Transcript: Celebrating A Hero's Life | Sep 18, 2018

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a gray blazer over a white shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Celebrating a hero's life. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says AT JUST 14 HE ALREADY
KNEW HE WOULD BECOME A PILOT FOR
THE ROYAL AIR FORCE.
HE FULFILLED THAT DREAM AND WENT
ON TO BECOME ONE OF THE MOST
DECORATED WEST INDIAN AIRMEN IN
THE RAF.
ULRIC CROSS'S DISTINCTION DIDN'T
END WITH HIS BRAVERY IN THE
SECOND WORLD WAR, AND NOW THAT'S
CAPTURED IN THE NEW FILM "HERO:
INSPIRED BY THE EXTRAORDINARY
LIFE AND TIMES OF MR. ULRIC CROSS."
IT WAS MADE BY FILMMAKER AND
PRODUCER FRANCES-ANNE SOLOMON.
SHE IS ALSO THE CREATOR OF THE
TORONTO-BASED, CARIBBEANTALES
INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, AND
SHE JOINS US NOW.

The film poster appears on screen. It depicts a young man with short-cropped hair driving a convertible with the steering wheel on the right side.
Frances-Anne is in her fifties, with curly blond hair tied back with a red cloth. She's wearing a sleeveless printed blouse, a gold necklace and matching hoop earrings.

Nam says HI.

Frances-Anne says HI.

Nam says IT'S NICE TO MEET YOU AND
IT'S NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE IN
THE STUDIO FOR "THE AGENDA.".

Frances-Anne says WONDERFUL TO BE HERE.

Nam says BEFORE WE START OUR
CONVERSATION, I'D LIKE TO SHOW
THE AUDIENCE AT HOME A TRAILER
OF "HERO," THE FILM THAT YOU
MADE.
SHELDON, PLEASE ROLL.

A clip plays on screen.
A young man in a suit frowns as he talks and blows smoke.

He says MOVING A MOVEMENT IS NOT
EASY, MR. CROSS.

A young, clean-shaven man looks at him.

A male voice says I WILL GO TO GHANA.

A plane takes off.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Hero."

A title reads "Builder of nations."

The clean-shaven man travels by taxi.

He says THIS IS GHANA, MAN?

The driver says YEAH.
WELCOME TO GHANA, MY FRIEND.

In fast clips, a man dressed in orange waves at crowds at a parade.

The clean-shaven man says OUR PRESIDENT... THE PEOPLE
CAME TOGETHER.

A woman reads a letter.

The clean-shaven man TO UNITE AFRICA.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

Voice over a radio says INDEPENDENCE CAME TO OVER A
DOZEN STATES PEACEABLY.

Fast clips show riots and killings.

The clean-shaven man, now in his forties, faces an unseen person.

He says THINGS SEEM TO BE A BIT UNSTABLE.

A young military officer says THIS IS MY COUNTRY, THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO.

[DRUMMING].

Fast clips show bombings, riots and protests.

Title: Hero.

The man from the first scene says GO WELL, MR. CROSS, AND DO BIG THINGS.

The clip ends.

Nam says WHAT A LIFE.

Frances-Anne says YEAH.

The caption changes to "The black hornet."

Nam says JUST WATCHING THAT TRAILER, I
GET GOOSE BUMPS ON MY HANDS.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO TELL THIS
STORY OF MR. ULRIC CROSS?

The caption changes to "Frances-Anne Solomon. Director, 'Hero.'"

Frances-Anne says OKAY, SO WHAT HAPPENED WAS A
FAMILY FRIEND OF OURS... I COME
FROM TRINIDAD... APPROACHED MY
MOTHER ON HIS DEATHBED.

Nam says AND HE'S FROM TRINIDAD.

Frances-Anne says HE'S FROM TRINIDAD.
AND HE ASKED MY MOTHER AS HE
WAS DYING TO GET THIS FILM MADE.
I THINK HE REALLY WANTED ME TO
DO IT AS THE KIND OF FILMMAKER
IN THE FAMILY, BUT HE WENT TO MY
MOM, WHO'S HIS BEST FRIEND.
AND MY MOM RAISED MONEY, AT 70
SOMETHING SHE BECAME A FILM
PRODUCER TO HONOUR THE DEATHBED
WISH OF HER FRIEND, AND TO HELP
HER, I GOT INVOLVED.
ALL I KNEW ABOUT ULRIC, AT THE
TIME, WAS THAT HE WAS A HIGHLY
DECORATED SECOND WORLD WAR RAF
VETERAN.
AND I BEGAN TO RESEARCH MORE,
WHICH IN ITSELF IS HEROIC,
RIGHT?
WE DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE
CONTRIBUTIONS OF BLACK
CARIBBEAN, YOU KNOW, AFRICAN
PEOPLE FROM... TO THE SECOND
WORLD WAR, IN THE SECOND WORLD
WAR.

