Press Releases

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/

Leprechaun’s Revenge is back for Montserrat’s St. Patrick Festival

LEPRECHAUN VALLEY, Montserrat – Combining leprechauns, gold coins, traditional cuisine and world music can only mean that it is time for Leprechaun’s Revenge, an all-night fete happening during the St. Patrick’s Festival on Montserrat.

2014 Leprechaun's Revenge in Leprechaun Valley, Bunkum Bay, Montserrat.
2014 Leprechaun’s Revenge in Leprechaun Valley, Bunkum Bay, Montserrat.

Scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2015, the event is perfect for revelers who love to party under the stars says promoter Roydenn Silcott of Hypnotik Montserrat.
Leprechaun’s Revenge will be held at Leprechaun Valley, Bunkum Bay and features specialty cocktails with Irish-inspired names, cashless bars and food stations.
Silcott said the fete, which is a prelude to the upcoming 10th Anniversary of the Hypnotik family, is targeted at a wide audience. “We start at 8pm for those patrons who want a nice evening out but aren’t into all night partying. Then the hard core revelers can join us later on as we get musically charged by selections from DJs Tyrone, Moto and E-1, while enjoying food even after the sun comes up.”
Hypnotik Montserrat is a one stop media network which boasts the ability to cover events from conception to execution. According to Silcott, “Hypnotik personifies our passion for music, photography, graphic design and event planning.” The chemistry among his brother, Ian Gerald and childhood friends Kemuel Cabey, Michael Skerritt, and Theodore Philip, has resulted in a repertoire of unique, innovative and high energy events.

Be sure to get the limited Cheeky Revenge Apparel of T-shirts, tank tops and mugs. Call 664-493-5295 or 5304 to reserve T-Shirts and Vests.
St. Patrick’s Week Festival is held annually on Montserrat and is a tribute to both the island’s Irish and African heritage.

Victory Christian Academy hosts its first High School Graduation

Shervin Colastica is the first of his immediate family to graduate from high school and was determined to do so against all odds. An artist with special interests in photography, and interior design he attained a final G.P.A. of 3.43.
Shervin Colastica is the first of his immediate family to graduate from high school and was determined to do so against all odds. An artist with special interests in photography, and interior design he attained a final G.P.A. of 3.43.

WEYMOUTH HILLS, St. Maarten – This Friday morning two students will make history as the first high school graduating class from Victory Christian Academy. The alternative learning school which uses a personalized curriculum to support the various skill levels of students was founded by members of Victory Temple Church of God of Prophecy in Weymouth Hills, St. Peters.

Graduates from the 12th grade are Shervin Colastica and Nicholas Greenaway. Shervin is the first of his immediate family to graduate from high school and was determined to do so against all odds. An artist with special interests in photography, and interior design he attained a final G.P.A. of 3.43.

Nicholas is the son of the principal and had the longest tenure having enrolled since the inception of the school on January 9th 2006. He too loves art with specification in graphic design and a strong mathematician and earned a GPA of 3.94 at graduation.

Nicholas Greenaway is the son of the principal and had the longest tenure having enrolled since the inception of the school on January 9th 2006. He too loves art with specification in graphic design and a strong mathematician and earned a GPA of 3.94 at graduation.
Nicholas Greenaway is the son of the principal and had the longest tenure having enrolled since the inception of the school on January 9th 2006. He too loves art with specification in graphic design and a strong mathematician and earned a GPA of 3.94 at graduation.

The young men are now authors of their own photo-books (on sale at the school) which are collections of photos taken during their time at the school. Both are strong leaders and display character traits of kindness, and generosity – borne out by testimonials from their schoolmate, Sanasha Boodhoo.

“Shervin has helped me to grow as a person and I will miss him when he graduates. Nicholas has taught me what godliness looks like by the way he treats me with respect,” Boodhoo shared.

Both boys have intentions of going off to college; Shervin hopes to do so in Canada, and Nicholas is entertaining Boston or Atlanta.

