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  • Film Commissioner at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Renée Robinson, says the film, animation and music sector is reaping significant benefits from the investment, export and trade initiatives that the entity has been facilitating.
  • Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on March 27, she pointed out that JAMPRO manages several talent programmes by identifying, discovering and providing opportunities for individuals who demonstrate that they are investment-ready and commercially viable.
  • “We take them into different markets throughout the year by hosting several national delegations to film festivals across the world, some of which are related to the talent programme, and then others are broader and open to film industry professionals across Jamaica,” Miss Robinson highlighted.

Film Commissioner at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Renée Robinson, says the film, animation and music sector is reaping significant benefits from the investment, export and trade initiatives that the entity has been facilitating.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on March 27, she pointed out that JAMPRO manages several talent programmes by identifying, discovering and providing opportunities for individuals who demonstrate that they are investment-ready and commercially viable.

“We take them into different markets throughout the year by hosting several national delegations to film festivals across the world, some of which are related to the talent programme, and then others are broader and open to film industry professionals across Jamaica,” Miss Robinson highlighted.

She added that throughout the year, JAMPRO does open calls for the national delegations, then organises, coordinates and manages the missions in order to ensure that the business that is conducted in the various markets is sustainable and impacts the Jamaican companies.

The Film Commissioner informed that one of JAMPRO’s signature talent programmes, which it undertakes with Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA), is Propella, a script-to-screen project that nurtures Jamaican content creators and enables them to tell their stories cinematically by providing funding and technical support.

“We will be launching the fourth cohort of this [thrust], which identifies up to five local film-making projects and then assists them throughout the year with script development, production funding and engagement with various markets,” Miss Robinson said.

She noted that the programme has produced excellent content, and opens the door for film-makers in international markets, which is a crucial element of JAMPRO’s film-development strategy.

“The programme itself has seen many significant wins. We now have a catalogue of short films ready to represent the potential of talent in the sector. Over the years, several of the shorts have secured financial interest in further development into features or television episodics; and key on-screen talent has been discovered internationally through this platform,” she said.

The Film Commissioner noted that JAMPRO, through partnership with the British Council and JAFTA, facilitates a Film Lab, a talent discovery and project preparation programme, that takes feature films from the initial stages and develops the writer, editor and producer.

Another important initiative that JAMPRO is spearheading, in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), is the Business of Sustainability for Studios (BOSS) programme, an enterprise-building thrust that forms part of the Youth Employment in Digital and Animated Industries (YEDAI) programme.

The BOSS programme aims to groom 20 existing animation production studio executives to grow their businesses into sustainable and profitable production and animation entities; support the development of the local animation industry; and ultimately, transform the landscape in Jamaica to encourage greater local direct investment in the creative economy.

In terms of the delegations and film festivals, Miss Robinson said that these activities are used to seek development prospects for Jamaican films and promote Jamaica for filming opportunities.

The delegations usually include local film-makers, producers, production managers and other industry representatives working in content creation, broadcast and television services.

“We attend the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) every year, as it is one of our key markets and we know that there is a large Caribbean diaspora there and a good connection between Caribbean and Canadian films,” Miss Robinson said, adding that “TIFF is one of the top-five film festivals in the world when it comes to trade and sales, so we need to ensure that we have a presence there”.

This year, for the first time, a national delegation attended the Berlin International Film Festival in Germany.

“We participated at the European Film Market (EFM) and had a variety of business meetings, met with financiers, sales agents, distributors and potential executive producers who could help to partner with Jamaican film-makers and identify opportunities for our local film professionals to conduct and engage in global business,” the Film Commissioner informed.

She said that, soon, JAMPRO will be opening calls for national delegations for the Cannes Film Festival, which will be held in France in May; Durban International Film Festival in South Africa; and the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival.

“I am encouraging professional film-makers who are working in the industry right now to keep your ears open for these national delegation open calls, as when we attend these missions, persons can see the benefits of participating on the international scene and understand what sales and trade in the global film industry look like,” Miss Robinson said.