New documentary about Trinidadian ‘Hero’

Bevan Springer | 7/18/2013, 3:52 p.m. | Updated on 7/18/2013, 3:52 p.m.

NEW YORK (July 18)—A documentary film inspired by the life of West Indian war hero, jurist and diplomat Ulric Cross is scheduled to be released next year by award-winning Caribbean filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon.

Addressing an audience packed into the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission in London last month, Solomon announced that Cross will be the central feature in the 75-minute documentary “A Hero for All Time,” which also highlights the accomplishments of fellow Trinidadian legends George Padmore, C.L.R. James, Henry Sylvester Williams, Learie Constantine and Jamaican Una Marsden.

From an ordinary Belmont childhood in colonial Trinidad, Cross vaulted the barriers of color, race and class to realize his extraordinary destiny. The most decorated West Indian Squadron Leader of World War II, Cross was a navigator with the elite Pathfinders Force of Britain’s Royal Air Force and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for meritorious service during wartime combat and the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial exercises.

After the war, he trained as a lawyer, worked as a producer at the BBC, then went on to shine in key advisory roles in three newly independent African states as a trusted advisor to President Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, attorney general in Cameroon and as an advisor to President Julius Nyerere in Tanzania.

He returned to Trinidad to serve his country as judge, mediator and diplomat before heading back to Britain as Trinidad and Tobago’s high commissioner in the 1990s. In 2011, Ambassador Cross received the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the highest honor of the twin island Caribbean state.

Reflecting on Cross’ accomplishments, acclaimed actor Rudolph Walker, the film’s U.K. patron, stressed the importance of role models.

“We need to tell our stories, especially for the benefit of our young people and the generations to come,” said Walker, whose Rudolph Walker Foundation provides theatrical training to inner-city youth in the U.K..

Cross’ nephew Felix Cross, a composer and theater director, explained, “As a young man, Uncle Ulric inspired us all because his life spanned key moments of the 20th century: the Second World War, the rise of Pan Africanism, the birth of independence in Africa and the Caribbean, the emergence of powerful Black Leaders across the Diaspora and the coming voice of Caribbean societies.”

“’Hero’ explores not just the life, but also the dynamic and transformative times that Ulric Cross was born into, and starred in. Ultimately, the film is about us, who we are as Caribbean people and as citizens of the world,” said Solomon.

“Hero” is co-produced by Solomon’s CaribbeanTales Film Group, and Timmy Mora’s Trinidad and Tobago-based Visual Art and Production, both established film and television production entities.