Elza Q&A - Mariette Monpierre


An enthusiastic audience enjoyed the second night of the Caribbean Summer Season of films at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in London and were treated to an evening with a roller-coaster of emotions on Saturday 18th July 2015.

From the existential challenges of the short film “Missed” (Jamaica) and the supernatural horror of “Naufrago” (Cuba) to the family anguish and rejection of the feature film “Le Bonheur D’Elza” (Guadeloupe).

And, of course, appreciating Caribbean films in three different languages (English, Spanish and French) – with subtitles of course!

But capping it off on a high note was the Q&A discussion with the director of “Elza”, Mariette Monpierre!

Mariette joined the discussion via a live video link from the USA (where she currently lives) and was full of verve and energy and eager to respond to the many questions from the audience.

Seeing her face appear on the screen, the audience immediately recognised Mariette also as playing the mother of the main character. But what stunned those sitting in the boutique cinema was that the story in the film was based on Mariette’s own life story (with a few fictional elements for dramatic effect) and that the character of Elza was Mariette’s own younger self!

In replying to questions, Mariette spoke of the vital role that fathers play in lives of their daughters and how crucial role-modelling and words of affection can be.

She also reflected how Guadeloupe, like many other countries (especially those with histories of slavery and colonialism), not only has a rigid hierarchy based on race but also has a hierarchy based on colour as so succinctly expressed in her film.

Mariette spoke passionately about both the importance of telling our stories and the challenges of funding films where the financial resources are in the hands of others. But she also emphasised that part of the responsibility lay with the community in the general public who had to demonstrate recognition of and support for story-telling from the Caribbean by getting everyone they know to attend Caribbean film screenings to show not only that it is a legitimate genre but that it is also good business.

The convivial Mariette Monpierre, in between making adverts for retail businesses as her day job, is developing her second feature film and has said that she welcomes any support via her website www.elzathemovie.com or email address at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For details of other films in the 2015 #CaribbeanSummerSeason see www.sankofa-tv.co.uk