Nam says AND THEY PLAYED A PIVOTAL ROLE.

Frances-Anne says AND THEY PLAYED AN ABSOLUTELY
PIVOTAL ROLE, AND THEY
ENCOUNTERED ALL KINDS OF
OBSTACLES ALONG THE WAY, AND
IT'S A BIG STORY.

Nam says WE'LL TALK MORE ABOUT THAT.

Frances-Anne says YEAH, BUT WHAT I DISCOVERED
REALLY WAS WHAT HAPPENED AFTER.
HE STAYED ON IN ENGLAND AND HE
WAS RECRUITED BY ANOTHER
TRINIDADIAN, A MAN CALLED GEORGE
PADMORE, WHO WAS THE MENTOR TO
KWAME NKURMAH.

Nam says WE'RE GOING TO TALK MORE
ABOUT THAT IN A SECOND, BUT I
WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ULRIC
CROSS AND HIS CHILDHOOD.
WHAT WAS HIS CHILDHOOD LIKE?

Frances-Anne says WELL, THIS IS ALSO A
LITTLE-KNOWN STORY, THAT
POST-SLAVERY THEY KIND OF...
THERE WAS A BURGEONING MIDDLE
CLASS, RIGHT, THAT CAME OUT OF
THE BLACK POPULATIONS.
THEY WORKED THEIR WAY UP.
THEY USED EDUCATION, WHICH WAS
VERY PRESENT IN THE COLONIES AT
THE TIME, AS A BIG LADDER TO
PULL THEIR WAY UP.
AND SO THERE WAS THIS MIDDLE
CLASS, THIS COLOURED MIDDLE
CLASS, THAT WAS VERY
ASPIRATIONAL, INCREDIBLY
AMBITIOUS, AND WANTED TO DO
THINGS WITH THEIR LIVES.
AND THAT'S WHERE ULRIC CAME OUT.
HE WAS FROM AN AREA OF TRINIDAD
CALLED BELMONT, AND A LOT OF
PEOPLE CAME FROM THAT AREA.

Nam says AND WHEN YOU SAY COLOURED,
THAT MEANS THEY WEREN'T BLACK
AND THEY WEREN'T WHITE, RIGHT?

Frances-Anne says WELL, IN THOSE DAYS WE DIDN'T
USE THE WORD... THEY DIDN'T USE
THE WORD "BLACK."
NON-WHITE PEOPLE WERE COLOURED,
RIGHT?
BUT YES, FOR THE MOST PART THESE
WERE BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE WHO,
THROUGH EDUCATION, DILIGENCE,
YOU KNOW, DISCIPLINE, HARD WORK
AND SHARED AMBITION HAD PULLED
THEMSELVES UP FROM THE WORKING
CLASSES THROUGH THE TRADES, GOT
EDUCATION.
SOME OF THEM WENT TO UNIVERSITY,
GOT SCHOLARSHIPS TO GO TO
UNIVERSITY IN ENGLAND, AND VERY
AMBITIOUS.

Nam says AND ULRIC WAS VERY SMART.
OUT OF NINE KIDS I THINK HE HAD
THE BEST GRADES?

