Caribbean Cinema

Caribbean cinema is heating up. Meet the moviemakers and the scene stealers. Find out which breakout hits are coming to a screen near you.

Alain Bidard creates first SCI-FI animated film from the Caribbean with Battledream Chronicle

Alain Bidard's BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLE won first place of the Jury Prize as well as the Audience Award at the 2016 CaribbeanTales Incubator Big Pitch Contest at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Alain Bidard’s BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLE won first place of the Jury Prize as well as the Audience Award at the 2016 CaribbeanTales Incubator Big Pitch Contest at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Groundbreaking filmmaker, Alain Bidard, changes the game as he creates the first SCI-FI animated film from the Caribbean with BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLE. The film has played at several film festivals and has won over 10 awards including the Spirit Award at the 11th CaribbeanTales International Film Festival.

Alain Bidard was driven by the exclusion of people of colour in animation and decided to create a world of his own, set in a futurist age. BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLE tells the story of Syanna, a young slave who is trying to regain her freedom in a futuristic world where plantations are video games.

Bidard is now pitching his breathtaking film into a TV series for pilot funding that will come to your TV screens. The series will also be created in English.  Want to see this pilot win funding?

Click to Watch the Trailer

battledreamchronicle

10 Teams of Caribbean Filmmakers for the 2015 CaribbeanTales Incubator

Ten teams of Caribbean filmmakers from nine different countries have been selected to attend the 2015 CaribbeanTales Incubator Program (CTI), taking place in Toronto, Canada, from September 8th to 13th.
The CTI, now in its sixth year, is a marketing and financing platform that offers selected Caribbean and Diaspora filmmakers an opportunity to hone their creative and business skills in the context of an international marketplace environment. The intensive six-week programme includes an intensive five-day workshop in Toronto, and culminates in a Caribbean Pitch Breakfast at the TIFF Bell Lightbox attended by high-profile industry delegates, The overall goal of the CTI is to increase the pool of strong, monetisable, world-class, indigenous film and television content from the Caribbean and its Diaspora, in order to build the region’s audio visual capacity.
The projects were selected from over 80 submissions from around the region by a panel of international industry specialists.  Executive Producers are Nicole Brooks (Producer, Director), Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell (Producer, co-founder of Vision TV), Rodney V. Smith (Director, Producer, Author), Christopher Laird (Filmmaker, Producer, Co-Founder of Banyan Ltd and Gayelle: The Channel) and Floyd Kane (Writer, Producer).

This year the CTI is supported by funding from the Inter American Development Bank through its Regional Entrepreneurial Asset Commercialization Hub (REACH); Telefilm Canada; the French Consulate in Toronto, and the St. Lucia Tourism Board. The project is also a component of CaribbeanTales’ 3D prjoject, supported by a financial contribution from the European Union and the assistance of the ACP Group of States.

Projects supported by REACH:

 – PLAIN SIGHT (crime drama, 6 x 1 hr., Trinidad and Tobago) From leading producer/director/writer Danielle Dieffenthaller, best known for the successful long-running series “Westwood Park”;

TAXIMAN (sitcom, 12 x 30 mins, Jamaica) From producer/director team Donna and Paul Noble of Mongoose Productions, represented by Carmen Franczyk, whose previous work includes international documentaries and commercials;

GIPPIE’S KINGDOM (soap opera, 12 x 22mins, Bahamas) From Bahamian producer/cinematographer Travon Patton, and TV personality/producer Tracey-Ann Perpall. “Gippie’s Kingdom” has already enjoyed two successful seasons on local television, and is in development for a third season;

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF MYAT  (children’s animation series, 10 x 22 mins, Trinidad and Tobago) Created by animator and arts educator Omar Lewis whose children’s interactive adventure colouring book series of the same name has sold internationally;

 

 

ABIOLA (dramedy, web series, 6 x 15 min, Barbados) From Bajan wunderkind director/producer Rommel Hall, and producers Keren Hall and Shane Holford, creators of the popular Bajan series, “Keeping up with the Joneses”;

BOUKIE (drama, 6 x 1 hr, Haiti) From emerging writer/producer Natalie Holly in collaboration with Laurence Magloire, award-winning producer and founder of Haitian-based production company fastforward ;

