filmmaking

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.

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.

Two Young Women Needed for Tech-Focused Documentary

KASSIE-BIG-DREAMThe producers of Big Dreams are looking for two young women – aged anywhere from 17 to 22 – one to film in Africa and one in Latin America to feature in the documentary.

Big Dream follows the intimate stories of five young women who are breaking barriers and overcoming personal challenges to follow their passion in science, math, computing & engineering. From small town Iowa to the bustling streets of the Middle East, Big Dream immerses viewers in a world designed by and for the inspiring next generation of girls.

Iron Way Films produces digital stories that reach millions of viewers for some of the most influential organizations in the world.

Filming for Big Dreams will be over a few days in August. Contact: Kelly Cox at kelly@ironwayfilms.com if interested.

See the trailer at http://vimeo.com/88823935

Review – The Mid-Atlantic Talent Guide for Actors

Bk-cover-MATGFrontOut this week by actors Dionne Audain and Sheila Cutchlow is a useful guide for actors and others wishing to work in the film and television industry in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

The Mid-Atlantic Talent Guide was written, researched and compiled by Audain and Cutchlow to answer the common question of how they book steady work as actors outside of Hollywood.

The 36-page book gives names and contact information of talent agencies and production houses who they have worked with or can recommend in the entertainment industry. Listed are more than 120 entities across Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.

They also included a very useful section on workshop, classified ads and internet scams in the industry and how to spot them.

The guide also gives information on Promotional work and the various opportunities available, along with contact information for the agencies which specialize in booking actors.

Closing out the book is a resource section listing websites which actors should get on or can use to learn more about the industry and establish their portfolios and profiles.

At only US$9.99 for the Kindle edition it is a must have for actors and those wanting to enter the arena without making the same mistakes that these two ladies did.

About the Authors

DIONNE AUDAIN is a professional actress who began and grew her career in the Mid-Atlantic region, specifically the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia aka DMV market. Dionne continues working on the East Coast and can be seen in feature films, on prime time and cable television shows as well as on regional stage. Some of her projects include stage work at the Folger Theatre and the Kennedy Center; television shows Boardwalk Empire, The Wire, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, All My Children; feature films Salt, Won’t Back Down, Rocket Science, Twelve, Toe to Toe; and national commercials for Subway and Walmart. Dionne is a published author, speaker, coach and the Chief Empowerment Officer (CEO) and Founder of Biz Minded Actor which encourages actors to manage their careers as business entities. For more about Dionne, visit her on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), Facebook Fan Page, Twitter (@DionneAudain, @BizMindedActor) and her company website BizMindedActor.blogspot.com and personal website DionneAudain.com.

SHEILA CUTCHLOW began her acting career in the Mid-Atlantic region. Included in her list of credits are principal roles in feature films, episodic television shows, national commercials and food shows – including projects such as The Wire, One Tree Hill, Step Up and Kraft Food’s Real Women. She is co-owner of Skyrocket Productions, and has cast two feature-length films. She is a published author, and has just completed a pilot script for episodic television. She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and as of this writing, Sheila has one show in pre-production. For more about Sheila, visit her on IMDB.com, LinkedIn, Facebook.