Private Project

Root Up

This creative documentary deals the issue of chlordecone contaminated soils in Guadeloupe through the prism of a local female farmer.
When Joselie, a former seamstress, inherits 5 acres of land from her late father, she decides to become a farmer at age 48. At that point, she discovers that her land is contaminated and that she cannot grow anything on it. However, she refuses to give up and is determined to save her land and live off it.
“Root Up” tells the story of a land, a woman and her struggle to save her legacy.

  • Katia Cafe-Febrissy
  • Katia Cafe-Febrissy
  • Ateliers Varan / Varan Caraïbe
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    À la racine
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    27 minutes 49 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 24, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Silver Spotlight Documentary Film Award 2017
    United States
    Silver Spotlight Documentary Film Award
  • TERRA Environmental Film Festival 2017
    March 17, 2017
    Caribbean Region Premiere
    Best Short Documentary Award
  • Barcelona Planet Film Festival 2017
    May 30, 2017
    Best Woman Filmmaker Award
  • Memorial Acte Screening
    February 25, 2017
    Guadeloupean Premiere
Director Biography - Katia Cafe-Febrissy

Katia Café-Fébrissy is a Toronto-based award-winning Writer/Director. She originates from Paris, France and is of French Caribbean heritage.

She is an alumna of the Women in the Director's Chair advanced filmmaking program, and holds a postgraduate diploma in Creative Documentary Filmmaking from Varan Doc Institute, France. She also holds an MA in Literature and Languages from the Université de Paris VIII, France.

Katia is a member of both the Francophone Writers Guild of Canada (SARTEC), the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) and Women in Film and Television - Toronto Chapter (WIFT-T). In addition, she sits on the Board of Directors of the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, a moving image and time-based arts organization.

Katia directed a CBC-Documentary “Social Me” produced by the National Film Board of Canada, which relates the story of an 18 year-old girl as she reflects upon the impact of social media on the shaping of her personal identity.

“Social Me” was screened at the 2015 Francophone International Film Festival of Acadia (FICFA). The film was selected by the National Screen Institute 2016 Online Short Film Festival as well as the 2016 French Caribbean International Film Festival of Guadeloupe (FEMI).

In her latest film “Root Up”, Katia tackles the issue of chlordecone contaminated soils in Guadeloupe through the prism of a local female farmer. This creative documentary tells the story of a land, a woman and her struggle to save her legacy.

“Root Up” won the Best Short Documentary Award in the 2017 TERRA Environmental Film Festival, the Best Woman Filmmaker Award from the Barcelona Planet Film Festival 2017 and the Silver Spotlight Documentary Film Festival Award 2017 for excellence in filmmaking. In addition, Root up is part of the official selection of the Caribbean Tales International Film Festival 2017.

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Director Statement

The use of the chlordecone pesticide in banana plantations in the French Caribbean was authorized in Guadeloupe by way of derogation until 1993, although this product was forbidden in mainland France, three years before.

Since the decontamination should take about 700 years, I wanted to have a better grasp of how the local population feels about this issue, nowadays.

I chose to tell this story because my heritage is rooted in Guadeloupe, a small butterfly-shaped island in the middle of the Caribbean. This French Overseas Department is too often reduced to its beautiful sandy beaches, turquoise waters and its luxuriant flora. There is however a darker side to this paradisiac island where real people live there and have real problems. My doc ROOT UP is about one of them...

Ultimately, what motivated me to make this film was my desire to document the perception that Guadeloupeans have of their land now, and how they feel about living with and eating off their contaminated land.