Andrea E. Leland produces, directs, writes, operates camera and self distributes documentaries focusing on Caribbean and Latin American culture. Leland has traveled throughout the Caribbean observing cultural expression and exploring layers of influence derived from African, Amerindian and European sources. In Haiti, Belize, Chiapas, and several Caribbean islands, she has worked collaboratively with community members providing a forum to voice their untold stories, personal challenges and compelling triumphs. Social, artistic or political actions are placed within context of their culture, imploring the viewer to confront old myths and discover a new perspective.
Through Ms. Leland’s collaborative approach to documentary filmmaking, she has gained the respect and confidence of members of the Haitian, Mayan, Carib and Garifuna communities. In addition, Leland’s documentaries have proved to be successful tools for cultural preservation.
Leland’s films have won numerous awards and have screened at museums, conferences and festivals throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States and have won numerous awards. Selected invitational screenings include: American Museum of Natural History, New York; 18th Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Paris, France; Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles; and the Smithsonian National Museum of American Indian, New York. She has authored a number of articles that have been published in the Caribbean Review, ACM Literary Magazine and Angles magazines. All unedited footage, transcripts, and other materials from her Caribbean collections are available for research purposes in the Center for Black Music Research library archives located in Chicago’s Columbia College.
Leland has co-curated traveling photo and art exhibitions to accompany the documentaries. She is a member of New Day Films, has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, and is the program director of the St. John Film Society, a film/video forum presented monthly on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Her titles include the following documentaries: YURUMEIN, HOMELAND (2014), JAMESIE, KING OF SCRATCH (2006), THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY (1998), THE LONG ROAD HOME (1993) and VOODOO AND THE CHURCH IN HAITI (1989).