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Visiting the Curaçao Set for Ernest Dickerson’s Latest Feature Film ‘Double Play’ Was a Journey Rife With History and Understanding

January 4, 2016

History is often told through the perspective of those who are in power. So much of what is written erases the experiences of those who are marginalized in society. With his arresting and groundbreaking novel, “Double Play”; Curaçaoan author Frank Martinus Arion gave the world a unique view into the island of Curaçao and its culture. Nearly 45 years after the novel was first published, acclaimed Director Ernest Dickerson (“Juice”, “The Wire”, “The Walking Dead”) and Executive Producer Lisa Cortes (“Precious”) are bringing this story to the big screen. Using Curaçao not only as a backdrop for the story, but also weaving its traditions throughout this exquisite tale, Dickerson and his team have begun bringing this story to life.

Shadow and Act was recently invited to visit the set of “Double Play” in Curaçao where I spoke with Dickerson, Cortes, and the majority of the film’s cast.

tepping foot on the tiny island, which is recognized as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the richness of the place is evident. The multitude of colors and faces shows a story of migration, enslavement, perseverance and settlement. On the journey to the set, we encountered both half constructed homes with crumbling facades, along with much larger buildings behind gates.  This paradox raises a number of questions and begs that Curaçao’s past be told.

“Double Play” is a story of an older gentleman named Ostrik, his return home to Curaçao after many years away, and his childhood reflections. Set around a daylong game of dominos played between Ostrik’s father Bubu and four of his friends, in 1973, Ostrik recalls the events that dramatically shaped his formative years. Black men congregating within competitive spaces is an age-old scenario. However, the combative nature of Curaçaoan dominos makes this setting all the more unique.

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Image: E.J. Dickerson