Directed by Ashley Karrell and produced by David Lascelles, Ashley Karrell, Panoptical. Harewood House Trust & Geraldine Connor Foundation.

Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2018 People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary – Won
Leeds International Film Festival 2017 Audience Award for Best Retrospective Film Experience – Runner Up

Carnival Messiah is a radical reinvention of George Fredrick Handel’s Messiah; the theatrical production fuses together traditional and contemporary music, dance and carnival practices. The idea came from Geraldine Connor’s desire to celebrate both her Caribbean and British roots. The traditional Christian story was reworked into a colourful masterpiece that celebrated art forms from around the world. Leeds-based director Ashley Karrell’s film takes you closer to the action than ever before – huge cast, loud music, spectacular carnival costumes. Also featuring interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from both then and now. It was filmed over 4 performances with 8 different angles & a 124 channel sound recording. With a professional & community cast over 150 performers from Leeds, Trinidad & around the world.

“A spectacular musical showcase, featuring a multi-ethnic multitude of singers, musicians, masqueraders, dancers and actors … The excitement, music and colour of Carnival blended with Handel’s most inspiring and exhilarating melodies … Gospel, oratorio, soca, bhangra, jazz, reggae, hip hop and ritual theatre combine with towering, glittering carnival costumes and dancing mobiles … Caribbean rhythms and European classics mix with Yoruba ritual, Commedia dell’arte, Islamic and Hindu cultural references, Pantomime, Masquerade, Street theatre and the liturgy of Christianity…” Geraldine Connor

Main Cast: Ella Andall – Mother Earth, Anne Fridal – Mary, Ronald Samm – Voice of Truth, Marvin Smith – Lone Disciple, Simona Armstrong – Minstrel, Dennis Herdman – Minstrel, Ram John Holder – Minstrel, Katie Matthews – Minstrel, Nigel Wong – Minstrel, Chris Tummings – Minstrel, Karlene Wray – Minstrel, Ernest Brew – Shango, Alyson Brown – Pierrot / Dove Of Peace, Natalie Joseph Settle – Shango Dancer, Jonathan Bishop – Dancer, Christopher Sheppard – Shango

KEY CREW: Geraldine Connor – Creator – Artistic Director, David Lascelles – Executive producer, Ashley Karrell – Film Director and Producer, Carol LaChapelle – Choreographer, David Hamilton – Choreographer, Michael Steel-Eytle – Choral Director, Robert Bryan – Lighting Designer, Glen Massam – Sound Designer, Clary Salandy – Costume Designer, Dudley Nesbit – Steel Band Director, Michael Lovelock – Musical Director, Mark Tillotson – Co-Director, Wayne Berkeley – Designer

Carnival Messiah The Film was screened at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on Saturday 16th September 2017 as part of the 50th Anniversary of Leeds West Indian Carnival. Carnival Messiah The Film & Documentary had its UK premiere at the Leeds International Film Festival 2017 & its West Indian premiere at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2018

Carnival Messiah The Film and Documentary has been created with thanks to The Geraldine Connor Foundation, Arts Council England Lottery Funding, Harewood House Trust and Panoptical.