NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Goombay Kids, the Bahamas-produced children’s show, has created international buzz with five international awards under its belt, now including Cannes World Film Festival awards for Best Web/TV Series and Best Producer for Stephanie K Nihon, who created the show.
The wins come on the heels of Leah Eneas winning Best Actress for her character Mama DLo in the Multi Dimension Film Festival (UK) and Goombay Kids winning Best TV Pilot.
Nihon said: “Congratulations to the incredible writers, director, producers, crew and cast whose whole past summer was dedicated to making this last season of Goombay Kids a reality.
“We couldn’t have done it without the dedication and support from REV Cable Bahamas, the MoVi Group, the Valley Boys Junkanoo group, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s Cultural Grant and LFD Productions.”
The groundbreaking educational show features stunning Bahamian locations as well as the Atlantis, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, the pirate museum, all the Bahamian islands and even Junkanoo.
The executive producer of Goombay Kids is Rowena Poitier-Sutherland, niece of legendary Bahamian-American actor Sir Sidney Poitier.
She is also the force behind the leading film and acting school in the Caribbean, Bahamas Artist Movement and the former executive director of the Ministry of Culture.
Serving as senior producer is Leslie Ellis-Tynes, known for being the star and producer of the hit Bahamian talk show The Stew.
Nihon said: “The very talented all-Bahamian cast and crew made this vision come to life and I am absolutely thrilled that they have been rewarded internationally for their hard work and dedication.
“It is a great honor to be awarded Best TV Series and Best Producer by the Cannes World Film Festival, who regularly awards well-known faces through its prestigious award event.”
Nihon continues to provide opportunities for creatives, using a local cast and crew, including the three stars of the show — child actor Javien Rankine (Netflix’s Mighty Express), Ravyn White and Keara Jones, all with CMM Talent Agency in The Bahamas — as well as actress Leah Eneas (Beneath The Blue, Miracle at St Anna) and director/filmmaker Lanthro Munroe (Coco Studios, Tyler Perry Studios).
The Movi Group (Orbitz, Miss Universe, HGTV, Atlantis) worked along with Goombay Kids to provide crew, equipment and editors.
Eneas said: “It’s going to sound cliché, but it feels surreal and I still can’t believe it.
“I didn’t even know I had been entered in the category at so many film festivals to begin with, so it was a huge surprise.
“I feel ‘legit’ now, even though I literally have a degree in performance.”
Eneas graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatics and Speech/Dance and Communications from Fisk University, where she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc in 2005.
Her character on Goombay Kids has been compared to Queen Quet of the Gullah Geechee people and Yemaya, a west African deity of motherhood and the ocean.
“This character felt very natural for me to play. Mama DLo sings, crochets and tells stories just like I do,” said Eneas.
“She protects the children, along with protecting the legends and stories of the African diaspora in The Bahamas and The Caribbean.
“I feel that as the actress playing her, I am passing on the legacy and the stories to all the future Bahamian children in the arts.
“She is very important to me and my development as a performer.”
For more information and auditions for the next season, visit @goombaykids on Facebook or Instagram.
Other awards and festival recognitions:
- Award winner for Best TV Series at the 2 11 17 International Film Festival in Tamil Nadu, India.
- Award winner for the Multi Dimension Film Festival for Best TV Series.
- Award winner for the Multi Dimension Film Festival for Best Actress.
- Finalist in the St Petersburg Television and Film Festival for Best TV or Web Series.
- Official selection in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival (Coalition for Quality Children’s Media) for Best Episodic.
- Semi-finalist in the London Indie & Short Film Festival for Best Episodic.
- Quarter-finalist in the Vancouver Independent Film Festival.