Local Films for Festival in Trinidad Sept. 18-25

Photo: Michael Sloley Film Commissioner at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Renee Robinson, speaks with JIS News about various initiatives being undertaken by the agency to promote and support the local film industry.

Story Highlights

  • Four local films will premiere at the upcoming Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (TTFF), slated for September 18 to 25 in Port-of-Spain.
  • The projects are ‘Agwe’ by Ina Sortiva; ‘Flight’, Kia Williams; ‘Lovers in the City’, Mezan Morrison and ‘Safe Harbour’, Kaiel Eytle.
  • While at the festival, the film-makers will be marketing their films for distribution and widening their networks on the international film circuit, with the aim of expanding the reach of Jamaican content globally.

Four local films will premiere at the upcoming Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (TTFF), slated for September 18 to 25 in Port-of-Spain.

The projects are ‘Agwe’ by Ina Sortiva; ‘Flight’, Kia Williams; ‘Lovers in the City’, Mezan Morrison and ‘Safe Harbour’, Kaiel Eytle.

While at the festival, the film-makers will be marketing their films for distribution and widening their networks on the international film circuit, with the aim of expanding the reach of Jamaican content globally.

The opportunity came from the Propella Initiative, a thrust by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) and Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA), to support the talent of Jamaican film-makers and garner international exposure for the culture through film.

Speaking with JIS News, Film Commissioner at JAMPRO, Renée Robinson, explained that Propella is a script-to-screen programme that nurtures Jamaican content creators and enables them to tell their stories cinematically by providing funding and technical support.

Ms. Robinson noted that the four new Jamaican short films were selected through a blind process and were produced over the summer period with financial support of $500,000 each, from the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.

“We did not know who we were selecting…It was based on the merit of the project, and after that process was completed, we had a series of interviews to ensure that the finalists were at the production stage where they could deliver the project, and that is how we came up with the top four,” the Film Commissioner said.

The film-makers underwent capacity-building boot camps on script development, directing, producing, pitching, festival strategy and distribution.

The Film Commissioner 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 TV episodics; and key on-screen talent have been discovered internationally through this platform,” she highlighted.

She added that the festival is an excellent platform for regional film-makers to meet each other to create collaboration opportunities and also a starting point for many of these projects to identify partners, executive producers or future distributors.

Ms. Robinson noted that JAMPRO will also lead a delegation to the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

In January, she noted that a delegation, including Jamaican actress, Shantol Jackson and other participants in the Idris Elba film, Yardie, attended the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA.

In June, local director, Storm Saulter and his team attended the American Black Film Festival and won three of the top awards.

The Jamaica Film Commission, housed at JAMPRO, is mandated to promote the Jamaican film industry through facilitation of activities that increase investment, export and employment in the sector.

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