naphtali Sobers, who has thrown his weight behind the campaign by Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association to make sure Fairfield House is retained for community use.
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Dr Sobers will host a question and answer session after the screening to talk both about the BEMSCA appeal as well as his film, which features interviews with Bath residents who met and worked for Haile Selassie, still hold the Emperor in high regard today, and the legacy of the home he left as a gift for the city.
"I can't think of a better way of helping to mark Jamaica's 50th anniversary of independence", said the Little's general manager Martin Jennings-Wright. "We are delighted to be helping support Bath's multi-cultural society in this way.
"The event will have special resonance at The Little, as Shawn's film will be shown in the same auditorium in which Haile Selassie used to watch the newsreels."
Added Dr Sobers: "The film charts the extraordinary time the Ethiopian Emperor spent living in wartime exile in Bath, and covers the special place the city had in the heart of this inspirational man."
And to keep the Jamaica vibe alive for the rest of the week, cinema goers can look forward to a screening of the highly praised documentary on world famous reggae legend Bob Marley, to be shown at The Little's new partner in cinema-going experience, the Komedia live event venue in nearby Westgate Street.
People with tickets to the two-hour film – entitled Marley – to be shown on the evening of Friday August 10, can get in free to the The Beat Carnival club night right after the screening finishes.