Created by Matt Harris-Freeth, The Pitch 2018

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An intense, visceral thriller based on true events... Jamaica 1655. The British attack the Spanish colony. At risk of being taken by new captors, fearful Máanu follows her determined older sister, Kumi with a small group of West African women and child slaves to escape the brutal plantation into the wilderness. They must avoid capture by the Spanish and the invading British, but they are soon lost in the dense forest. Some women voice concerns to Máanu about their lack of food, their dangerous situation and no apparent plan. Máanu begins to doubt her sister and confronts her. Kumi sticks to her beliefs, reminds her what horrors they’re running from. But when a wild boar attacks, wreaks havoc on their camp, Máanu saves a young girl, killing the beast. She realises the forest can support them all and regains trust in her sister. She convinces the group to continue to follow her sister in their pursuit of freedom. They soon discover an indigenous village and the tribe welcomes them in. As they watch the Spanish colonies burn on the horizon, Kumi reminds Máanu they may be free for now but they’re still far from their home and family in Africa.

Biblical Connection

Exodus 16: ‘Maroons’ is an adaptation of Moses and Aaron leading the Israelites across the wilderness after escaping Pharaoh’s slavery. They become hungry, tired and question why they’re following Moses to die in the wilderness, before God brings them food. ‘Maroons’ is based on true events told through fictional characters. In this adaptation, Máanu represents Aaron, Kumi represents Moses (God’s will) and the escaped slaves represent the Israelites. I feel it’s most compelling seeing it from Máanu’s perspective, as mediator between Kumi and everyone else, she becomes the most conflicted. Belief and trust in someone even if you don’t understand their motives and not knowing the meaning behind suffering; these are themes that resonate with me and I want to explore in ‘Maroons’. My wife and children are descended from Jamaican Maroons. In researching Maroon history, I was sickened by the suffering they endured but inspired by their courage and strength in what must have been a heart pounding, adrenaline filled escape. Researching further, I was struck by the parallels with the story of the Israelites. How they were removed from their home, forced into slavery and escaped through the wilderness to the mountains. I feel it’s an important story to tell the world!