To celebrate the occasion of Kalinago Week in Dominica, Kreig Harris, a photographer and videographer (among other things), and owner of KAHZ Media and I, decided to release a project we had been working on for a few months. It’s a mini documentary entitled – Buried in the Flames and is a story of a mythical cultural celebration that takes place in the Kalinago Territory every year. That celebration is known as Téwé Vaval or Vaval.
‘Buried in the Flames’ unearths the narrative of ancient folklore behind the festivities of Vaval and gives unique insight on the proceedings and meaning of the tradition while exploring themes of folklore and adventure. Vaval only takes place in two communities in Dominica – Dublanc and the Territory. Yet, it is in
the territory that this festival is most popular.
My grandmother was half Kalinago so I want to learn as much as I can about the history and culture. Sadly, I find that we don’t speak about our indigenous people enough and that there isn’t enough information being generated about them. Working on this documentary showed me that this was definitely the case.
After weeks of digging there wasn’t much information about the festival, its origin, or how it ended up on the national events calendar for Carnival. When I brought this up to Kreig it was all the motivation we needed to give it our best. We knew it was a story people needed to know and we didn’t mind being the ones to put it out there, especially for our generation.
I asked Kreig why he decided to work with me on this project. Here’s what he had to say: ” Growing up I’ve always heard about Téwé Vaval but never got any details about the activity. The day we were trying to decide how we could collaborate, you mentioned that you wanted to experience the festival and then write an article. I was like ‘let’s do a documentary! And we’re aiming for BBC’s planet earth standards!’ Just like that, Buried in the Flames came to life.”
Check it out: