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.

8 New Scholarships for Caribbean Film and Television Producers

BRIDGETOWN – CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution (CTWD), the region’s premier distribution platform for Caribbean film and television content, has received a 3-year funding commitment to provide eight partial scholarships a year to regional audiovisual content producers to attend its renowned CaribbeanTales Incubator Program (CTI).

The funding is provided by the REACH Project — an initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Compete Caribbean (CC), and the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) — that aims to develop sustainable income streams through the monetisation of intellectual property.

“CTWD’s impressive work in the Caribbean region is perfectly aligned with the REACH’s goals in improving the monetization capabilities of producers of creative content. The Caribbean region is bursting with creative talent which with guided mentorship and assistance can turn creative intellectual assets into strategic tools for generating and maximizing new revenue streams. We look forward to a fruitful partnership.” said Ignacio L. De Leon, Innovation Lead Specialist, IDB.

Now in its 6th year, CTI is a year-round program that supports the development, production, and monetisation of strong, original, world-class content from the Caribbean and its Diaspora. The Program, that kicks off every year during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), is a training and production platform that brings together audiovisual content producers to hone their craft and business skills in the context of an international market environment.

Producers and Mentors at CTI 2014: From L-R: Chartrisse Dolabaille (S. Lucia/Canada), Dr Rita Deverell (CTI Producer and Mentor), Melissa Gomez (Antigua/U.S.A), Camille Selvon Abrahams (Trinidad & Tobago), Faisal Lutchmedial  (Trinidad/Canada), Rodney Smith (Barbados), Peyi Guzman (Dominican Republic) Rene Holder (T&T), Jelani Nias (Jamaica/Canada).
Producers and Mentors at CTI 2014: From L-R: Chartrisse Dolabaille (S. Lucia/Canada), Dr Rita Deverell (CTI Producer and Mentor), Melissa Gomez (Antigua/U.S.A), Camille Selvon Abrahams (Trinidad & Tobago), Faisal Lutchmedial (Trinidad/Canada), Rodney Smith (Barbados), Peyi Guzman (Dominican Republic) Rene Holder (T&T), Jelani Nias (Jamaica/Canada).

The competitive incubator program, which has already hosted over 60 filmmakers from around the region and diaspora, has three distinct parts: it begins with one month of online market preparation followed by a week of intensive workshops and networking opportunities in Toronto during TIFF. This culminates in the CTI Big Pitch, where participants pitch their developed projects to industry professionals over a delicious Caribbean breakfast at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Finally, three winners graduate to the CTI Production Support phase, where they work with experienced international producers over the course of a year to take their successful projects from pitch to production.

Dr Keith Nurse
Dr Keith Nurse

“This groundbreaking partnership is a perfect fit with the goals of CTWD and in particular, the CTI program: to monetize the intellectual property of audiovisual content producers, so as to encourage the growth of creative entrepreneurship throughout the Caribbean region and Diaspora,“ said Dr Keith Nurse, Chair of CTWD and the region’s leading cultural industries specialist.

The new funding builds on the important work of CTWD’s 3D Distribution Project, a 3-year initiative financed in part by the ACP Cultures+ Programme of the European Union. 3D aims to build capacity for the regional film and television industry through the creation of sustainable income streams and distribution networks.

“These trailblazing partnerships come at a time when the Caribbean region needs them most, offering a viable answer to the region’s core struggle – the need to diversify its economies and find alternatives to more traditional industries like agriculture, banking, and tourism,“ Dr. Nurse concluded.

For more information about the CaribbeanTales Incubator Program, the REACH/CaribbeanTales Scholarships, and to apply to the CTI please visit http://Caribbeantales.ca/CTI.

Antiguan Film, The Skin makes its UK debut

The Skin-LondonLONDON, UK – The Skin by HAMAFilms will make history this week becoming the first feature film from Antigua & Barbuda to be screened in the United Kingdom, when it premieres on Thursday, December 18, 2014.

Filmed on location in Antigua & Barbuda, The Skin, which stars UK actor Jeff Stewart and the legendary Jamaican actor Carl Bradshaw will premiere at GATE Picture House in Notting Hill, London at 6pm.

Ron Belgrave, Head of Sankofa Televisual, which has the rights to distribute the movie in the UK, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Australasia and Africa said he was “thrilled to have The Skin as part of this newest Caribbean film series in London.

“The story is wonderfully, made and a joy to watch but also brings out an alternative side of the Caribbean, steeped in cultural references, that we rarely explore. And with notable actors like Jeff Stewart and the legendary Carl Bradshaw it will be a treat for UK audiences,” said Belgrave.

The Skin tells the story of a young couple played by Aisha Ralph and Brent Simon, who are about to lose their home when Michael (Simon) discovers an ancient vase and sells it to an antique dealer. There is little time to celebrate when strange things begin to happen and a Jamaican mystic (Bradshaw) tells them the ancient relic is not a blessing but a curse.

“The UK market is one we were always keen on, especially reaching Caribbean audiences,” says Writer/Director Howard Allen. “We took more risks with this fourth project but they have paid off. Bringing in Professor Torianno Berry as the Director of Photography allowed me to focus on directing and telling the story the way I wanted to. We were also able to make good on a longtime dream to work with Carl Bradshaw. Having Jeff Stewart and Peter Williams on our cast helped HAMA to tell An Antiguan story with international flare.”

“The film has been shown in LA, Washington, Toronto, Atlanta, New York, Belize, in Trinidad and other Caribbean islands. However, this is our first screening in the United Kingdom and we couldn’t be more pleased,” declared Mitzi Allen, Executive Producer of the film.

Actor Jeff Stewart will be at the London premiere for the Q&A which follows the screening. Carl Bradshaw and Stewart were guests on Sunday evening on BBC London with radio host Dotun Adebayo to discuss their roles in the film.

“Following on from the Caribbean visibility seminar held exactly a year ago it is great that we have been able to get more interesting stories, from dramas to comedy and from the young to the mature on screen for the world to see. London is also becoming more of a focal point for the global film industry and it is important for all to be able to appreciate not only the quality but also the potential of filmmaking coming out of the Caribbean and the British-Caribbean community,” noted Belgrave.

Learn more about making of The Skin and other projects by HAMAFilms by visiting their website at www.hamafilms.com.

CaribbeanTales Film Festival 2014 shines spotlight on regional talent

CaribbeanTales International Film Festival 2014 official poster
CaribbeanTales International Film Festival 2014 official poster

Toronto, ON – The successful and highly respected CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF) celebrates its 9th annual edition in 2014.
This unique event which takes place in the metropolitan city of Toronto from September 3rd to 13th will highlight the many facets of Caribbean culture via film as well as provide a platform for the regional film industry’s future development.

Under the theme, “Our Lens, Our Perspective” the CTFF aims to build capacity for a film industry in the region and continues to increase markets and audiences for Caribbean stories and films.

The solid team of film industry professionals behind the CTFF's success. (Photo credit: John Dash)
The solid team of film industry professionals behind the CTFF’s success. (Photo credit: John Dash)

This year the festival will offer such films as “The Glamour Boyz Again! Sparrow and Superior on the Hilton rooftop”, “Poetry is an Island – Derek Walcott”, “Kingston Paradise” and “Forever Ever: The Killing of A Revolution”. In addition to featuring films and filmmakers from the Caribbean Diaspora (including several world premieres), this 10-day extravaganza also boasts an Incubator program for burgeoning filmmakers, meet and greet sessions with film producers and actors, and strategic networking events.

The 2014 edition will be executed alongside the famed Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) which gives the CTFF’s entries the opportunity to be showcased to large international audiences of film-goers and industry personnel which are not only open but eager to viewing independent and foreign productions.

The CTFF is supported by a solid team of filmmakers and other individuals who have been connected to the international film industry. The initiative is spearheaded by Executive Director Frances-Anne Solomon who created the festival with the goals of branding Caribbean Cinema and creating innovative avenues to showcase it to the World.

According to Festival Director Malinda Francis, “We at the festival strive to screen and explore that is authentically a Caribbean voice and Caribbean point of view. We endeavor to continually gather and showcase stories from all over the region and its Diaspora and give patrons an experience that is genuinely Caribbean.

CTFF Executive Director, Frances-Anne Solomon created the festival with the aspiration of taking Caribbean Cinema to the World. (Photo credit: John Dash)
CTFF Executive Director, Frances-Anne Solomon created the festival with the aspiration of taking Caribbean Cinema to the World. (Photo credit: John Dash)

The CTFF is already causing high anticipation in Toronto and much like previous years, is expected to attract audiences (Caribbean and Non-Caribbean alike) from various parts of the North-American Diaspora. En route to the official Sept. 3rd commencement the organizers are already enticing festival fans with free community screenings around the Toronto area.

Sponsors and partners for this year’s event include: The Toronto Consulate General for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Telefilm Canada, Trillium, University Of Toronto, TIFF Lightbox, Hot Docs, West-Side Arts Hub, Antigua, Grenada, and St.Lucia Tourist Boards.
The 2014 CaribbeanTales International Film Festival runs from September 3rd to 13th at the state of the art Royal Cinema, 608 College Street in downtown Toronto.

For additional information and schedules, please visit caribbeantales-events.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/CaribbeanTalesWorldwide, Twitter: twitter.com/CaribbeanTales_

Montserrat’s Natural Assets Can Help Build Film Industry, says Oscar-nominated Filmmaker

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Behn Zeitlin hikes a trail on Montserrat.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Behn Zeitlin hikes a trail on Montserrat.

BRADES, Montserrat – Award-winning filmmaker Behn Zeitlin says Montserrat can capitalize on its natural assets to build a film industry.
Zeiltin, the Oscar-nominated director of Beast of the Southern Wild has been visiting the island since September 2013 in preparation for his next feature film expected to begin production in 2015.
“A film commission will make it a lot more efficient for production companies to work on Montserrat,” Zeitlin noted. “While Court 13’s style of film production is more flexible, it can make it easier for others to be able to understand where to go and what is necessary to make a film here.”
Montserrat has seen an increase in the number of film crews and news agencies coming on island to produce documentaries, features and even reality shows. However, the island does not have an established process: to deal with inquiries in a transparent and consistent manner; to negotiate with producers in order to manage the island’s reputation; and to use film production as a way to promote Montserrat.

Nerissa Golden is a media strategist and business coach based on Montserrat.
Nerissa Golden is a media strategist and business coach based on Montserrat.

Media Strategist Nerissa Golden, whose company has been facilitating the production process for television and film producers on Montserrat says “While the relevant agencies are open to working with film producers, it can take time to figure out how the local system works and having an established structure will make it easier for filmmakers to decide where to shoot, what equipment and staff they will need to bring in order to have a successful production.”
Zeitlin, who has been spending time on Montserrat researching and writing his next film project says it has been refreshing and educational. “It has been really interesting going on the hikes with the local guides, getting to know the people. I am very fascinated with the learning about traditional ways of farming and cooking, healing remedies and the wildlife. Everyone has been very open to teaching me what they know and I am looking forward to incorporating their stories and the people in my next project.”
He admitted to being enamored by the stark contrasts of Montserrat’s landscapes declaring that the island’s “natural diversity makes it a great place to shoot. You are steps away from a rainforest and a volcano with Plymouth giving you another dramatic experience of devastation and desert.”
Golden also wants to see the island join with other regional film commissions to exploit the potential for growing the Caribbean film industry. “In 2013, nine of the region’s 14 film commissions formed a partnership to work together to attract more international film productions to the Caribbean, as well as to promote the development of an indigenous film culture. Montserrat’s abandoned capital Plymouth offers a unique location which you can’t find anywhere else in the region and it can be added to the portfolio of film sets for the region.”
“We have the potential to capitalize on what is naturally available here to promote and build our economy and this is the time to work towards that,” she added.
More information on filming on Montserrat can be found at www.goldenmedia.co. To find out more about Court 13’s next project with Behn Zeitlin contact Producer Nathan Harrison as nathan@court13.com.

2014 Call for Submissions for CaribbeanTales Film Fest

CTWD Logo2Celebrate an explosion of films from the Caribbean Diaspora, with interactive workshops, screenings and networking sessions.

The official call for submissions for the 2014 CaribbeanTales International Film Festival is now open, with a deadline of May 1, 2014.

This year’s festival launches in July and runs until mid-September, with screenings throughout the city of Toronto, at venues including the Canadian National Exhibition, the Scotiabank Carnival, and The Royal Cinema.

Calling All Submissions – Bring Your Film To The CaribbeanTales International Film Festival!

GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSIONS
DEADLINE: May 1st , 2014 (NO ENTRY FEE). SUBMISSION RULES:

• All lengths and genres accepted.

• CT seeks works made by filmmakers from Caribbean backgrounds and/or that celebrate and explore Caribbean culture, life, society and themes.

• Submission should be sent via email to: Programming Director, CaribbeanTales International Film Festival, caribbeantales@gmail.com seeks and should include the following: Please also address any questions or concerns here.

• Email should inlcude link to online preview of the film, for example through password protected vimeo link.

• Email and previews should include the following information: director’s name, film title, length, country, contact info, genre and year of completion, as well as 150-word synopsis.Caribbean themes, and themes of interest and relevance to people from the Caribbean Diaspora.

• Incomplete submissions will not be accepted.

• Films in foreign languages must be subtitled in English.

• Participant must pay print shipping costs to Toronto. The festival will pay the cost of shipping exhibition prints back to the participant.

• Please do not send preview or screening copies by courier, as these may incur customs and duties charges. CT will not cover these charges, and will refuse the package.

• All preview tapes will be added to CT’s archives for consideration to our year-round international programming, unless filmmaker indicates in writing that they do not wish it so.