Frances Anne Solomon

Brooklynites Wins Caribbean People’s Choice Award

MIAMI, FL – Esosa Edosomwan (pictured below, photo credit Lanly Le) is the 2016 ‘Flow Caribbean People’s Choice Award’ winner! Esosa’s television show concept Brooklynites – an inspired tale of young hopes, dreams, ambition, and the pursuit of lasting love – received the most online votes.

This People’s Choice Award is part of a broader initiative by CaribbeanTales, to enable strong content by regional artists and those living in the diaspora. The ten finalists that ‘pitched’ their TV show ideas were selected participants in the CaribbeanTales Incubator Programme (CTI) – a year-round development and production hub for Caribbean and Caribbean Diaspora Producers, of which Flow is the lead sponsor.

The Flow Caribbean People’s Choice Award gave regional audiences the chance to vote online for their favourite Caribbean ‘pitch.’ Once the polls opened on August 23rd, fans around the region closely followed Flow’s social media pages to see which finalist was featured each day and then cast thousands of votes on the CaribbeanTales website. After nearly two months of voting, Brooklynites came out on top.

Along with the honour, Flow presented Esosa with US$1,500 in cash and a premium handset valued at USD$1,000. Big Man Dan by Kafi Kareem Farrell and The Weekend by Sean Hodgkinson and Aurora Herrera came in a close second and third respectively.

Congratulating Esosa and her team, John Reid, CEO of Cable and Wireless and operator of Flow, pictured below, stated “Brooklynites won the people’s choice with its compelling story and is a great representation of what CaribbeanTales is trying to achieve through this project to help develop the indigenous film industry.” Reid also added, “All of the concepts presented were very strong and we look forward to working alongside the winners to help bring their creative ideas to life.”

Pictured above Frances-Anne Solomon (CaribbeanTales CEO), left, and John Reid (Flow CEO) right.

You can check out Esosa’s acceptance video here!

CEO and Founder of CaribbeanTales, Frances Anne Solomon, said, “The CPCA is a chance for people around the region and the world to engage with exciting new Caribbean TV series ideas and have a say in what they want to see on their screens! It is a honour to be working with Flow on such a ground-breaking initiative.”

Visit the CTI website for more information, and to apply for the 2017 CTI Programme.  And follow Flow and CaribbeanTales on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date.

Queens of Music is focus of CaribbeanTales Film Festival in Toronto

TORONTO, Canada – The CaribbeanTales Annual Film Festival has become a not-to-be-missed event on the Toronto City’s summer calendar. Now in its fifth year, the Festival is partnering with Harbourfront Centre’s Island Soul Festival to present some of the best Caribbean films made in recent years for audiences seeking another kind of entertainment over the Caribana weekend.

Queens of Our Music: On Sunday, August 1st, 2010, from 3 pm to 7 pm, the CaribbeanTales Film Festival presents an extraordinary and entertaining line-up of films called Queens of our Music – in celebration of Caribbean and Caribbean-Canadian Divas who have rocked the mic from Toronto to Havana, and back.

The afternoon kicks off with Music Is My life, an intimate portrait of the Canadian-born singer Tanya Mullings who has won the hearts of fans all across Canada and the Caribbean. The daughter of the late great Jamaican reggae music producer Karl Mullings, the film reflects on her art and on the influence of her famous father.

Macomere Fifi

Next up, at 3:35 pm, AKA Macomere Fifi charts the evolution of the award-winning Calypso Queen. Previously known as Tara Woods, she rose from being a church chorister in her home island of Tobago to becoming the formidable award-winning and much loved monarch on Canada’s male-dominated Calypso scene

At 4 pm, Stepping Out, directed by Mars Horodyski, features Toronto-based singer Saidah Baba Talibah. The daughter of legendary Canadian jazz singer Salome Bey and the equally respected Kittitian music producer Howard Matthews, she is veritable Canadian music royalty. Her extraordinary talent has allowed her to carve her own niche in this competitive contemporary market.