Frances-Anne says YEAH, HE GOT INTO ONE OF THE
PRESTIGE SCHOOLS, ONE OF THE
WHITE SCHOOLS IN TRINIDAD, WHICH
ONLY EIGHT BLACK PEOPLE A YEAR
GOT INTO.
AND SO WAS ABLE TO GET THAT
LEVEL OF EDUCATION, AND THEN THE
IDEA WAS THAT HE WOULD GO TO
UNIVERSITY AND GET A
SCHOLARSHIP.
THEY GAVE ONE SCHOLARSHIP A YEAR
TO BLACK STUDENTS.
AND BECAUSE HIS MOTHER DIED, HE
KIND OF HAD A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
AND HIS AMBITIONS WERE SHOT.
BUT THEN ALONG CAME THE WAR, AND
FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE THE WAR WAS
A WAY OUT.
BECAUSE ONCE THE BRITISH
GOVERNMENT OPENED THE DOORS TO
COLOURED PARTICIPATION IN THE
WAR, BECAUSE PREVIOUSLY... EARLY
ON IN THE WAR THEY DIDN'T WANT
BLACK PEOPLE IN THE WAR.
BUT AT A CERTAIN POINT IN TIME
THEY NEEDED THAT ADDED MANPOWER,
AND SO THEY OPENED THE GATES TO
EDUCATED MIDDLE CLASS...
PRIMARILY LIGHT-SKINNED
PARTICIPANTS FROM THE COLONIES
TO COME.
AND THIS WAS A WAY OUT FOR ALL
THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAD NOT BEEN
ABLE TO GET THE ONE SCHOLARSHIP.

Nam says AND EVEN BEFORE HE JOINED THE
RAF, AS A YOUNG BOY ULRIC WANTED
TO BE A PILOT.

Frances-Anne says YEAH, HE HAD THAT DREAM.
AND I WONDER WHETHER... I HAVE
WONDERED WHETHER, YOU KNOW, A
LOT OF THEM WERE... A LOT OF
THOSE KIDS WERE VERY INFLUENCED
BY IMAGES AND STORIES OF THE
FIRST WORLD WAR, WHEN A LOT OF
YOUNG MEN ALSO FROM THE COLONIES
JOINED UP AND BECAME INVOLVED,
AND SO... AND THOSE STORIES AND
BOOKS ABOUT THE FIRST WORLD WAR
AND ABOUT, YOU KNOW, SO HE HAD
IT IN HIS HEAD THAT WHEN HE GREW
UP HE WAS GOING TO BE FLIGHT
LIEUTENANT ULRIC CROSS, AND YOU
KNOW, HE WANTED TO FLY.
HE WANTED TO BE A PILOT, YEAH.

Nam says BUT ONCE HE JOINED, HE WAS
KIND OF IN FOR A SHOCK BECAUSE
IT TOOK HIM TWO YEARS TO BECOME
A PILOT.
WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG FOR HIM
TO EVEN BE CONSIDERED FOR PILOT.

Frances-Anne says WELL, HE WASN'T ABLE TO
BECOME A PILOT BECAUSE HE WAS
TOO BLACK.
BUT THROUGH HIS... BECAUSE HE
WAS SO ABLE, SMART AND LEARNED
FAST AND VERY EFFECTIVE, HE
BECAME A NAVIGATOR IN WHAT WAS
CALLED THE PATHFINDER FORCE.
AND THIS WAS LIKE AN ELITE SQUAD
OF FIGHTER SERVICEMEN, RIGHT?
SOMETHING LIKE THE... SOMETHING
LIKE THE SEALS NOW, YOU KNOW?
SECRET.
HIGHLY, HIGHLY TRAINED, AND THEY
WENT ON VERY DANGEROUS MISSION S
S.
THEY FLEW WOODEN PLANES CALLED
MOSQUITOS, TINY PLANES MADE OF
WOOD, SO VERY LIGHT, AND THEY
WOULD CROSS THE CHANNEL AND GO
IN LOW TO THE GROUND SO THEY
WOULD MISS THE RADARS, AND THEY
WOULD GO IN AND MARK THE TARGET
FOR THE BOMBERS COMING OVERHEAD
ABOVE THE CLOUDS.
SO THEY WOULD THROW DOWN A
FLARE, AND BECAUSE IT WAS SO
CLOSE THEY HAD A BETTER CHANCE
OF HITTING THE TARGET, AND THEN
THE BOMBERS HAD 10 SECONDS TO
DROP A BOMB, RIGHT?
AND THEN EVERYBODY HAD TO PULL
OUT.
SO PRIOR TO THIS KIND OF
REVOLUTION IN TECHNOLOGY AT THE
TIME, BRITAIN WAS BASICALLY
LOSING THE WAR TO GERMANY.
THEY HAD THE BLITZ, 80,000
BRITISH PEOPLE DIED IN THE BLITZ
ON BRITISH SOIL.
AND THEY WERE LOSING THE WAR
BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO
HIT THEIR TARGETS.

