Jamaica’s Film Industry Booming, Says Commissioner


Jamaica’s Film Commissioner, Kim Marie Spence, says the island’s film industry is “booming”.

Jamaica’s Film Commissioner, Kim Marie Spence, addressing Canadian filmmakers at a networking session organised by JAMPRO in Toronto, Canada, recently.

Speaking recently to filmmakers attending a networking session organised by JAMPRO in Toronto, Canada, Ms. Spence said two Jamaican feature films are to be released in October. They are “Better Mus’ Come”, which is about political turmoil in the1970s, and “Rise Up”, which follows three artistes trying to make it in the music industry.
Giving more details on the film industry, Ms. Spence said a third Jamaican film, called “Ghett’a Life”, is slated for release in 2011, while “Small Island”, a two-part series on the emigration of Caribbean peoples to the United Kingdom was also shot in Jamaica. Partially shot in Jamaica was the recently released Hollywood movie, ‘Knight and Day’, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.
“The industry is booming and we are looking for partnerships and investments. If we, as a small island, can produce this much, what more can we do if we are working with you here,” she said, adding that Jamaica is open for business in the creative industries.

JAMPRO’s Film Commissioner, Kim Marie Spence (second right), North American Regional Manager, Robert Kerr (right), and Senior Consulting Officer, Nardia McKenzie (centre), welcome Jamaican actress Terri Salmon (second left) and owner of Jones and Jones Productions, Denise Jones (left), to the JAMPRO-sponsored networking session for Canadian filmmakers in Toronto, Canada, recently.

The audience viewed a synopsis of the new “Locations Catalogue”, highlighting a wide range of locations in Jamaica. Recently completed by the Commission, the catalogue can be accessed on the agency’s website and features more than 1,000 photographs.
“A lot of people think of Jamaica as just sun, beach and sand, but there is so much more. We have acting talent and technical talent. There is a lot of variety, not only with the scenery, but also with the people,” noted the head of the oldest film commission in the English-speaking Caribbean. Over 3,000 film projects have been serviced by the Jamaica Film Commission since it was established in 1984.
The networking session was organised to give Canadian filmmakers an idea of what Jamaica and the Film Commission can offer.

Jamaica’s Film Commissioner, Kim Marie Spence (left) in discussion with Canadian rapper and actress, Michie Mee (centre), and Deputy CEO of Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC), Kirk J. Buchanan (right), at a JAMPRO-sponsored networking session for Canadian film makers in Toronto, Canada.

It was held during the current 35th staging of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). During the 11 days of the Festival, which ends on Sunday, September 19, more than 300 films will be screened. Jamaica does not have an entry this year, but Ms. Spence expects that will change for next year’s Festival.
Jampro’s North America Regional Manager, Robert Kerr, echoed her promise of Jamaican films in next year’s TIFF, noting that as a film destination, Jamaica offers diversity in people, talent and location which are sought by some of the most demanding filmmakers.
In attendance were actors, producers, and filmmakers from Canada and Jamaica, including actress and principal of the Reel World Film Festival, Tonya Lee Williams; Jamaican actress, Terri Salmon; Canadian rapper and actress, Michie Mee; Deputy CEO of the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC), Kirk J. Buchanan; and Jampro’s Senior Consulting Officer, Nardia McKenzie.

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