At 4:25 pm, Blood directed and produced by Cayman-based filmmaker Judy Singh features popular Canadian-Jamaican dub poet D’bi Young, with performances by the Cuban female Hip Hop Group Las Krudas. The film is part extraordinary music video (shot on locations around Havana, Cuba) and part entertaining after-dinner conversation between D’bi and her friends.

At 5:10 pm there will be a special presentation of Miss Lou-Then and Now, featuring the one and only Jamaican icon, Louise Bennett. Miss Lou was the country’s leading author, poet, and comedienne. She pioneered “Jamaica language” and took it to an artistic level that reflected the truth and essence of Jamaican life. The film captures private moments during the last year of her life when she shared her thoughts with her good friend, famous Jamaican actor Leonie Forbes.

Sunday afternoon will climax with a special screening of Queens of Sound – A Herstory of Reggae and Dancehall, directed by Austrian filmmaker Sandra Krampelhuber. This is the first feature-length documentary to explore the long-neglected female side of reggae and dancehall music in Jamaica. The film follows three generations of women in the Jamaican music business as they recount their struggles for acceptance as well as their successes. Artists featured include Marcia Griffiths, Tanya Stephens, Sasha, Cecile, Chevelle Franklyn, Queen Ifrica, Macka Diamond and Lady Gene.

At 6:50 pm, the screening will be followed by an in-person Talk-Back session with special guest Tasha Rosez – the reggae DJ, who will provide some insight into the issue of women in the music business.

TRIBES by Ras Kassa: At 7:30 pm, Sunday evening’s presentation will be the Toronto premiere of Tribes, a brand new drama directed by Jamaica’s hottest music video director Ras Kassa (Welcome to Jamrock, The Mission). Set in Trinidad and Tobago, Tribes takes viewers on a rollercoaster of love and life. It is the gripping story of Jamal, an undefeated stick-fighter and popular radio DJ, who finds that an unexpected twist in his personal life threatens to destroy everything.

Fresh New Voices and Visions in Caribbean Film and Television: On Monday, August 2nd, 2010, from 2:30pm to 5pm, CaribbeanTales presents Fresh New Voices and Visions in Caribbean Film and Television, featuring several Canadian premieres.

Directions, winner of the Best Short Film/People?s Choice Award at the 2008 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival satirizes the endearing and frustrating phenomenon of Trinidadians and their ability to give directions. The film pokes fun at the idea that when one asks a Trini for directions he’ll send you on a roundabout route guaranteed to get you hopelessly lost. In this short documentary a number of persons are asked to give directions to a well-known Port of Spain landmark with hilarious results.

At 2:45 pm there will be the Canadian premiere of Trinidadian filmmaker Jimmel Daniel’s explosive short film The Power of the Vagina that takes audiences through a hilarious and entertaining look at sexual politics in Trinidad and Tobago.

Next up, at 3:10 pm, Trapped in an Elevator directed by Barbados’ highly talented filmmaker/producer Rommel Hall is a completely delightful Bajan musical opera featuring an ensemble cast.

Simply Mutabaruka: Finally the evening’s highlight, at 3:30 pm will be with the world premiere of Simply Muta. This entertaining filmic journey stars the militant Rastafari poet/philosopher, Mutabaruka as host. The brutally frank ‘barefoot Rasta’, is one of Jamaica’s best loved performers, and the program unapologetically gives voice to his unconventional opinions on a wide range of topics relevant to Jamaicans and the world. This extraordinary film is directed by renowned American filmmaker Stephanie Black (Life and Debt, H2Worker)

August 1, 1-4pm
CaribbeanTales presents An Introduction to Animation –
Sponsored by Toon-Boom.
Venue: The Brigantine Room
Computer animation is one of the most exciting applications spawned by the advent of computer technology. This hands-on course introduces participants to some basic concepts. Suitable for all ages.

August 2, 1-3pm :
CaribbeanTales presents Digital film-making on a Shoestring Budget

This hands-on crash course introduces prospective young filmmakers to the basic elements needed to make a movie or television program with next to no budget.

