Portrait of an Island” is an online series of documentary shorts that looks at the moments that define the lionhearted people of the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda. From a grandmother’s personal account of forbidden love during colonial times to the moment that a housekeeper was transformed to adopted black mother of her boss’ white children, this powerful repository of personal stories offers an intimate portrait of an island and her people. A response to the increasing globalization and commercialization of Caribbean culture, this series will be a modern- day audio-visual archive that celebrates the spirit, diversity, and vitality of the Caribbean experience, and the indomitable humanity that connects us all.
Originally from the island of Antigua, Melissa is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in New York City. Melissa's feature-length documentary directorial debut, Silent Music, is a portrait of her deaf family which won the Best Documentary awards at both the 2014 Maine Deaf Film Festival and the 2012 CaribbeanTales Film Festival, as well as the Audience Choice Award at the 2013 Toronto Deaf Film & Arts Festival. Her documentary short, Share and Share Alike, won the award for Best Film / Video Documentary Production at the 2010 Berlin International Black Cinema Festival in Germany, and was also nominated for Best Short Documentary at the 2010 Pan African Film Festival in Culver City, California. Most recently, Melissa has worked with Academy Award nominated directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady at Loki Films where she Co-Produced MAKERS: Women & Comedy, a documentary on trailblazing women in comedy airing on PBS in September 2014. With Loki Films, Melissa also Co-Produced Branded, an episode of ESPN's Emmy- nominated Nine for IX series. Melissa also worked with Academy Award winning director Alex Gibney on his documentary feature, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, which was short listed for an Academy Award in 2010.