Barbados

Caribbean firm has designs on fashion

BARBADOS – An enterprising apparel manufacturing company has big plans for Barbadian and Caribbean fashion designers.

Declaring “you can’t have fashion without fabric,” Rozana Moseley, co-founder of LaRosa Couture, believes the local and regional fashion industry has been hindered by the absence of quality manufacturing facilities to support its creativity.

Moseley, who co-founded the company with her husband Ryan, said LaRosa Couture is positioning itself to mend the situation.

The fashion fraternity, she announced, has responded positively to the company’s mission to become the leading small batch apparel manufacturing company in Barbados as the new business starts to gain momentum with the support of the Barbados Entrepreneurs’ Venture Capital Fund, known as BIM Ventures.

LaRosa Couture Team

LaRosa Couture staff at work on the manufacturing floor.

Photograph available here: http://tinyurl.com/teamlrc

 

“We are starting to bear fruit and have expanded our efforts to include providing manufacturing support for the work of fashion designers in neighbouring Trinidad, Martinique and Guadeloupe,” Moseley disclosed, noting that LaRosa Couture is answering the call for a regional manufacturing facility for high-end clothing.

 

The financial and mentorship support provided by BIM Ventures to LaRosa Couture has been indispensable to the execution of the vision, Moseley opined, “broadening the scope of our company.”

 

Gregory Hinkson, BIM Ventures Shepherd and Director of LaRosa Couture, agreed: “The relationship between the shepherd, who functions as more than a mentor, and the entrepreneur is crucial to fulfilling the mandate of the company – we can truly see the potential of boosting foreign exchange reserves through our operations while supporting fashion designers in their mission to go global.”

 

Gregory Hinkson

Photograph of Gregory Hinkson available here: http://tinyurl.com/gregorylrc
About La Rosa Couture Inc.

La Rosa Couture Inc., located in Wildey, St. Michael, Barbados, produces high quality tailored apparel for both men and women. The company functions as a manufacturer offering specialized production services to clients who desire consistent workmanship in the apparel manufacturing process. Founded by husband and wife team, Ryan and Rozana Moseley, the company intends to become the leading small batch apparel manufacturing company in Barbados eventually expanding to compete on the regional and international stage.

About Barbados Business Enterprise Corp.

Barbados Business Enterprise Corp. (BBEC) is a public/private sector partnership with the Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust (CBET) Inc. BBEC manages the Barbados Revolving Seed Capital Fund and the Barbados Entrepreneurs’ Venture Capital Fund. BBEC is a virtual organisation that focuses on promoting economic development in Barbados. The trustees of BBEC are respected Barbadian business and development experts, Sir Neville Nicholls (Chairman), Sir Stephen Emtage, Peter Boos and Hazel Highland.

For further information, visit www.bimventures.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bimventures

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/bimventures

 

CTales 2011 pushing Caribbean films

Participants and filmmakers in the CaribbeanTales 2011 Content Incubator

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The much buzzed about CaribbeanTales 2011 Film Festival came to a close last Sunday night following seven event-filled days that celebrated the exploding film and television industry across the Caribbean region and it’s Diaspora. Filmmakers and film enthusiasts from around the region and the world come together for a week of cultural celebration, that took place at the Island Inn, and George Washington House.The festival’s Gala Opening on March 16th at Frank Collymore Hall was held before a packed to capacity audience of 500 patrons.

And at the closing night screening of Raoul Peck’s “Moloch Tropical” , CaribbeanTales CEO Frances-Anne Solomon thanked all participants and sponsors for making this year’s theme “Vision Momentum Action! ” a huge success.

“Even though it was very hard work, in a lean year, the support we have had has been tremendous.” She continued: “The pay off is a satisfied and nourished audience base, stimulated by rich dialogue about our industry. This will carry our team forward for a long time to come.”The festival’s highlight was the unique CT Content Incubator , facilitated by US Marketing and Distribution consultant Michele Matterre, with a special animation incubator led by Camille Selvon Abrahams of Anime Caribe. Selected filmmakers participated in an intensive immersion in the creative, business and marketing aspects of the industry, with support from international industry experts, culminating in a pitch session.