The CaribbeanTales Annual Film Festival is founded by accomplished Toronto-based Trinidadian filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon, whose most recent award-winning feature film A Winter Tale has won international acclaim. She is the President and Artistic Director of the two companies she created: Leda Serene Films and CaribbeanTales. Her recent projects include HeartBeat – a documentary series profiling Caribbean musical creators; Literature Alive, a many faceted multimedia project profiling Caribbean authors; and the Gemini-nominated Lord Have Mercy! Canada’s landmark multicultural sitcom originally created for Vision TV, Toronto1, APTN and Showcase.

CaribbeanTales is Canada’s premier multimedia company that creates, markets and distributes educational films, videos, radio programs, audio books, theatre plays, websites and events, to showcase the rich heritage of the Caribbean Diaspora worldwide.

CaribbeanTales’ mandate is to foster and encourage intercultural understanding and citizen participation through the medium of film, contributing to an inclusive Canadian society.

The Island Soul Festival takes place between July 30th and August 2nd at Toronto’s Harbourfront and showcases Caribbean culture through music, food and art in a weekend-long celebration that bridges the gap between Canada and the Islands.

Dawn Wilkinson’s Devotion at CaribbeanTales 2010

Alice Jasmine walks home from school (scene from Devotion screening at CaribbeanTales 2010)BRIDGETOWN – SWEET DEVOTION: During her final year of a BA in Women’s Studies and African Studies at U of T in 1996, Dawn Wilkinson took a one-week filmmaking workshop in Mount Forest, Ontario, that persuaded her to pursue a life behind the camera. The young writer had been crafting plenty of fiction and literary criticism in her classes, but, at the screening of her five-minute film, she was floored by the “immediacy” of the response. “Seeing people connect to my story was something I’d never fully experienced with my writing.”

In 1999, Wilkinson studied at the Canadian Film Centre Directors’ Lab in Toronto. She also served as a director observer (in which a young filmmaker-hopeful watches an established pro at work) during the shooting of the movie Hurricane, with director Norman Jewison (BA 1949 VIC). Wilkinson had established the production company, Afterlife, in 1998, and has since made four short films, as well as several documentaries.

Producer Bobie Taffe and her team produced this video profile of filmmaker Dawn Wilkinson whose feature film Devotion is being screened at the CaribbeanTales Youth Film Festival.

View “Dawn Wilkinson – Devotion” from Frances-Anne Solomon on Vimeo.

Her first feature, Devotion, recently won the Audience Award at the 2005 Reel World Film Festival in Toronto. The movie explores the concerns of belonging and alienation facing an 11-year-old biracial girl. Alice, the main character, also struggles with her mother’s death, caused by her father’s drunk driving. “The plot is not about being biracial; it’s about her not fitting in at school, about not getting along with her dad. Being biracial is the lens she’s looking through,” says Wilkinson. “I wanted to show that complexity: how she saw herself wasn’t how she was seen by others.”Reprinted from the University of Toronto Magazine.

More Clips from Devotion:

Dawn Wilkinson’s “Devotion” Trailer

Dawn Wilkinson Interview for“Devotion”

Fight Scene from Dawn Wilkinson’s “Devotion

Alice and Grant from Dawn Wilkinson’s “Devotion”

The Sally scene from Dawn Wilkinson’s “Devotion”

Ja Ganesha from Dawn Wilkinson’s “Devotion”

Halloween Scene from Dawn Wilkinson’s “Devotion”

More about Dawn Wilkinson

More about Devotion

AfterLife Films Youtube Channel including interviews with Dawn and clips from “Devotion”

Devotion Offical Website

Dawn Wilkinson’s website

Film Festivals: Best of CaribbeanTales 2010

movie-carm-geTORONTO/BRIDGETOWN – The creative industries of film and television will receive a boost this February when CaribbeanTales, a Toronto-based multimedia company, brings together formidable local, regional and international partners to showcase, discuss and promote Caribbean film at “THE BEST OF CARIBBEANTALES FILM FESTIVAL AND SYMPOSIUM” that will take place at the Olympus Cinema, Sheraton Center and at UWI Cave Hill from February 23rd to March 2nd, 2010. The Festival will kick off with a Media Launch on December 8, 2009 at 1.30pm at the Errol Barrow Center for Creative Imagination, UWI Cave Hill.