Nam says BUT THIS GROUP OF PILOTS WAS
VERY SUCCESSFUL, AND YOU MADE A
COMMENT THAT I WANT TO GO BACK TO.
YOU SAID HE WASN'T ABLE TO
BECOME A PILOT WHEN HE INITIALLY
JOINED BECAUSE HE WAS TOO BLACK,
BUT HE ALSO TURNED OUT TO BE THE
ONLY BLACK PERSON IN THE PATH
FINDER COURT.
ARE YOU SAYING THAT BLACK PEOPLE
WEREN'T ALLOWED TO FLY PLANES
DURING THE WAR?

Frances-Anne says YEAH, THERE WERE SOME WHO
SLIPPED THROUGH.
THEY HAD A QUESTIONNAIRE AND
TESTS THAT YOU HAD TO DO.
ONE OF THE QUESTION IS: ARE YOU
OF PURE EUROPEAN DESCENT?
THOSE WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE
INITIALLY WHO WERE ALLOWED TO
BECOME PILOTS.
NOW THERE WERE SOME COLOURED
PILOTS WHO DID GET THROUGH.
I KNOW OF MAYBE TWO.
THEY WERE VERY LIGHT SKINNED.
YOU KNOW, THEY COULD ALMOST PASS
FOR WHITE.
YEAH, BUT FOR THE MOST PART,
BLACK PEOPLE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO
FLY PLANES.

Nam says SO ULRIC FLEW ON 80 MISSIONS,
AND HE SAID IN THE FILM THAT HE
EXPECTED TO DIE IN THE LAST 30
OF THEM.

Frances-Anne says YEAH.

Nam says BUT HE SURVIVED.
AND AFTER THE WAR, HE'S A HERO.
WHAT HAPPENED?
WAS IT EASY FOR HIM TO FIND WORK
AFTER THAT?

Frances-Anne says WELL, THIS IS THE KIND OF
STORY IN ITSELF, A FAIRLY COMMON
STORY THAT YOU HEAR ABOUT WARS,
RIGHT, WHICH IS THAT THOSE WHO
GO AND SERVE WHEN THE WAR IS
DONE THEY ARE PRETTY WELL
DISCARDED.
BUT IN ENGLAND AT THE TIME IT
WAS KIND OF AUGMENTED BY THE
FACT THAT THEY WANTED PEOPLE TO
COME, LIKE THEY WANTED WOMEN TO
STEP UP AND WORK DURING THE WAR,
BUT ONCE THE WAR WAS DONE, THEY
WANTED EVERYBODY TO GO BACK
WHERE THEY CAME FROM AND FOR THE
STATUS QUO TO BE RE-ESTABLISHED.
ALL THESE PEOPLE HAD BRITISH
PASSPORTS.
THAT'S WHY THEY FOUGHT IN THE
WAR, BECAUSE THEY WANTED, IF
THEY SURVIVED, TO BE ABLE TO
HAVE ACCESS TO EDUCATION, TO BE
ABLE TO HAVE LIVES, RIGHT?
AND WHAT THEY FOUND WAS A WALL
OF RACISM ALL OF A SUDDEN.
BEFORE IT WAS, OH, PLEASE,
WELCOME, COME AND JOIN US.
YOU ARE OUR BROTHERS, YOU KNOW,
WE ARE ALL PART OF THE BRITISH
EMPIRE.
AND SUDDENLY IT WAS YOU'RE
COLOURED, WE DON'T WANT YOU, AND
THERE WAS HUGE RACE TENSION
COMING OUT AFTER THE WAR THAT
WAS FACED.
AND SO EVEN THOUGH HE GOT, HE
WAS ABLE TO GET A SCHOLARSHIP TO
GET AN ACCELERATED LAW DEGREE
THROUGH HIS OWN EFFORTS, HE
WASN'T ABLE TO PRACTISE LAW IN
ENGLAND.

Nam says I HAVE A CLIP FROM THE BBC OF
WHEN ULRIC WAS IN THE RAF.
SHELDON, CAN YOU PLEASE ROLL IT?

A grainy black and white clip plays on screen with the caption "West Indies Calling. Ministry of Information."
In the clip, a young female TV host stands next to a large microphone with the letters "BBC" on it.

