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An episode of The Underground Railroad was Presented at the 20th FICM

Daniel G. Hernández 

Chapter 5 (“Exodus”) of the series The Underground Railroad by director Barry Jenkins, was presented at the 20th edition of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM).

Chloë Roddick, programmer at FICM, was in charge of presenting the screening of the series, which was also attended by Special Guest Barry Jenkins, project director; Joi McMillon, series editor, and Adele Romanski, one of the project's producers.


Barry Jenkins
Barry Jenkins

Barry said the project was created with the desire to be shown on a movie screen. "The show is very real, very honest, and sometimes difficult to watch," he stated.

He also shared that the inspiration for the series as a whole came from a novel by writer Colson Whitehead, but the inspiration for the episode came from a trip to the state of Yucatán, where he learned what the Spanish did with Mayan culture.

In this episode, we are told the story of Cora, who is captured by Ridgeway and forced to travel through the barren fields of Tennessee. She shares the ride with Jasper, another slave with great inner strength.

This episode seeks to represent the history of enslaved people brought from Africa by the Spaniards, who when they arrived on ships, even while chained, threw themselves into the sea to die before living a life as slaves.

Barry Jenkins

At the end of the screening of the series, there was a Q&A session with the audience.

Barry said that making this adaptation felt like a trap since when you have a great literary project, you almost have all the bases to create a great audiovisual project. He also mentioned that a few minutes before the screening began, he received a comment about the series, especially this chapter, and its apocalyptic tone. He pointed out that the history of the United States was quite apocalyptic.

To close, Barry Jenkins was asked the following sentence: “The purpose must always have a face, a face that supports and is based on people”. The director told us that the will should not have a face because the message or the action can be manipulated, instead, the will should have many faces that support the cause of the project.

"It's important to me to use my talent as an artist to honor my ancestors" Barry Jenkins.