The event’s Director is accomplished Toronto-based Trinidadian filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon, whose most recent award-winning feature film A Winter Tale has won international acclaim, and who has been a visiting lecturer at UWI. She said: “February is Black History Month and it is fitting for us to mark this with a celebration of film, to start the year with a bang and to push the discussion forward about how we can create here a sustainable and profitable industry”.

The festival is incredibly proud to partner with a number of local organisations including One Caribbean Media, that will co-host a Symposium on Global Distribution, and whose CEO Dr. Terrence Farrell will be speaking at the Press Launch; and the Barbados Film and Video Association, whose president Penelope Hynam said: “I am delighted that Barbadian audiences will get to see some of the wonderful films we saw at the Caribbean Tales Festival in Toronto this year, including a fantastic cross section of work by our most important filmmakers from around the Diaspora.”

This year 2010 the CaribbeanTales Film Festival welcomes 3 new Associate Directors who will work alongside Solomon to program, manage and promote the festival: Jamaican filmmaker Mary Wells, whose first feature film Kingston Paradise, recently wrapped production, and is destined for screens later in the year, joins the festival’s management team as the Co-ordinator of the Barbados event. Trinidad-based Producer-Director-TV Personality Lisa Wickham, CEO of E-Zone Entertainment, and Director of the Caribbean Film and Media Academy, (CFMA) will assist with the event production. The CFMA will also host a number of workshops as part of the festival activities. And Mitzi Allen, CEO and Co-owner of HAMA TV in Antigua, also joins the Festival as an Associate Director. HAMA will be covering the Festival, and will be seeking to bring a delegation of OECS producers to Toronto in June.

The CaribbeanTales Film Festival is North America’s only standalone festival showcasing the best of Caribbean cinema from around the world. Founded by Frances-Anne Solomon, the festival has survived, grown and thrived in the highly competitive Canadian festival scene, to become a notable event in the city’s calendar. “For our 5th anniversary we have planned a number of exciting events and initiatives to promote Caribbean film and TV, including a presence at Cannes 2010. It seemed fitting that we kick off this extraordinary year with a discussion in the Caribbean and Barbados is dynamic, central and accessible.”

Contact: Frances-Anne Solomon/ Monique Young

CaribbeanTales celebrates the success of 4th film fest

TORONTO – The much buzzed about 4th Annual CaribbeanTales Film Festival has come to a close after another successful year: four event-filled days celebrating the exploding film and television industry across the Caribbean and it’s Diaspora.

As Canada’s premier standalone Caribbean film festival, CaribbeanTales presented an astounding 65 of the best Caribbean films from around the world this past weekend. CaribbeanTales, Founder and Artistic Director Frances-Anne Solomon would like to thank all participants and sponsors for making this year’s theme “Caribbean Film – A Tool for Education and Social Change” a huge success!

A highlight of the festival this year was the CaribbeanTales Industry Development Program (CTIDP), an initiative that provided educational industry activities such as training workshops, roundtable sessions, and panel discussions on film practice, animation, business development and marketing to support producers to break into the Canadian industry.

Many special guests travelled from abroad to attend the festival this year including: Director Melissa Gomez (Antigua/UK), Producer Magali Damas (New York/Haiti), filmmaker and photographer Richardo Scipio (Vancouver, Canada) Penelope Hynam and Ian Smith from the Barbados Film and Video Association, Annette Nias from the National Cultural Foundation in Barbados, and Dr. Gladstone Yearwood, Director of the Errol Barrow Center for Creative Imagination, UWI, in Barbados.

