Donisha’s film odyssey, therefore, is both personal and historical, as she balances revelations about Rastafari with her own self-discovery.
The vision of the film is to look at Rastafari from a global perspective—moving out from the more familiar images of Jamaica to the various ways in which this religion and this movement has moved beyond the tiny Caribbean Island, how the ways in which the message of Rastafarianism has manifested itself in diverse cultures, how the tenants of the religion are rooted in history and made relevant by contemporary issues. The film’s narrative will unfold as a voyage of discovery driven by an intense desire on the part of Donisha to both understand the past and make clear a meaning for the present.
The film stays focused on Donisha—as a Rasta woman, as a young convert—as she personally discusses and experiences first hand the ways in which this movement has spread around the world. Her questions, her knowledge informs the narrative, and her vibrant and inquisitive personality drives the fast-paced and youthful nature of the film.
Through Donisha we learn the history, the core values, the cultural impact of a religion that was inspired by history and propagated through the music of her grandfather, helping us find new spiritual meaning in a fast changing, chaotic world.
The aim of the film is bring the issues and message of Rastafari into a contemporary context, illustrating how the acceptance of Rasta in Canada is in mark contrast to other cultures.
The Canadian Rasta story is a message for the 21st century, of how prejudice is formed from misinformation and myths, and how the acceptance of cultural harmony is both the model of Canadian culture and the triumph of multiculturalism.
Mixing rare archive footage, driven by the infectious rhythm of the music, told through interviews and interactions of Donisha with elders, with young converts, looking for connections and traditions rooted in the past, and the beliefs of a movement dedicated to living in the present.
RasTa is filled with archival history, and brought to life through Donisha’s passion for knowledge and charismatic personality, as she takes us up close and personal with people and places that will help unlock the mysteries of this movement, pull back the veil of misunderstanding and allow all of us to share the journey and the knowledge of a young women in pursuit of personal truth and contemporary relevance.
RasTa converges music and meaning in new ways, making a religious and spiritual movement more accessible to young people, and more understandable to all of us.
Stuart Samuels, director/producer