GATFFEST in collaboration with the US Embassy, had their opening night last night, June 25, 2015 and what an auspicious occasion it was. Many stalwarts of the film industry were present for the premier of the UWI Film Project film "Epiphany" directed by Eka Campbell one of the UWI Film Project coordinators.
The film was shot in Mountain View, Minister Julian Robinson’s constituency and told the story of Amy Jacques, Marcus Garvey’s wife through the eyes of a young man from present day who was dying to meet her believing she was the perfect woman. Amy Jacques is a large part of Jamaican history that most probably do not know about. After Marcus Garvey’s passing she made it her responsibility to complete his works and ensure they were published. In essence, without her we probably would not know as much about Marcus Garvey and Garveyism as we do today.
The film was well received by the crowd and there are talks of seeking funding and turning it into a feature. Many applauded the effort and creativity of choosing to highlight what history would regard as the secondary character in the Marcus Garvey legacy and making her the lead instead of taking the typical route of going directly for portraying the National Hero himself. Robert Scott from Jampro made the point that most think of Mountain View as a community in turmoil, but here he sees a powerful potential for pride and upliftment.
When asked why this story was so important, Eka Campbell and Minister Robinson shared that Amy Jacques house or what is left of it still exists on Jacques Road. Most people don’t even realize the connection between Jacques road and Marcus Garvey, but it is a piece of history and there are talks of restoring her house as a national heritage monument.
This just goes to show the importance and power of this festival. GATFFEST started as the Greater August Town Film Festival, which was simply suppose to be a showcase of the talents coming out of a film project to teach youth from August town how to make films and tell their stories. In only 3 years of existence it has naturally expanded into a project that showcases local, regional and international films and makes a point of highlighting historical stories we rarely hear about. The UWI Film Project has been implemented in several other communities and GATFFEST will have this year’s event in both Montego Bay and Kingston.
Today Friday, June 26th the films will be shown in Montego Bay at the UWI Western Campus and Saturday and Sunday the films will be shown in Kingston at the Courtleigh auditorium. The admission is $800 and show time will begin at 6pm on Friday and Saturday and 5pm on Sunday. Of course no film festival would be complete without workshops. So far they have had 2 on Acting and directing and on Saturday they will be having more workshops on writing and filmmaking in general. This festival is definitely not to be missed, so see you there.
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.