She says AND NOW... ASK FLYING OFFICER
ULRIC CROSS TO SPEAK... IN THE
SERVICES.
ULRIC IS A NAVIGATOR IN ONE OF
OUR OWN BOMBER SQUADRONS.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Windrush."

The young Cross approaches the microphone and says
WELL, IT'S A... TO KNOW WHERE TO START.
THERE ARE SO MANY OTHERS DOING
SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS.
IN THE ARMY, THE NAVY, THE AIR
FORCE... MARINES... AND THE
NURSING SERVICES.

As he speaks, fast clips illustrate his words showing smiling officers fulfilling their duties.

Cross continues TOGETHER WITH OTHERS FROM THE
BRITISH COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS,
WITH MEN AND WOMEN FROM THE REST
OF THE UNITED NATIONS, WEST
INDIANS ARE FIGHTING FOR THE NEW
WORLD THAT WE ALL WANT TO SEE.

The host says THANK YOU, ULRIC.
AND HAPPY LANDING.

Now in an interview, the elderly Cross faces the screen.

A caption reads "Flt. Lt. Ulric Cross. Navigator, Royal Air Force."

Ulric says THERE WERE VERY FEW BLACK
PEOPLE IN ENGLAND.
I WANT YOU TO REMEMBER THAT.
AND I KNOW WALKING THROUGH ANY
SMALL TOWN OR VILLAGE IN ENGLAND
SCHOOLCHILDREN WOULD STOP ME TO
ASK ME THE TIME.
YOU KNOW THEY JUST WANTED TO
HEAR YOU SPEAK.

The clip ends.

Nam says SO THINGS DIDN'T WORK OUT IN
ENGLAND.
HE WAS HAVING A HARD TIME
FINDING WORK.
HE BECAME A LAWYER.
HE WAS WORKING DURING THE DAY,
STUDYING AT NIGHT.
SO HE MEETS A GENTLEMAN THAT YOU
MENTIONED EARLIER, GEORGE
PADMORE, AND HE HELPS... AND
GHANA TO BECOME THE FIRST
AFRICAN COUNTRY TO GAIN
INDEPENDENCE.
WHAT ROLE DID ULRIC PLAY IN ALL
OF THAT?

The caption changes to "Frances-Anne Solomon, @FrancesAnne."
Then, it changes again to "A lasting legacy."

Frances-Anne says YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
JUST A BACKDROP, A TINY BIT,
PADMORE HIMSELF WAS AN
EXTRAORDINARY PERSON BECAUSE HE
CAME FROM TRINIDAD, AND HE HAD
TRAINED IN RUSSIA WITH TROTSKY
AND HAD A VERY CLEAR VISION OF
HOW THE COLONIES WOULD BE
LIBERATED FROM CAPITALISM AND
COLONIALISM.

Nam says THE COLONIES IN AFRICA?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Frances-Anne says THE COLONIES IN AFRICA, AND
THE WEST INDIES, IN THE SAME WAY
AS RUSSIA HAD BEEN LIBERATED
FROM, YOU KNOW, THE CZAR AND
THAT IMPERIAL STRUCTURE.
AND SO HE WAS REALLY THE MENTOR
OF... AND THE FOUNDER OF WHAT
BECAME KNOWN AS PAN-AFRICANISM,
WHICH WAS THE IDEA THAT AFRICAN
PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD SHOULD
WORK TO LIBERATE AND RECONSTRUCT
AFRICA.
AND THAT'S WHY WHEN HE BECAME
THE MENTOR OF THE FIRST PRIME
MINISTER OF THE FIRST
INDEPENDENT AFRICAN COUNTRY, HIS
IDEA WAS TO BRING SKILLED PEOPLE
FROM ALL OVER THE AFRICAN
DIASPORA TO THE TABLE, TO
AFRICA, TO HELP RECONSTRUCT
AFRICA AFTER THE COLONISTS HAD
LEFT.

Nam says I WANT TO KNOW IF THIS IS...
BECAUSE WE LATER FIND OUT IN THE
FILM THAT ONE OF ULRIC'S FRIENDS
IS A SPY FOR THE BRITISH
INTELLIGENCE AGENCY.
AND THIS FRIEND BETRAYS ULRIC.
DID YOU GET ANY SENSE FROM ULRIC
HOW HE DEALT WITH THAT BETRAYAL?

