Noteworthy updates on the slave uprising project titled Tula, The Revolt, from Dutch director Jeroen Leinders, which is based on a true story about a slave uprising on the island of Curacao, a Dutch colony in 1795, and the man called Tula, who dared to stand up against his oppressors, and led the revolt that would last about a month.
At the time of our last post, the filmmakers were feverishly working to raise the necessary funds to see the film to fruition, and it looks like they’re just about ready to roll.
They weren’t able to raise the full amount that they initially budgeted for the film, but have decided that they’ve raised enough to get it made. In essence, they’re readjusting their initial budget, so that they can get the film produced for the amount of money that they have raised.
By any means necessary.
Another motivation is that they want to complete the film to release in 2013, a year that marks the 150th anniversary since slavery was finally abolished on the island of Curacao (1863).
As of our last report, they were aiming for an October start date, and had begun putting together cast and crew. I wondered whether they’d cast primarily local actors, or if they’d go after *bigger* international names for the project.
This morning, I have an answer…
The cast members were finally announced at a press conference in Willemstad, and Danny Glover leads the pack of international actors that also includes Obi Abili, Jeroen Krabbé, Derek de Lint, Henriette Tol and Barry Hay.
Obi Abili (a UK actor of Nigerian decent) will star in the film as the titular Tula, while Glover will play Shinishi, a role that the producers are calling a very important one. Online research on Shinishi revealed nothing, so I’m not equipped to comment on who exactly that was, and how he contributed to the revolt. Maybe those of you who are initimately familiar with the uprising in Curacao can enlighten the rest of us.
The production will use local actors and actresses from the island in supporting roles.
Director Jeroen Leinders (whose background is heavy in documentary filmmaking) is said to have spent much of his youth on Curacao, and has been working there for the past 7 years. When he learned of the historical account of the slave revolt, he pursued the idea of turning it into a film; and here we are.
The inspiration for the rebellion was that Tula and an initial group of 40 to 50 slaves requested 3 things of their overseers: an end to collective punishment, an end to working on Sundays, and lastly, the right to buy their wears from anywhere they wanted, not just from their masters, which was the rule of the day.
Apparently, they didn’t get what they asked for, and thus, Tula organized a group of fellow slaves who resolved not to work as slaves anymore. The rebellion, which actually began peacefully and was meant to be ‘won with words, rather than arms,” lasted for more than a month. But, unfortunately, it didn’t end as peacefully as it begun, because the colonial forces crushed the revolt, Tula was captured, tortured, convicted and executed.
This film will tell his story – a man who’s revered in Curacao today. The producers are calling it an action-drama.
Kudos to Glover for lending his name and talents to this project – especially as his own slave revolt film (his long-anticipated Toussaint L’Ouverture project) remains in limbo.
The below video was shot by the filmmakers about 3 years ago, to use as a sales promo for potential investors, to give them an idea of the style in which the film woud be shot (so it’s not a trailer or anything from the upcoming film, which obviously hasn’t been shot yet; and I should also state that their plans for the look and feel of the film may have changed since then):