LIFE WITH THE RAMSINGH’S (soap opera, 24 x 30min, Trinidad and Tobago). From director/producer team Rampaul Banseelal and Sean Mohan, whose production company, Total Chaos Productions, is now working on the second season;

 

Projects supported by Telefilm Canada:

 

BLACK MARIAH (action drama, 6 x 45min, Canada) Maureen Hill has teamed up with Michael Mosca, president and CEO of Montreal-based distribution and production company Equinoxe Films whose films include “Mambo Italiano” (2003) and “A Fish Story” (2013); and,

POETRY SAVED ME (documentary, web series, 10 x 20min, Canada/St.Lucia)  From talented newcomer spoken-word artist Chevy Eugene  (Canada/ St Lucia).

This project is also supported by the St. Lucia Tourism Board in Toronto.

 

Supported by the French Consulate in Toronto:

 

FRENCH GIRL IN NEW YORK! (dramedy, web series, 24 x 10 min, Guadeloupe) From award winning filmmaker Mariette Monpierre, whose feature film “ELZA” screened at numerous Film Festivals around the world, was a NYTimes Critics Pick, and won the Paul Robeson Award,, and the BAFTA Festival Choice and Festival Programmers’ Awards, PAFF/L.A. among others (Guadeloupe)

 For more information about the 2015 participants and their projects please visit:  http://www.caribbeantales.ca/CTI/2015-incubator/

The Sweetest Mango Gets Sweet Treatment in the UK

LONDON, UK – The UK’s love affair with the films by Antigua & Barbuda’s number one filmmaking duo continues.
On Saturday, July 25, 2015, The Sweetest Mango, which was the first feature directed and produced by Howard and Mitzi Allen of HAMAFilms was screened at the London #CaribbeanSummerSeason of Films.
Released in 2001, the romantic comedy is based on how the filmmakers met and fell in love. Following the screening at London’s Bernie Grant Arts Centre, the audience got a further treat with a Q&A discussion with Howard and Mitzi, along with UK actress Julie Hewlett (Eastenders, The Bill) live by video link from Antigua.

Photo of Mitzi and Howard Allen on screen during the Q&A which followed the screening of The Sweetest Mango. Photo by Hakeem Kazeem
Photo of Mitzi and Howard Allen on screen during the Q&A which followed the screening of The Sweetest Mango. Photo by Hakeem Kazeem

The film, which is now archived in the TIFF Bell Lightbox Film Reference Library, tells the story of Lovelyanne ‘Luv” Davies, who returns from Canada to Antigua and her struggles to adjust to life on a small island. It follows her professional turmoil and personal drama, including being caught in an unexpected love triangle.
In a discussion that was both entertaining and informative, Mitzi, Howard and Julie spoke about the professional and financial challenges of filmmaking in Antigua. They have addressed it by not building in Hollywood-style costs but by minimizing overheads and ensuring that monetary returns can be met through local businesses and audiences.
They also spoke about how awareness is growing in that film and television are important exporters of culture. Discussions also touched on the varying outcomes and experiences that people have when they travel “back home” for love; the expectations on women to “marry up”; how some traditions hold back women’s independence; and how the diaspora is treated when they return and the struggle to find the balance between being modern efficient societies and retaining a sense of “Caribbeanness”.
Ron Belgrave of Sankofa TV shared with Mitzi following the Q&A “It was clear, from the way the audience engaged, that what you (and Howard) achieved with “Mango” was not only significant in terms of setting a platform for a new quality of filmmaking in Antigua but has helped in a broader social debate in helping the Caribbean to pursue its rightful place in the 21st Century.

“In addition – and this is again clear and naturally/effortlessly derived from your relationship with Howard – one aspect that people really like is the supportive and positive ambience between man and woman in your films. In a way, some might say that is to be expected in a romantic film like Sweetest Mango but where it often has more impact is where it is not necessarily expected (such as in a supernatural thriller like The Skin). The audience at the BFMIFF screening of The Skin on 5 July commented particularly on how they appreciated the way the couple interacted with each other in that film.”

