If you missed it last night, I was interviewed by Ed Umoja on "Speaking to Harmony" a radio blog show on "Sister's in Harmpony radio". If you want to hear it here is the link below.
We spoke about my short film "Heart Shaped Box" the response it got at the PITON International Film Festival (PIFF), Chicago Caribbean Film Festival and the Houston Caribbean Film Festival. Beyond that we spoke about the film industry in Jamaica and the Caribbean, how we can address some of the challenges.
It was a good interview covering a lot of ground including film festivals across the Caribbean, Animation, making linkages overseas, collaborating more across the Caribbean and of course bigging up a few local filmmakers I think we all need to look out for.
Ed Umoja is the founder of PIFF in St. Lucia, an international film festival he has been successfully running for 3 years and it is growing in terms of attracting tourists during the slow season helping to fill hotels and flights to the island not to mention the spill over economic benefit to restaurants and local craft and transport sectors. Ed is also the founder of Cariwood, a movement that is encouraging the effective networking of different film communities in the Caribbean, Africa and the diaspora to help strengthen and unify the industry. It is his strong belief that our combined efforts will help put us on the map faster. Right now each island is struggling to make even one film a year. Ideally we should be making 10 but that is a challenge. If the islands could easily work with each other, maybe the combined resources could help us meet that goal. Then a significant dent could be made. 10 is probably not very achievable in the nearest future especially for more than maybe 3 islands at this time, but it's definitely something we should aim for and hopefully initiatives like the highly successful JAFTA Propella program and PIFF's initiatives regionally and internationally can help boost that movement.
Until then I encourage filmmakers to look out for local festivals next year like Lignum Vitae Film Festival, GATFFEST Film Festival, Reggae Film Festival, Alliance Francaise French Animation Festival and hopefully the Jamaica Film Festival as places to show case their work. Regionally look out for what Cuba is doing, look out for PIFF, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (TTFF) and the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF). These festivals are not to be snoozed on.
Check out the Interview and tell me what you think below. Did you enjoy it? What would you love to hear more about?
Watch out Jamaica! A new kind of hero is coming and you can get to watch him in the 15 minute short film pilot called “Enhanced”. Directed by Joshua Paul, the story follows a masked vigilante who stops the kidnapping of a defenseless school girl, Shari, played by the charming and innocent-looking Melissa Gooden.
Shot in Jamaica by a Jamaican crew with Jamaican actors, the movie premiered at the University of the West Indies in front of a crowd of over 200 people. Present were the Film Commissioner Renee Robinson and filmmakers Robin Chin and Kyle Chin, among others. The film shows off professional, crowd-thrilling martial arts fight scenes choreographed by Lamardo Christopher and Kevin Jackson. The high kicking action between the vigilante (L. Christopher) and two thugs (K. Jackson and the other played by the serious but very comedic Fitzroy Walters) left a resounding impression as it is a genre of filmmaking not often seen from the country.
A refreshing change from the typical “shoot em up” thug movies we are accustomed to, “Enhanced” tackles a prevailing topic in our society- the safety of our children in our communities. It also looks at the need for their awareness when on the road between school and home as well as the fantasy concept of who is to save them if things go wrong. In this case, a young acrobatic hero comes to the rescue but at a harmful cost to himself.
With desires to become Jamaica’s first action based super hero series, the film has been accepted and screened at the “Urban Action Film Festival” in New York at an HBO red carpet event where it competed against other international action films and was nominated for best short film. Though it did not win, it pulled a lot of interest from the audience who were excited to see such a film coming out of the Caribbean. Since then it has screened at the Liguanea Club and New Wave Lounge on Mannings Hill Road in Jamaica. It has landed articles in the Jamaica Observer, interviews on www.reggaetoreggae.com and TVJ's Smile Jamaica. It will be further screened in Jamaica to gain more exposure to wider audiences for the support it needs to build its fan base and impress investors. If you want to check it out, follow @enhancedja on instagram, twitter and facebook at #enhancedja for more information regarding future screening dates and series development.
I am a Filmmaker, Animator and Writer. I love telling stories and making them come true. You will see me on the big screen soon enough.