Also present was a stellar contingent from Trinidad and Tobago including Lisa Wickham, CEO of Imagine International; Christopher Laird, CEO of Gayelle The Channel; Camille Selvon Abrahams, Founder/Director of Anime Caribe Animation and New Media Festival; Dr. Jean Antoine of the University of the West Indies; multi-media artist Elspeth Duncan, and emerging filmmakers Dara Healey and Andre Johnson.

Canadian-Caribbean filmmakers also participated in numbers including ReelWorld Film Festival President and Actor Tonya Lee Williams, multi-award winning video artist and lecturer Richard Fung, filmmaker and academic Dr. Michelle Mohabeer, Producer/director Nicole Brooks, Global TV Executive Karen King, National Film Board Producer Lea Main, “Soul” creator Andy Marshall, Director Powys Dewhurst and Vancouver-based Producer Glace Lawrence.

The festival’s high point took place on Saturday evening with the Tribute Awards Ceremony which honored the careers of a number of movers and shakers in the Caribbean film industry.

The coveted Award of Honour went to Mme. Euzhan Palcy whoo was the first woman of African descent to ever direct a Hollywood Studio movie when she made A Dry White Season with Marlon Brando and Donald Sutherland in 1989. Ms Palcy who came from France to receive the Award, spoke movingly of the importance of this Festival.

“It is most important to me that we as Caribbean people be able to express love and appreciation for each other, not just in our films, but in relation to each other. For that, I treasure this award above others.” Said Ms Palcy, whose first film Black Shack Alley, produced in 1983, remains a seminal Caribbean cinematic achievement.

Christopher Laird, Co-Founder and CEO of Gayelle The Channel in Trinidad received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his pioneering use of television as a tool for community and social engagement. Earlier in the festival, rapt audiences were also treated to the World Premiere of Christopher’s new film Drummit2Summit, which documents a tense stand-off between Police and local activists during the Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain in April 2009.

Along with Mr. Laird, tribute was paid to several extraordinary Caribbean talents including Camille Selvon Abrahams who received the 2009 Innovation Award, for her groundbreaking and visionary work in establishing the Caribbean’s first Animation studio and film festival (Anime Caribe) that trains, produces and exhibits work by a new generation of Caribbean-centered Animators.

Jamaican Film and Theatre icon Leonie Forbes presented the Festival’s first Leonie Forbes Award to Canadian-Jamaican rising star Michael Miller for his work as an actor and youth worker youth-at-risk in Public Housing communities in Toronto.

Actor and Producer Tonya Lee Williams received this year’s Award for Community Service in recognition for her tireless generosity in establishing and maintaining the Reel World Film Festival and Foundation, whose vision is to showcase Canada’s diversity in film. The festival is now 10 years old.

Barbadian-Canadian actor, director, and producer Alison Sealey Smith received the 2009 Award for Excellence, presented to her by the Consulate General for Barbados in Toronto, Mr Leroy McClean. Ms Sealey-Smith’s many accomplishments include Founding Artistic Director of the Obsidian Theatre, Canada’s prolific and Dora Award-winning Black theatre company.

“Team Barbados (The Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), Invest Barbados and the Consulate General of Barbados)is happy to have been a part of this event and wishes the Festival every success as it continues to chart new paths in the artistic expression of the Caribbean’s stories.”said Leroy McCLean, Consul General for Barbados in Toronto.

The 2009 CaribbeanTales Film Festival was produced in association with The University of Toronto. Among the Festival’s many sponsors were the Consulate Generals for Barbados, France, Trinidad & Tobago, The Trinidad and Tobago Film Company and the Canada Council for the Arts.

The CaribbeanTales Film Festival is founded by award-winning director, filmmaker and festival curator Frances-Anne Solomon who has had great success with her most recent highly acclaimed feature film A Winter Tale (for Telefilm Canada/CHUM Television).

CaribbeanTales is Canada’s premier multimedia company that creates, markets and distributes educational films, videos, radio programs, audio books, theatre plays, websites and events, to showcase the rich heritage of Caribbean Diaspora worldwide.

CaribbeanTales’ mandate is to foster and encourage intercultural understanding and citizen participation through the medium of film, contributing to an inclusive Canadian society.