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Paradise Discovered: The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders 2.0 Wins Best Feature Documentary At Grenada’s 1261 Film Festival

Paradise Discovered: The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders 2.0 took home top honors for best feature documentary at the fifth annual 12°N, 61°W Grenada Film Festival. Unbreakable won amid the competitive field of films presented at the festival, which included stories from Jamaica, Guadeloupe, USA, Dominica, Trinidad, Guyana, St.Vincent, Grenada and the UK, according to a press release Friday.

Paradise Discovered: The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders 2.0 documentary represents USVI in film festival. (Submitted photo)

“Congratulations to Peter Bailey and his team for winning best documentary film with
Paradise Discovered a poignant reminder of the importance of sharing Caribbean stories
worldwide,” said 1261 Film Festival founder Meschida Philip. “Their exploration of cultural
nuances fosters understanding among diverse audiences. We celebrate their achievement
and value their contribution to our festival and Caribbean cinema.”

Developed from Bailey’s New York Times Op-Ed, “Has America Forgotten the Virgin
Islands”, the groundbreaking Paradise Discovered series chronicles the survival and
rebuilding efforts of the people of the USVI in the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes
Irma and Maria in 2017. The series also highlights the impact of climate change on the
culture and people of the USVI. It’s a story that deeply resonated with attendees of this year’s 1261 Film Festival, according to the press release.

“I’m honored to continue this journey to share the inspiring story of USVI resilience which is the collective Caribbean story,” says Bailey, a St.Thomas native. “Caribbean people are craving to see our stories cinematically in our authentic voice and Grenada’s 1261 Film Festival is helping in this unprecedented movement.”

Paradise Discovered: The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders 2.0 wins award for best feature documentary at Grenada Film Festivals. (Submitted photo)

After experiencing both storms firsthand, Bailey famously wrote the Times’ piece while
building a makeshift roof after the storms ravaged his family’s home and made
international headlines for criticizing the U.S. government’s handling of the islands’
recovery and calling out neglect from mainstream media in its coverage, the press release stated.

The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders 2.0 is the sequel to Paradise Discovered: The Unbreakable Virgin Islanders, which won best feature documentary at Toronto’s Caribbean Tales International Film Festival in 2019 and is now streaming on Apple TV, Tubi and other outlets after debuting as one of the top 200 documentaries on iTunes in 2021. The first film from the series, Paradise Discovered: The Anguilla Connection, premiered in Anguilla in 2018, the release stated.

Bailey premiered his latest Paradise Discovered film last November with USVI public high
school students, which was featured in Essence magazine. Students described the experience of the screening as something that both instilled pride in them and opened their eyes to certain issues facing the local community, it said.

“Having this opportunity to witness this movie was very engaging and eye-opening to the
current issue facing us here in the Virgin Islands—the recurring issue of food security,” said
Alani Arnold, a Complex High School senior.

“How many students here in the territory don’t really understand how food grows at
home? We are reliant on other nations, instead of our own, when we have this great
amount of land diversity where we can grow food at our homes so we don’t have to rely on
neighboring countries or islands,” said Arnold.

Local leaders believe Paradise Discovered will serve as a catalyst for developing the region’s
film industry while promoting the territory, according to the release.

“This film beautifully captures the spirit of resilience and the boundless potential that lies
within the Virgin Islands. We are immensely proud to have been a part of this journey, and
we are grateful that this message of creativity, innovation, and the power of technology to
transform lives resonates not only with our beloved Virgin Islands but also with the wider
Caribbean community,” said Peter Chapman, CEO of the UVI Research & Technology Park.

“We are proud of the way Mr. Bailey continues to help spotlight our beautiful territory through film and look forward to his continued recognition,” added V.I. Tourism Department Commissioner Joseph Boschulte.

The series has been added to public libraries throughout North America, including Toronto,
New York City, San Diego and Los Angeles, and is being used in classes at Stanford University, Notre Dame University, University of Miami, University of Houston, and the
College at William & Mary, to name a few, the release stated.

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