If you are a fan of documentary film then Damani Baker’s name should be immediately familiar to you as one-half of the directing team on “Still Bill,” the 2009 feature length doc on legendary soul music singer Bill Withers and easily one of the best music-based documentaries of the last decade. On a whole his career spans documentaries, music videos, museum installations and advertisements and he is also an alum of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces in Independent Film”
But despite his focus on the work of others, as often occurs, it’s the most personal projects that take on the greatest significance. Reflecting and retracing his family’s exploits in early 1980’s revolutionary Grenada, and the United States military invasion to unfurl that, Baker has produced a compelling documentary in “The House on Coco Road.” But he needs your funds to help finish the film.
Focusing on women’s roles in the struggle for Black liberation, a perspective regaining more notice with Ava DuVernay’s perspective on the Civil Rights Movement film “Selma” and recent documentaries like “Black Panther Woman,” on the “Coco” Kickstarter page Baker describes how, “My mother, and a group of tireless women, had put their lives on the line, daring to build a better type of country, a stronger more resilient home. You may not know their names, but they have changed the world.”
As the Kickstarter page reveals: “In 1979 the Grenadian people carry out the first successful revolution in the English speaking Caribbean. Maurice Bishop becomes Prime Minister. The Revolution attracts workers from around the world including my mother. In 1982 Angela Davis, her family, and my mother visit Grenada to witness this miraculous Peoples’ Revolution. In 1983 my mother is offered a position in the Ministry of Education and we leave our home in Oakland and move to Grenada. I’d never seen her happier.” But with Bishop’s assassination and the U.S. invasion that followed, the dream of “a population of African descent taking control of their destinies” was more than deferred, it was mortared – and Baker was there to live it.
Despite all this, Baker’s mother continues to believe, through her work in education, that each of us is capable of changing the world. This is her story, and the story of other extraordinary women who believe and practice ideals of Black excellence that need to be treasured in our society.
Supporters already include Meshell Ndegocello, who is set to do the score should this campaign be successful. Angela Davis herself is also interviewed, and a successful campaign will also fund interviews with visionaries such as Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Professor Imani Perry, as well as to complete editing on a full post-production schedule.
There’s a lot going on with this fascinating project so check it out yourself and fund away. Check out the emotional trailer and his personal appeal on the Kickstarter page as well.
“The House on Coco Road” Kickstarter page