Howard and Mitzi’s next project is a drama called “Deep Blue” about a marine biologist that helps a fishing village threatened by environmental/climate change (as a topical issue affecting Antigua & Barbuda). The film is expected to be released in summer 2016.
Julie also stars in “Deep Blue” and frequently travels back to the UK where she is available for British-based acting projects.
The #CaribbeanSummerSeason for 2015 continues every Saturday evening (7pm) until Carnival weekend at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre. Details at www.sankofa-tv.co.uk

Antiguan feature The Skin at BFM International Film Festival in the UK this Weekend

The Skin Poster -2LONDON, UK – Supernatural Caribbean thriller The Skin will be screened this weekend at the UK’s longest running black independent film festival.

BFM International Film Festival, now in its 12th year, is the first and largest film festival of its kind to highlight black films and directors from the UK and those from a global perspective. Festival Founder and filmmaker Menelik Shabazz said they are proud to be able to offer a platform to showcase important films from a variety of countries, directors and film talent. Adding, that the workshops and screenings provide opportunities for homegrown British talent to network and form global connections.

The Skin, which was released in 2011 by Howard and Mitzi Allen of HAMAFilms Antigua had its UK debut in December 2014. The directors were one of a select few who were invited to screen at the festival, which runs from Thursday, July 2 to Sunday July 5th, 2015.

Director Howard Allen said “we believe having Carl Bradshaw in the film has given it international traction as he has a strong following in the UK.”

The iconic Jamaican actor Bradshaw stars in the supernatural thriller, which is a modern story filled with Caribbean folklore about Michael and Lisa (Brent Simon & Aisha Ralph) who are a young married couple on the verge of losing their home. Their luck changes when Michael, while on a photo?shoot at the historic Betty’s Hope Estate discovers an ancient vase and sells it to an antique dealer played by UK actor Jeff Stewart. The couple get little time to celebrate their good fortune before strange things begin to happen. They are introduced to a Jamaican mystic (Bradshaw) who informs them that the ancient relic was not really a blessing but a curse.

Meanwhile, The Skin and HAMA’s first feature The Sweetest Mango will be a part of the Film Caribbean UK Summer Season. Executive Producer Mitzi Allen believes acquiring a UK distributor has been key to prolonging the exposure for their work and has been instrumental in garnering more international attention.

Screening times for The Skin are: Saturday 4th July at 11AM and Sunday July 5th at 7PM at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Haringey, London.

The other Caribbean film to be screened at BFM is Mary Wells’ Kingston Paradise. Find out more about the BFM International Film Festival at http://www.bfmmedia.com/

CaribbeanTales Talks the Healing Power of Film at Caribbean Studies Conf.

Dr Keith Nurse
Dr Keith Nurse

NEW ORLEANS – CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution (CTWD) presented an important panel discussion on the unique role of film and new digital technologies in healing the historical hurts created by our colonial past, that have fueled divisions between Africa and the Creole cultures of the Caribbean and the Americas. The presentation took place during the 40th Annual Conference of the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Presenting on the panel were CTWD Chair, Dr. Keith Nurse; renowned filmmaker and Co-founder of Banyan Ltd., Christopher Laird; and filmmaker and ‘art-ivist’, Nicole Brooks. CTWD’s attendance at CSA was made possible by CTWD’s ‘3D Distribution Project’, financed by the ACP Cultures+ Program.

Caribbean Studies is growing in popularity among scholars and universities worldwide. This educational field is a core market for CTWD’s catalog of over 300 titles, many of which are used effectively as curriculum tools on a range of subjects, including history, cultural studies, immigration, sociology, economics, politics, and gender studies.

During the CSA Conference, CTWD also announced its landmark partnership with the Banyan Archives. This unparalleled Collection spans 4 decades and includes more than 3,000 high-quality documentary video recordings of Caribbean rituals, cultural festivals, and hundreds of interviews with celebrated Caribbean artists and icons.

CTWD-CaribbeanStudiesConfChristopher Laird said : “After two presentations at the CSA and the enthusiastic response from those who attended and who heard about the existence of this remarkable entrance into the resources available for Caribbean enquiry and research – which one person described as ‘epic’ – I think the use of video/film as a research tool in a context heavily invested in text is at last getting some traction. The excitement generated was palpable”

“Film records and documents our cultures, both past and living, and has the power to unite territories divided by distance, language and bodies of water. The synergies and similarities throughout the Diaspora are undeniable, haunting, resonant, and healing. Films on Caribbean subjects provide tools for education that did not exist before. They are invaluable for education, documentation and forward development, ” said Frances-Anne Solomon, Founder of CTWD.