Many special guests travelled from abroad to take part in the activities including: Hollywood Director Neema Barnette, Berlinale Talent Campus Director Mattijs Knol, World Cinema Fund Director Sonja Heinen, Africa Channel EVP of Corporate Affairs Mark Watson, Kethiwe Ngcobo, Head of Drama at the South African Broadcasting Corporation and award-winning Canadian composer John Welsman who delivered a master class  on sound and music for film.

Also present was a stellar contingent from the Caribbean region including EZONE’s Lisa Wickham and Sheldon Felix,  Antigua’s HAMA TV – Mitzi and Howard Allen,  Dominica’s Alwin Bully and Film Commissioner for Dominica Anita Bully, Guadeloupe Film Commissioner Tony Coco-Viloin and FEMI Director Frank Solvet.

Diaspora filmmakers also were present in numbers including Faisal Lutchmedia  from Montreal, and Dawn Wilkinson from Toronto,

Another high point took place on Saturday evening with the Awards Ceremony honoring Special Guest Hollywood Director Neema Barnette,

Ms Barnette who came from Los Angeles  to receive the Award, spoke movingly of the importance of CaribbeanTales. “For someone who has worked hard for everything I have ever got, it is wonderful to see what this festival provides for filmmakers” she said.

This was followed by the world premiere screening of Howard and Mitzi Allen’s eagerly anticipated fourth feature film THE SKIN, followed by a talk back session with the filmmakers.

Mitzi Allen said that it was important to herself and her husband, filmmaker director Howard Allen to present the film at CaribbeanTales, even though it was not quite finished. “I really liked the feedback we got from 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.

Most of the films screened to sold out audiences at the George Washington House cinema. These featured some local regional and international premieres  including Miquel Jalofre’s extraordinary exploration of Jamaican dancehall music Hit Me With Music, and the stunning series premiere of Dominion by Bajan dream team Sean Michael Field and Rodney Smith

CaribbeanTales 2011 Film Festival was sponsored by: Island Inn, The Starcom Network, Ultimax TV, Lisa Wickham’s Ezone, the Commonwealth Foundation, SFa Communications, Hall-e-wood Productions, Morenamedia, HAMA Productions, Barbados Government Information Service, Caribbean Tourism Organisation, The United Nations Development Program, Caribbean Media Corporation, US Embassy, Animae Caribe, Merville Lynch Prods, Creative Junction, Barbados National Bank, Steinhill Studios, Blue Light Media,The National Cultural Foundation and Autonomous Entertainment.

CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution the region’s first full-service film distribution company, is founded by award-winning filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon, and principals are creative industries expert Dr Keith Nurse (Chair), economist and businessman Dr Terrence Farrell, media personality and producer Lisa Wickham, and filmmaker and writer Mary Wells.

CTWD is a member of the Barbados Business Enterprise Corporation that provides Seed and Venture Capital Services.

Bajan Artist Ras Akyem-I wants Caribbean Art global

Bridgetown, BARBADOS  – The time has come to create opportunities for Caribbean artists on the world stage, asserts a leading regional artist.

Barbadian Ras Akyem-i Ramsay, Director of the Barbados-based art-aniMAL Inc., lamented the under-representation of Caribbean visual arts across the world. This under representation, he contended, offered creative visionaries an opportunity for leadership in this “virgin space.”

“I hope to be to Caribbean Art what Bob Marley is to Caribbean music,” asserted Ras Akyem-i, who has earned global attention for his artwork.

“We are creating a collective of contemporary, forward thinking regional visual artists to overcome global perceptions that limit us to traditional images of fishing boats and palm trees,” he reported.

Recently funded by local venture capital firm BIM Ventures, art-aniMAL‘s chief executive believes he finally has the support system to fulfill such a grand vision.

“I have found in BIM Ventures the supportive, embracing, family-oriented model which provides a strong structure to survive in today’s competitive world,” he said.

The Rastafarian pointed to support in the form of finance and shepherding (mentorship) which has given him the launch pad to grow his young and progressive art company.

“There is something quite radically unique and daring about this local business organization’s decision to boldly circumvent the sterile domestic business traditions, and confidently invest timely funding in a visual artist or poet,” the Rasta mused.

Ras Akyem-i at work in New Mexico

Ras Akyem-i at work in New Mexico.

The campaign to give Caribbean art global prominence took off in November with a presentation at the Liverpool Biennial, one of the most exciting contemporary visual arts events in the United Kingdom. Later, art-aniMAL received positive reviews in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Ras Akyem-i collaborated with master printmaker Michael Costello of Hand Graphics Studio to produce a unique body of limited edition lithographs.