Frances-Anne says UMM, IT WAS VERY, VERY
COMMON, FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND.
NOT JUST THAT... YOU HAVE TO
UNDERSTAND THAT THE COLONIAL
POWERS HAD VESTED INTERESTS IN
AFRICA AND THE CARIBBEAN.
LIKE SPECIFICALLY AFRICA WAS THE
LARGEST SOURCE OF NATURAL
RESOURCE IN THE WORLD.
CONGO HAD THE BIGGEST STORE OF
DIAMONDS.
GHANA, DIAMONDS AND GOLD.
SO THEY HAD NO INTENTION OF
GIVING UP THAT CONTROL WHEN
INDEPENDENCE CAME.
AND SO THERE WERE... THEY DID
EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO
UNDERMINE THE INDEPENDENCE
EFFORTS OF THESE AGITATORS, WHAT
THEY SAW AS THESE PEOPLE WHO
WANTED TO CONTROL THEIR OWN
RESOURCES AND COUNTRIES.
AND SO IT WAS VERY COMMON... YOU
HAD SPIES WHO WERE DIPLOMATS.
YOU HAD SPIES WHO WERE WITH THE
PEACE CORPS, WHO WERE WITH
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.
YOU HAD SPIES INFILTRATED ALL
OVER THE PLACE, WHITE AND
COLOURED AND EVERYWHERE.
YOU JUST NEVER KNEW, REALLY, WHO
WAS, YOU KNOW, SPYING ON YOU AND
FEEDING INFORMATION.
AND THEY WERE VERY SUCCESSFUL.
I MEAN, THAT WAS JUST ONE OF THE
WAYS, THEN.
OBVIOUSLY DIRECT ATTACK ON A LOT
OF THESE LEADERS WAS ANOTHER
ONE.
SENDING THE OPPOSITION TO THESE
COUNTRIES WAS ANOTHER ONE.
FAIRLY STANDARD TACTICS.
IN TERMS OF... SO IN TERMS OF...
TO REPLY TO YOUR QUESTION, HOW
ULRIC FELT ABOUT THIS, I DON'T
KNOW.
I DON'T KNOW.
THERE'S A LOT ABOUT ULRIC I
DON'T KNOW BECAUSE, AS I SAID,
HIS... THE WAY... HIS
DESCRIPTION OF HIS LIFE WAS VERY
CRYPTIC AND FACT BASED.
IT TOOK... WE HAD TO PUT A LOT
INTO TRYING TO GET INTO HIS MIND
AND SEE THE WORLD FROM HIS POINT
OF VIEW AND RECONSTRUCT WHAT IT
MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE TO LIVE
THROUGH THAT.

Nam says AND TO SURVIVE THAT.

Frances-Anne says AND TO SURVIVE IT.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE DIDN'T
SURVIVE, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT
ON THE ONE HAND I'M SURE THOSE
PERSONAL BETRAYALS WERE
INCREDIBLY PAINFUL, RIGHT?
THEY ALWAYS ARE.
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, MY
UNDERSTANDING WAS THAT IT WAS
VERY COMMON.

Nam says WE ONLY HAVE A FEW MINUTES
LEFT.
SUCH A GREAT CONVERSATION.

Frances-Anne says OH, SORRY.

Nam says NO, NO, DON'T APOLOGIZE.
IT'S BEEN GREAT.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN THE
MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT FOR YOU
IN MAKING THIS FILM?

The caption changes to "Filming Ulric's story."

