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Screening: Super Sam

6 September 2019, 19:00

Ondaatje Wing Theatre

Free ticket required. Book online, or visit the Gallery in person

Clovis Salmon, aka Sam the Wheels
Clovis Salmon by Sandi Hudson-Francis

(Dir. Sandi Hudson-Francis, 2019, 44 mins)

Filmmaker Sandi Hudson-Francis introduces Super Sam, the story of Clovis Salmon, aka Sam the Wheels. Born in 1927 in Jamaica, his family were farmers who sustained a living growing crops and selling at the market. The youngest of 5 children, he was the only boy so when his father passed away when Clovis was aged 12, he became the breadwinner. In 1945, he went to Florida to work on the sugar plantations (on a non-immigrant temporary visa programme) under extremely poor working conditions that many people, Clovis included, likened to modern-day slavery. Returning to Jamaica, he stayed until 1954 before leaving again and settling in Brixton, London.

Around that time, Clovis purchased a super- 8 camera and began documenting his life, family, and community. He filmed services at church, weddings and general London life as well as his annual visits back to Jamaica. His film archive offers insight into the life of a black Jamaican immigrant to the UK in the ‘50s as well as documenting a community for generations to come, including rare footage of the Brixton uprisings of 1981 which has been used by the BBC and other outlets. Filmmaker Sandi Hudson-Francis met Clovis in 2017 and began visiting him weekly to document his life and experiences which chimed with her own family heritage. Her resulting film mixes footage she shot of Sam in and around his Brixton home with his own archive film.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Clovis Salmon.