Antigua & Barbuda

Carl Bradshaw to lead star-studded HAMA Premiere of ‘The Skin’

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Movie fans will have an opportunity to meet the stars of the highly anticipated HAMA movie ‘The Skin’, which premiere’s on Thursday, June 02 at the Deluxe Cinema in St. John’s. The stellar cast will be led by Carl Bradshaw, the veteran Jamaican actor, who is starring in his first Antiguan produced film.

Bradshaw is one of the original cast members of the iconic ‘The Harder They Come’ and one of Jamaica’s most prolific actors appearing in such regional and international hits as ‘The Mighty Quinn’ opposite Denzel Washington and the highly acclaimed ‘Dancehall Queen’. However, his role in the ‘The Skin’ will be a departure from his more familiar roles as it is the first time that he is playing a Mystic and Howard Allen, writer and director of ‘The Skin’, states that: “Carl Bradshaw delivers a stunning performance that is compelling and very real.”

Bradshaw will be joined by fellow cast members Aisha Ralph and Brent Simon at the premiere as well as the film’s writer and director, Howard Allen, executive producer, Mitzi Allen and the rest of the cast, crew, strategic partners, government officials, local celebrities, family and friends. Special media guests include Shelley James, an award-winning Canadian producer and journalist who will be covering the event for The Toronto Star’s “Sway” Magazine which reaches an audience of 1.5 million in the Toronto area and Lisa Wickham’s E-Zone, the Caribbean’s number one entertainment programme.

“We are really excited about E-Zone being here and want to thank the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and the A&B Ministry of Tourism for partnering with us and hosting the presenters and crew not only for the premiere but also taking them to the film’s locations in Antigua and Barbuda,” explains Mitzi Allen. The E-Zone crew will be staying at Villas at Sunset Lane. Hawksbill Resort and Sugar Ridge Resort and Spa are among the hotels hosting guests for the premiere.

Allen also added that Bradshaw will be staying at the Jolly Beach Hotel and Spa and has opted to spend a week in Antigua: “He wants to go to the public showing and meet local film goers to get a real feel of the Antiguan movie going experience.”

Strategic partner Quin Farara, the island’s premier supplier of fine wines and spirits, will provide a premium bar at the cocktail starting at 6pm.

The evening’s Master of Ceremony will be David Stewart, a former radio and television news reporter and program director, who also had a three-decade career in higher education. He worked for radio and television stations in New York State and retired from Cornell University in 2000, after serving in various capacities. His relationship with HAMA began when he literally stumbled upon the Premiere of the couple’s second movie ‘No Seed’ and it led to several collaborations with his alma mater Ithaca College of which he is a Trustee.

Fans will have an opportunity to see ‘The Skin’ at an advanced showing starting at 9pm, straight after the premiere.

‘The Skin’ is a supernatural thriller about a young couple played by Aisha Ralph and Brent Simon who encounter strange occurrences after they find and sell an ancient artefact.

View the movie trailer, behind the scenes footage The Skin’s production diary at http://theskinahamafilm.wordpress.com.

HAMAfilms Antigua to release super natural thriller The Skin, June 2011

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – June promises to be a very special month for film lovers as HAMA (Howard and Mitzi Allen) will premiere their fourth and most ambitious movie ‘The Skin’, a super natural thriller written and directed by Howard Allen.

‘The Skin’ 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 (Jeff Stewart).

The couple gets little time to celebrate their good fortune before strange things begin to happen. They are introduced to a Jamaican mystic (Carl Bradshaw) who informs them that the ancient relic was not really a blessing but a curse.

Fans of HAMA’s work will not have to wait long as a trailer and behind the scenes footage will start airing on ABS and cable television from May 11th. This project has garnered support from the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Honourable Dr. Edmond Mansoor, says HAMA Productions represents a brand of media excellence that converges professionalism with high end creativity and captures the multiple attributes of the plural Caribbean Society.

“The Government, through the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Telecommunications, salutes Howard and Mitzi Allen for another first-class production. The Ministry is absolutely delighted to promote this absolutely creative movie”, Dr Mansoor added.

The film incorporates the sights and sounds of Antigua & Barbuda including music by Kaiso Joe, Charmain Bailey and Promise.

