A ground-breaking, award-winning fact-based film commissioned by the BBC Arena strand and BFI Doc Society. The film focuses on a surreal carnival that takes place in Jacmel, South Haiti and uses the characters, through their voices, costumes and street theatre, as a vehicle to tell oft silenced, unique and globally important history of Haiti…especially the successful revolt of the Enslaved peoples and the creation of the first Black Republic in the New World.

Interwoven with the interviews, testimonies and visually stunning observational footage is archive material drawn from a wide variety of sources to enhance our understanding of Haitian history and culture from the time of the indigenous Taino through to the present day.

Screenings, festivals and awards
2024 - PATOIS: The New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival
2024 - 3e édition au Festival International du Film Documentaire de Jacmel
2024 - Museum Ethnography Geneva
2024 - Afridelic and Caribbean Creative at Melkweg, Amsterdam
2023 - Rencontres du Documentaire en Haïti
2023 - Le Festival International du Film des Droits humains de Guadeloupe, Alliance Ciné Caraïbes.
2023 - FIFAC, St-Laurent de Maroni, French Guyana
2023 - Roxy Cinema, Lower Manhattan
2023 - St Moritz Arts Film Festival
2023 - Screened at Hot Docs Festival, Toronto
2023 - Winner of best documentary by Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards
2023 - Special mention and screening at DIFF (Dublin International Film Festival)
2022 - Nominated British Independent Film Awards for best debut feature documentary director and best cinematography
2022 - Nominated Grierson Documentary Award at LFF
2022 - London Film Festival

Husna Ara, KANAVAL: KEEPING HAITI’S HISTORY ALIVE, New Internationalist (Nov 2022)
Phuong Le, Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters review – spirited and striking, Guardian (Nov 2022)
Ela Bittencourt, Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters, Sight & Sound (Oct 2022)
Chen Wei Hannah, A Tribute to Haitian heritage — Kanaval, Pi Media (Oct 2022)
Jordan Cracknell, Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters, The Indiependent (Oct 2022)
Sarah Jacobs, Kanaval: Three Centuries of Haitian History Told Through a Carnival Lens, Sounds & Colours (Oct 2022)
Natalie Dressed, "Kanaval: A People's History of Haiti in Six Chapters"is a great documentary on revelry and the past, BoingBoing (March 2024)



Director & Producer Leah Gordon
DOP Joel Honeywell
Director Eddie Hutton-Mills
Producer Natasha Dack Ojumu
Editor Xanna Ward Dixon

Sound Don Nelson
1st AC Lami Okrekson

2nd AC Emmanuelle Charles
Production Fixer Andre Eugene
Production Manager Peterson Jean-Pierre
Assistant Sound Marcellan Roudi Riguad