FN Senior Reporter 

New Providence based attorney and author Marion Bethel shared information about her latest project, a documentary about The Bahamas' women's suffrage movement of the 1950s and 1960s with members of the Rotary Club of Freeport yesterday, and asked for their support as she seeks to fund the film. 



 Bethel explained that work on the 60-minute documentary first began in 2001 when some 30 hours of?interviews were conducted.

Last year, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the women's suffrage which will be commemorated in November 2012, the project was re-energized, and Bethel said the goal is to have it completed by the latter part of next year.

Bethel is working on the film in conjunction with two filmmakers, Maria Govan?who produced the film "Rain," and Kareem Mortimer.

She explained that the documentary will seek to give the movement a place among the other historical events that helped to shape the country, such as the labour movement, the Burma Road Riots, the General Strike, the formation of political parties and the move toward Majority Rule.

"That is the social backdrop that we all know. What I want to do with this particular documentary is to really pull out the women's suffrage aspect of that and make that the important historical occasion with the other movements as the backdrop, because so often we hear about the other movements, and the women's suffrage movement really has no profile. My mission is really

to lift it up to that level. That is the task that I've set for myself," she said.

The documentary will seek to highlight the role of five women who really anchored the movement – Mary Ingraham, Mabel Walker, Georgianne Symonette, Eugenia Lockhart and Mildred Donaldson.

"I'm very, very interested in making this documentary a very, very textured, layered documentary... I really want to see what people who were a part of this country were doing at this time, what our thoughts were, how we felt about this particular period, particularly about the right to vote for women and make it really, really deep, rich and meaningful."

"What I want from this so much is that our children, high school children, our college students and people like myself and some of us sitting here today who, for whatever reason don't know this history, that we really come to know it and value it," she said.

"History is for our reference, it's not where we live, it's past, it's gone, it is important in the sense that we use it to guide our vision... So for me, I'm hoping that this documentary really can help to open so many levels of conversation amongst Bahamians in our country; conversations on race, conversations on gender equality, conversations on inter-generational transmission of our history."

Bethel said she hopes to draw on all of her knowledge and training, as well as her own passion and sensitivities about being Bahamian, to make the piece one that can be of significance to one and all.

The budget for the documentary is $90,000, Bethel said, which is relatively low for such a project.

"The two film producers have to be paid, we've got to get archival footage, which we've got to pay for, there are music rights which we've got to pay for, there are many parts of the editing process itself, which is quite time consuming, that are a great part of the budget, all kinds of things to make this a really magnificent documentary brings it up to that amount,"?she said.

To that end, she appealed to members of the club and the public at large to lend their assistance in making the project a reality.