feature: richard scott thamar on the joy and struggle of being a young afro-caribbean film director

August 14, 2015

My name is Richard Scott Thamar. I am a film director and a musician from Guadeloupe, French west Indies. At the moment, I mainly direct music videos (collaborating with musicians that I’m inspired by); and in my work, I’m interested in pushing the envelope of black beauty and black representation. Throughout my studies in France I realised that Afro Caribbean art, and even more generally black culture are hugely underexposed, unknown, and most of the time negatively represented; and I want to change that. 

Richard Scott Thamar, AFROPUNK Contributor



I am very interested in music and Paris’ alt scene; and through friends of friends, I’ve had the opportunity to direct videos for some amazing within this alternative scene; videos which have launched my career. In fact, six months ago I won a prize for my work, called ‘Start’, which helps young artists lunch their career. Sound like a good push-up, right? It was, but the path to win this prize was not that easy. If I have to define my work I would say that it’s a search for realness and poetry in a canvas of non stereotypical stories. 


Through my art, I would like to tell the stories close to my heart, the ones that touch me, the ones that are connected to my family or friends directly or indirectly. But also stories which are part of the Afro Caribbean experience. When I started to think about film directing as a career, it was to make a change; for blacks to have our own representation on the big screen. I have this idea that cinema is a good way to be understood by others, but also to understand ourselves.

Studying film in Paris was one of the hardest things in my life. There were only two Afro-Caribbeans (myself included) on my course. Not in my class of twenty people, but in my course, that mean 300 students. For the first time I understood what it meant to be a minority. I spent my teenage years in the west Indies. Racism was not something I experienced. What made me even  more sick was the fact in my studies, that there was nothing on black cinema; like really nothing. Through this traumatic experience I realised something: It has to come from us. And if it has to come from me, I have to put some effort in that idea of what can be Afro cinema.



I am actually working on two short film projects you can see the teaser of one of them. Rebel is a fictional story of two street artists from Guadeloupe. The story focuses on how their art influence the historical strike that hit the country in 2009.


The second project is a more personal one. A short film on the guadeloupean youth and how frustration can lead to violence. The story describes a day in a life of Teddy, a ghetto-youth, who is try to make a better life for himself. It shows how our choices can change radically who we are.

The most difficult Part in making films is to find financing, it is not easy to sell a movie focusing on the West Indies with a almost all black cast. I know that at one point I will have to crowd fund.

It’s difficult for me to just focus one thing. I see my art as a multi-platform . So when I am not writing stories or make films I am focusing on my music, beat producing, playing instruments, sometimes sing. This is why I find the initiative of Afro punk extremely interesting and unique it allows us to show, share, even create art in any form and away from those stereotypes often projected on our community. Now it’s the time to mutually stimulate ourselves, support ourselves and make sure to make things happen. Listen to my music here:



Thank you for reading!