ANASTÁCIA

Inspired by Escrava Anastácia, patron Saint of the women of Brazil

and Nathaniel Gordon, the only slave trader in the U.S. to be tried, convicted, and executed "for being engaged in the Slave Trade," under the Piracy Law of 1820, this is an epic drama and love story.
                 
The story is set during the horrible years of 19th century human trafficking.  It's core storyline is inspired by  ANASTÁCIA.  In the movie 16-year-old blue-eyed Anastácia, named after St. Escrava Anastácia, the patron saint of many women of Rio de Janeiro, and her family, are slaves purchased by an American slave ship captain, Nathaniel Gordon, in the Congo River basin in 1858.  Enroute to a Brazilian slave market the ship Camargo is suspected to be a slaver and it is pursued by a Brazilian Navy man-of-war.  Evasively, the captain runs his ship aground as he knows the shallow waters will keep the Brazilan warship at a distance.  The Captain escapes taking Anastácia with him disguised as his servant.  Because of her beauty the Captain knows Anastácia is of high value.  He books passage on a clipper heading to Wilmington, North Carolina from Rio de Janeiro, and upon arriving at the destination, he sells her into indentured service. Anastácia is taken further north to New York City and is put to work as a nanny.  Her new master's wife, Caroline, forces Anastácia to wear a face mask to hide her beauty from the new master.  Caroline correctly suspects her husband is obsessed with the young beauty.  Young Anastácia's fate becomes similar to the Saint for which she was named.
     

 




Anaståcia

“Anastacia, holy Anastasia,
You who were borne by Yemenja, our mother,
Give us the strength to struggle each day
So we may never become slaves,
So that, like you, we may be rebellious creatures
May it be so. Amen”

 

In Brazil Yemenja is the Queen of the Ocean, the patron spirit of the fishermen and the survivors of shipwrecks, the feminine principle of creation, and the spirit of moonlight. Saturday is the consecrated day of Yemanjá.
 
             
 

      Abraham Lincoln's Pardon Request Denial

 


     

 

Abraham Lincoln,

President of the United States of America,

To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting:

Whereas, it appears that at a Term of the Circuit Court of the United States of America for the Southern District of New York held in the month of November A.D. 1861, Nathaniel Gordon was indicted and convicted for being engaged in the Slave Trade, and was by the said Court sentenced to be put to death by hanging by the neck, on Friday the 7th day of February, A.D. 1862;

And whereas, a large number of respectable citizens have earnestly besought me to commute the said sentence of the said Nathaniel Gordon to a term of imprisonment for life, which application I have felt it to be my duty to refuse;

And whereas, it has seemed to me probable that the unsuccessful application made for the commutation of his sentence may have prevented the said Nathaniel Gordon from making the necessary preparation for the awful change which awaits him;

Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America have granted and do hereby grant unto him, the said Nathaniel Gordon, a respite of the above recited sentence, until Friday the twenty first day of February, A.D. 1862, between the hours of twelve o’clock at noon and three o’clock in the afternoon of the said day, when the said sentence shall be executed.

In granting this respite, it becomes my painful duty to admonish the prisoner that, relinquishing all expectation of pardon by Human Authority, he refer himself alone to the mercy of the Common God and Father of all men.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto signed my name and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Fourth day of February A.D. 1862, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-sixth.

                                                            Abraham Lincoln.
By the President:

William H. Seward
                 Secretary of State.

 

     

 

 

 

 

The slave ship captain was Nathaniel Gordon.  Gordon's final slave voyage was from the Congo River with 897 captives on board.  Gordon's ship, the Erie, was boarded 50-miles off the west coast of Africa by the U.S. Navy.  In November 1861, Gordon was convicted of slave trading and sentenced to hang. Participation in the slave trade had been punishable by death since 1820, but Gordon was the first man to be executed for the crime. Between 1837 and 1860, seventy-four cases relating to the slave trade had been tried in the United States, but very few men were convicted, and even then they received only light sentences. Only one other slave trader had been sentenced to death, but he received a full pardon from President James Buchanan in 1857.Gordon’s friends and supporters approached Lincoln, as the President wrote, "to commute the said sentence of the said Nathaniel Gordon to a term of imprisonment for life." Lincoln declined, writing that it was his "duty to refuse." He did, however, delay the execution for two weeks, to allow the prisoner time to make "the necessary preparation for the awful change which awaits him." Lincoln’s unwavering refusal to grant Gordon clemency is a testament to his intolerance of slavery.At noon on February 21, 1862, Nathaniel Gordon was brought to the gallows in New York City. Both the death warrant and Lincoln’s refusal to commute the sentence were read aloud, and then he was hanged. The article from Harper’s Weekly attached as a pdf describes the case, Gordon’s attempted suicide, and the execution. Within a year of Gordon’s execution multiple anti-slavery measures were enacted, including the abolition of slavery in Washington, DC, the Second Confiscation Act, and the Emancipation Proclamation.
The movie will tell the stories of Anastácia and Gordon in parallel, leading to the point where she witnesses his trial and conviction.  It will be historical fiction strongly rooted in actual events and the very important history of the Congo, mid Atlantic Slave Trade, 19th century Brazil, and the U.S. during the Abraham Lincoln presidency.
Anastácia is the quintessential heroine, managing to remain a compassionate and inspiring individual despite horrific treatment. Ultimately, she will return to Brazil in search of her family who, with all the slaves on board the Camargo, were thrown overboard by Gordon's crew during Camargo's pursuit by the Brazilian Navy. Deep-sixing the living evidence was a common method used by slavers to evade capture and possible prosecution.
The drama we are developing will highlight what are several  ongoing issues, conditions unacceptable in a contemporary "enlightened" society and evolved civilization. 
Further, and of signifcant note, during the mid 19th century Captain Gordon had evaded capture in Brazil.  The country's then emperor, Dom Pedro II, was an abolitionist, major supporter of the arts & sciences, whose efforts to stop the practice of slavery predates Abraham Lincoln's mandate and America's Civil War.  Brazil is in possession of artifacts from Gordon's Camargo, and the country will participate in the production of the movie.  Additionally, we have located decendants of the slaves transported aboard the Camargo who survived and found a life in Brazil.
 
   

The project is being done in a co-production arrangement with Aventuras Produções e Edições Educativas Ltda of Brazil.

Since 1995 Aventuras has been producing Cinema, TV & Web about Scientific Expeditions, Adventure, Ecotourism, and Environmental Actions, providing a greater understanding of human nature and what it means to be Brazilian. In 2017 Aventura's owners, Yuri Sanada and Vera RP Sanada, as producers of Amazon Adventure 3D, an IMAX film in wide release, received the GSCA Award (Giant Screen Cinema Association) Best Film Award.