Frances-Anne says WELL, WE SHOT IT IN TRINIDAD,
GHANA, ENGLAND AND HERE IN TORONTO.
WE DID ALL THE POST-WORK AND
PICK-UP, AND THAT WAS
CHALLENGING.
I WANTED IT TO BE AUTHENTIC.
I WANTED TO TELL THE STORY FROM
THE INSIDE.
I DIDN'T WANT... I WAS NOT
PREPARED TO COMPROMISE ON THE
INTEGRITY AND AUTHENTICITY OF
THE VOICE OF THAT CHARACTER.
IT'S A STORY THAT HASN'T BEEN
TOLD.
A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THAT
STORY, SO I WANTED TO DO IT
WELL.
AND TO DO THAT, THERE WAS A
SHORTAGE OF INFORMATION, AND SO
THE ACTUAL PROCESS OF FINDING A
WAY TO TELL A STORY THAT, YOU
KNOW, KIND OF FILLED IT OUT AS A
FILM, BUT ALSO SHOWED YOU WHAT
IT WAS REALLY LIKE IN EACH OF
THOSE DIFFERENT PLACES, IT HAS A
GLOBAL SCOPE, AND YET IT'S A
PERSONAL STORY.
AND SO FINDING THAT BALANCE
NARRATIVELY WAS DIFFICULT.
AND I'M SURE YOU SAW THAT I WAS
INTO... ARCHIVES WITH
DRAMATIZATION IN A WAY ALMOST AS
IF THEY BELONGED TOGETHER.
IT WASN'T ARCHIVE THEN
DRAMATIZATION.
IT WAS VERY MUCH... THEY WERE
WED, YOU KNOW?
SO THAT WAS ALSO A CHALLENGE.

Nam says IN HIS LIFETIME HE WAS
SQUADRON LEADER FOR THE RAF.
HE WAS A JUDGE.
HE WAS A BBC PRODUCER.
HE WAS A DEAN OF LAW.
HE COUNSELLED PRESIDENTS, PRIME
MINISTERS.
HAVING TOLD THIS FILM AND TAKING
A STEP BACK, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY
WAS THE MOST FASCINATING ASPECT
OF HIS STORY THAT YOU DISCOVERED
ON THIS JOURNEY?

Frances-Anne says JUST WHAT YOU SAID.
IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOUNG
PEOPLE, YOUNG BLACK AND PEOPLE
FROM THE DIASPORA UNDERSTAND
WHAT... YOU KNOW, THAT THERE ARE
PEOPLE WHO CAME BEFORE ON WHOSE
BROAD SHOULDERS WE STAND, RIGHT,
WHO HAD BIG LIVES, WHO WERE
HEROES.
YOU KNOW, BECAUSE THE PORTRAYALS
WE SEE IN THE MEDIA OF US TENDS
TO BE, YOU KNOW, GANG, GANG
LEADERS AND PROSTITUTES AND
PEOPLE WHO LIVE, YOU KNOW, SMALL
LIVES WITH LIMITED OPTIONS.
THIS MAN HAD THE WORLD AS HIS
AMBITION, AND HE CHANGED IT.
AND THAT IS A LESSON THAT I
THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR YOUNG
PEOPLE TO TAKE ON BOARD.

Nam says "HERO" WAS SCREENED AT THE
INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL IN
TORONTO, AND YOU'RE THE FOUNDER
OF THIS FESTIVAL, WHICH BEGAN IN
2001.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE
BIGGEST CHANGE THAT YOU'VE
WITNESSED DURING THAT TIME WHEN
IT COMES TO FILM COMING FROM THE
CARIBBEAN?

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcasts: tvo.org/theagenda."

Frances-Anne says WELL, I SET UP THAT FESTIVAL
AS A PLATFORM FOR OUR... THE
BROAD RANGE AND DIVERSITY AND
SCOPE, YOU KNOW, OF ALL OUR
STORIES.
NOT A NARROW PERSPECTIVE, BUT
BIG.
AND IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR ME THAT
"HERO" SHOWED THERE TO OUR
AUDIENCES FIRST.
IN TERMS OF WHAT HAS CHANGED, I
THINK DEFINITELY THING... YOU
KNOW, THE INDUSTRY IS OPENING UP
TO SOME EXTENT TO DIVERSE
STORIES, TO STORIES FROM OTHER
PLACES, TO LOTS OF DIFFERENT
VOICES. NOT ENOUGH.
BUT THE MOMENT IS THERE FOR US,
AND I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT
FOR US TO GRAB THAT
RESPONSIBILITY AND MAKE OUR
VOICES HEARD BECAUSE THERE ARE
STILL VERY WORRYING PERSPECTIVES
THAT HAVE, YOU KNOW, VESTED
INTERESTS IN MAKING SURE THAT WE
REMAIN SILENT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine."

Nam says WELL, FRANCES-ANNE, THANK
YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE AND
INTRODUCING US TO THE LIFE OF
ULRIC CROSS.

Frances-Anne says YOU ARE VERY WELCOME, AND I
THANK YOU.

Nam says THANK YOU.

Watch: Celebrating A Hero's Life