Howard and Mitzi are confident that this film will show how much they have grown as film makers: “I feel that the screenplay is truly a story written for the screen, it’s written from a very visual place. It’s also the first film where I had a full crew, a Director of Photography (DP), Professor Steven Torriano Berry of Howard University who also brought along his crew, film students, who concentrated on the technical side of film making.  This meant that I could focus on directing instead of doing everything else from being the DP to the sound engineer.”

Working with a crew also was another learning curve as Mitzi explains: “For almost 20 years, three movies and countless TV programmes and documentaries, we have pretty much done everything ourselves and have developed our own shorthand. However, working with a full crew meant that we had to include others in the decision-making and planning. For me as a producer, it also meant that now I had to manage a team of people whilst at the same time ensure that the film was finished on time and within the budget.”

‘The Skin’ features an ensemble cast of first timers and veterans and the buzz from a preview screening in Barbados at Caribbean Tales Film Festival is that the cast and film is sensational:

“They’ve got everything, a love story, action thriller and special effects. What they have is something that will make people flock to the cinema,” says Neema Barnette, Emmy award winning producer/director and a professor at the renowned UCLA school of Film and Television.

“The Skin is a film that has found its audience. The directors first feature film The Sweetest Mango was a hit this just might be an even bigger hit,” says Kethiwe Ngcobo, Producer, Infuzion Media.

Breakthrough performances of Antiguan actors lauded at CaribbeanTales Film Festival

Aisha Ralph (centre) plays the wife of fellow Antiguan actor Brent Simon (right) in the new feature from Howard and Mitzi Allen of HAMAfilms Antigua, The Skin.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The performances of newcomers Aisha Ralph and Brent Simon of Antigua were praised during the Barbados preview of The SKIN, this past weekend.

Ralph and Simon play a young couple who discover an ancient artifact, which changes their lives and unleashes a soucayant in The SKIN, a film written and directed by Howard Allen.

This is the fourth feature project by Howard and his wife, Mitzi Allen of HAMAfilms Antigua. The couple made the bold step to preview the film at the Barbados film festival rather than wait for the scheduled June premiere at home.

“I really liked the feedback from the industry folks. It was honest and constructive. A pre-screening outside of Antigua was the best thing we ever did,” said Mitzi who is the Executive Producer for the film.

The SKIN was the closing feature at the CaribbeanTales Film Festival & Symposium which brought together audiences, industry veterans and newcomers in an informal and highly creative environment to meet, greet, and exchange ideas. The movie received high acclaim from the international filmmakers present.

During the panel review following the screening, Kethiwe Ngcobo, CEO and Producer at Infuzion Media South Africa said “You guys have nailed it! The SKIN is a film that has found its audience. Your first feature film The Sweetest Mango was a hit this just might be an even bigger hit.”

Neema Barnette, an Emmy award winning producer/director and professor at the renowned UCLA School of Film and Television said “They’ve got everything; a love story, action thriller and special effects. What they have is something that will make people flock to the cinema.”

The movie also stars Jamaican film icon Carl Bradshaw, who plays Vision, Jeff Stewart of The Bill and Peter Williams of Stargate SG1 and A Winter Tale.

“The story really worked and it resonated with the audience. They loved Bradshaw as we all do but couldn’t believe that Aisha and Brent weren’t professional actors,” Mitzi added.

Writer and Director of The SKIN, Howard Allen, Emmy Award Winning Director Neema Barnette and Executive Producer of The SKIN Mitzi Allen pose for the cameras following Barnette’s Directing Master Class at CaribbeanTales Film Festival in Barbados on Sunday.

Barnette, who directed 80s comedy series The Cosby Show, called Aisha a “strong actress” and expressed surprise that the young actors were newcomers to the industry.

Aisha, a former Miss Universe contender had a small role in No Seed, another HAMAfilms Antigua project. However, this is former model and musician Brent Simon’s first time on the big screen.

Brent said via Facebook that he was thankful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of The SKIN and also appreciated the guidance given by Peter Williams, who plays a police officer in the 90-minute feature.