Also graduating from sixth grade into the high school program is Claudia Morgan. Principal Dianne Greenaway calls Claudia the school’s poster child as she began the program disadvantaged in her reading and math skills and having a difficult time learning in the traditional classroom setting.

“The opportunity to learn at her own pace has seen an overwhelming improvement in her very attitude to her school work. She is an Honor student and the first recipient of the Chairman of the Board Award for achieving and maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA (held for two consecutive academic years,” Greenaway said.

“I am honored to see the day of the first Senior Graduation from this school. The school’s tenure is certainly strengthened as a result of this and we can only continue to hope for many more milestones to come. My pride in Claudia, Shervin, and Nicholas cannot be measured at this moment and my prayers are that they will become as successful as God would have them be. We’ve taught them diligently, we’ve shared many painful, and glorious moments, but they have succeeded against odds that said they wouldn’t. We continue to build the kingdom of God through them, one child at a time.”

The graduation ceremony takes place Friday, February 13 at 10am in the COGOP Fellowship Hall.

ENDS

Publicist: Nerissa Golden, Goldenmedia
www.goldenmedia.co
Email: nerissa@goldenmedia.co

Three OECS Tech Companies make Top 25 Startups to Watch in 2015

BRADES, Montserrat – Two Montserratian startups and one Dominican-based company have been included in SiliconCaribe.com’s Top Caribbean Startups to Watch in 2015.

Ingrid Riley of Jamaica is the founder of connectimass, a non-profit organisation which teaches tech entrepreneurship.
Ingrid Riley of Jamaica is the founder of connectimass and siliconcaribe.com

This is the first year that SiliconCaribe, a blog focused on Caribbean technology education is publishing the list. Curator and Tech Evangelist Ingrid Riley said “the list of startups was chosen through a process of submissions by on-the-ground Caribbean tech community leaders, innovation hub managers and startup experts. We also looked at the winners of key Caribbean wide competitions and of course there were a number of wild cards that we discovered.”

“The list represents what Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs are thinking and some of the problems they are seeking to solve. Additionally, based on current and developing trends in the growth of the Caribbean’s Startup Ecosystem, we expect to see, more Caribbean startups overall over the next 3-5years, with a number of global contenders among them. As a result, this list is a snapshot of where things are now and a glimpse of the region’s bright future,” added Riley.

Lindsay George, CEO of ComeSeeTV of Dominica at work streaming the World Creole Music Festival. ComeSeeTV is one of three companies from the OECS which made the Top Caribbean Startups to Watch in 2015.
Lindsay George, CEO of ComeSeeTV of Dominica at work streaming the World Creole Music Festival. ComeSeeTV is one of three companies from the OECS which made the Top Caribbean Startups to Watch in 2015.

On the list is ComeSeeTV from Dominica. ComeSeeTV is the Caribbean’s largest portal for streaming original content. Over 11 million people annually access content created by churches, carnivals, governments and entrepreneurs. Clients can create free content, On Demand or Live Stream Pay Per View events.

“We’re very pleased to have been included in this list,” said Lindsay George CEO of ComeSeeTV. “The demand for services continues to increase and we want to be the platform delivering the best service rivalling YouTube, LiveStream and others. The secret is really the people around the region who are creating the content that friends and family globally want to see.”

eVisa (MOVA), an electronic visa application system which provides approval on requests within 24 hours. It also allows the government to collect revenue directly via credit card payments and eliminates the current practices of using consulates in various parts of the world which can take weeks and also does not provide local income. This product is from Lavabits a software development firm based in Montserrat.

Talypso is a voting software which cuts the wait time for results at cultural competitions such as calypso, soca and pageants. It gives real time information on a leader board as the show progresses and results can be announced within 20 minutes of the competitions ending. The team have also developed a Government document system which allows various departments to work on the same project and share documents while maintaining security. Talypso is a product of a Software startup Rovika, run by Manish Valeccha and Dennison Daley.

The Caribbean Tech Startups span the sectors of Internet of Things, eLearning, Online Media, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Surveys, eAgriculture, eHealth, Social Shopping and more.

See the full list at www.siliconcaribe.com.