 

“We are pleased with the success of our Santa Fe trip and the work that was produced there. We have sold seven out of 10 exclusive pre-released prints and have generated a number of leads,” said art-aniMAL managing director Adam Werth.

Ras Akyem-i, whose work has recently been on exhibition in Martinique, now looks forward to this weekend’s Caribbean Fine Art Fair in Barbados.

Dr. Basil Springer, BIM Ventures Project Manager, will be participating at the Fair in a panel discussion  entitled “Visual Art, a Cultural Industry, and its Role in Economic Development”.

About art-aniMAL Inc.

art ani-MAL Inc. offers a rich collection of work by some of the most contemporary, forward thinking, visual artists in the Caribbean region. Established in 2010 by Caribbean artist Ras Akyem-i, art-aniMAL brings the creativity and credibility of the region’s best artists to the world.

About Barbados Business Enterprise Corp.

Barbados Business Enterprise Corp. (BBEC) is a public/private sector partnership with the Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust (CBET) Inc. BBEC manages the Barbados Revolving Seed Capital Fund and the Barbados Entrepreneurs’ Venture Capital Fund. BBEC is a virtual organisation that focuses on promoting economic development in Barbados. The trustees of BBEC are respected Barbadian business and development experts, Sir Neville Nicholls (Chairman), Sir Stephen Emtage, Peter Boos and Hazel Highland.

For further information, visit www.bimventures.com

Bajan Art Company Pictures a healthy Barbados

Annalee Davis interacts with patrons at a recent Manipura Mixer.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Taking creativity to a new level, a Barbadian art gallery is mixing delicious local foods with its expansive line of inspirational artwork.

It’s the gallery’s contribution to building awareness about the importance of eating healthy, and less expensive, local foods, a move being supported by the Barbados food industry.

Local art gallery, Manipura is celebrating the diversity of local foods this year by staging twice monthly Manipura Mixers – fun-filled, educational events showcasing healthy and tasty foods while patrons take in the inspiring Caribbean art on display.

 

Manipura’s Annalee Davis wants these events to stimulate market demand for locally-made foods as well as the creativity displayed in regional art. “I believe if we knew the options that were available locally and encouraged nationals to support our own producers, our dependence on imported products would decrease and the local economy would benefit,” she said.

The visual artist and Bim Ventures entrepreneur reported that given the increased cases of wheat intolerance and food allergies, Barbadians are learning that there are cassava-based products which are both tasty and wheat-free.

 

“Our first three Mixers with I Am Pure foods (producers of wheat-free, cassava-based baked goods), SinnfullySweetCreations (creators of healthy dark chocolate), and Went Caribbean Inc. (producers of WentWorx healthy aromatic spice blends for “New Caribbean Cuisine”) were well patronised and have demonstrated a popular demand for healthy options,” said Davis.

Davis, an artist for more than two decades, believes smart partnerships with the culinary arts sector will promote healthier diets and lifestyles while reducing the incidence of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension.

I Am Pure Foods on display – one of the partners at a recent Manipura Mixer.

Photograph available at: http://tinyurl.com/iampurefoods
About Manipura Inc.
Manipura Inc. provides a unique Caribbean experience through imagery and discussion of issues of the day. The company manages two artistic brands – Annalee Davis, a contemporary body of work that looks critically at contemporary Caribbean society; and Manipura, an inspirational line of Caribbean artwork that celebrates the beauty of the region’s archipelago. The range of products offered includes paintings, limited edition prints, home decor, installations and objects. For more information visit www.manipurainc.com and  www.annaleedavis.com.

About Barbados Business Enterprise Corp.

Barbados Business Enterprise Corp. (BBEC) is a public/private sector partnership with the Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust (CBET) Inc. BBEC manages the Barbados Revolving Seed Capital Fund and the Barbados Entrepreneurs’ Venture Capital Fund. BBEC is a virtual organisation that focuses on promoting economic development in Barbados. The trustees of BBEC are respected Barbadian business and development experts, Sir Neville Nicholls (Chairman), Sir Stephen Emtage, Peter Boos and Hazel Highland.

 

For further information, visit www.bimventures.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bimventures

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bimventures

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.