There is one other preview scheduled for the movie before it goes into cinemas across the region this summer. Howard and Mitzi Allen will be screening The SKIN at the Reggae Film Festival in Jamaica in May.

Learn more about The SKIN at http://theskinahamafilm.wordpress.com or fan them on Facebook at HAMAfilms Antigua.

SDA launches South Leeward Mission

 

Dr Eugene Daniel, Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Dame Louis Lake-Tack and Prime Minster Hon. Baldwin Spencer view the new sign at the headquarters. (Photo by Johnny Jno Baptiste)

ST. JOHNS, Antigua – The Seventh-day Adventist congregations in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts-Nevis, and Montserrat made history on Sunday 6th March with the launch of the South Leeward Mission (SLM) of Seventh-day Adventist.

Over 400 members and dignitaries including Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Hon Baldwin Spencer along with representatives from the Guyana, Grenada and the South Caribbean conferences, the St Vincent region, Tobago and St Lucia Missions and the Caribbean Union Conference gathered at the St John’s Seventh-day Adventist Church in Antigua to mark the historic event under the theme “Celebrating Our Heritage, Fulfilling The Mission.”

To solidify their union in the new Mission, the National Anthems of the three island states were song followed by the handing over of the three national flags and instrument to the new President of SLM, Pastor Desmond James by Pastor Silton Browne, president of the North Caribbean Conference (NCC).

Pastor Browne noted that based on changes in the church’s organizational structure, five of the 16 islands which made up the NCC are now being placed into the care of the SLM with headquarters here in Antigua.

 

President of the Inter American Division, Dr Israel Leito. (Photo by Johnny Jno Baptiste)

Browne challenged the new president, “by the grace of God, to give caring, supportive servant leadership that is progressive and relevant.” He continued, “I challenge you to nature the flock, always keeping in mind our true purpose and mission so that ultimately Sir, when Jesus comes, you along with us will be able to give sound account of your stewardship to the honour and glory of God.”

In accepting the challenge, Pastor James who hails from St Kitts, pledged to “uphold the ideals of the new mission” which were entrusted to him. He stated   that “This sacred trust we will pursue diligently and practically so that when we should be called to give account of those entrusted to us we might be found faithful.”

Before giving the blessing of the world church, President of the Inter American Division, Dr Israel Leito, noted that there were several factors which had to be considered before granting the five islands mission status.

“We had to see if the church can live without the tutorship of the NCC; we looked at the maturity of the membership and I can pleasantly offer that the Lord has a strong vineyard in this area,” Dr Leito declared.

He noted that the Division had to be assured that the islands would be able to finance the institutions (schools, elderly home, radio station, book stores etc) in the area so that the work would continue to progress.

In declaring SLM the 118th local field in the Inter American Division, Dr Leito said the mission would now report to the Caribbean Union instead of the NCC. He challenged the new mission not to remain at this level but “plan to become the SLC (South Leeward Conference).”

Dr Leito, who also delivered the keynote address focused on Eph. 4:1-7. He encouraged the membership to “live a life worthy of the calling we have received.”

“Don’t be distracted … be a testimony to others in the community. Let your life be under the control of the Holy Spirit; reach out not only to members of the faith but be the best neighbour to all around.”

Following the service, the inaugural session of the SLM was held. Persons chosen to spearhead the new mission are President James and Executive Secretary/Treasurer Pastor Carson Greene (both previously chosen by the Caribbean Union) along with directors Pastor Wayne Knowles, Pastor Kendol Doyle, Dr Eulalie Semper and Sis Sonia Smith.

Earlier that afternoon, the new Mission dedicated their headquarters building located on American Road. In his keynote address, Dr Eugene Daniel, president of the Caribbean Conference urged the membership to make their headquarters more than a mere building, but an embassy of God to all the people in this region.

Present at the dedication ceremony were Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, Dame Louis Lake-Tack; Prime Minster Hon. Baldwin Spencer; Minister of Finance Harold Lovell, Minister of Agriculture Hilson Baptist, Senator Winston Williams and other government officials.

The SLM has a membership of 12,200 with six churches and two companies in St Kitts; five churches in Nevis; two churches and one company in Montserrat and 28 churches and three companies on Antigua and Barbuda.