Neema Barnette

Actors and Authors to start community groups after attending Beyond the Screen Antigua

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Participants at the first Beyond the Screen held on Antigua August 14 to 17, 2013 said the experience was motivating and life changing and several actors and writers are already working to ensure the momentum continues now that the event has ended.
Aspiring screenwriters, filmmakers and actors came from across the island and as far away as Grenada and Barbados for the four-day event which featured veteran filmmakers Neema Barnette and Reed McCants. The workshops and other activities which included The Reading Room a

nd An Evening with Neema were all a part of Beyond the Screen, which was presented this year by the Antigua & Barbuda Literary Festival and co-hosted by HAMAFilms and

goldenmedia.

Lead actors from HAMAFilms fourth feature film The Skin, Brent Simon and Aisha Ralph perform a few lines from the movie to show the process of capturing different takes for one scene during the Acting for Film workshop at Beyond the Screen Antigua.
Lead actors from HAMAFilms fourth feature film The Skin, Brent Simon and Aisha Ralph perform a few lines from the movie to show the process of capturing different takes for one scene during the Acting for Film workshop at Beyond the Screen Antigua.

Aisha Ralph and Brent Simon, who were the lead actors in the HAMAFilms movie The Skin, both had high praises for the event which provided the opportunity to develop their craft. Simon noted at the end of the Acting for Film workshop on Day Two that the techniques learned from trainers Actor Reed McCants and Director Neema Barnette were invaluable and that he would be pursuing the recommendation that a local actors group be formed to connect with other local actors to support each other and help to grow the industry.
Tammi Browne-Bannister, a writer based in Barbados called the workshops “intense but comprehensive.” She also plans to create an online group to connect the theatre and film community to apply the tools given in the sessions. She thanked the organisers for hosting the event and noted on Facebook “I didn’t realize how big our dreams could get if we just applied ourselves. Beyond the Screen was such an inspirational and motivational push for me. I hope the other participants got out of it as much as I did.”

Group shot of the participants of the Digital Filmmaking workshop which was held during Beyond the Screen on Friday, August 16, 2013.
Group shot of the participants of the Digital Filmmaking workshop which was held during Beyond the Screen on Friday, August 16, 2013.

Workshop host Mitzi Allen of HAMAFilms said she was pleased to see the various activities come together to create such positive and rewarding experiences for the organisers, participants and sponsors. She was thankful to Emmy Award-winning director Barnette and her husband McCants who conducted the main sessions along with local film director Howard Allen. Allen gave special mention of the kind support of Townhouse Furniture who sponsored the Digital Filmmaking workshop which also allowed for six participants to attend free of charge.
Beyond the Screen was sponsored by the Antigua & Barbuda International Literary Festival, Carib World Travel, City View Hotel, Townhouse Furnishings and the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority.
To find out more about Beyond the Screen and other upcoming events visit www.trulycaribbean.net/events .

Legendary Filmmaker Neema Barnette takes Antigua Lit Fest Beyond the Screen

Bishop T.D. Jakes, Award-winning Director Neema Barnette and actor Blair Underwood on the set of Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day.
Bishop T.D. Jakes, Award-winning Director Neema Barnette and actor Blair Underwood on the set of Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day.

Antigua & Barbuda – This August, the Antigua & Barbuda International Literary Festival will proudly host Beyond the Screen an event in collaboration with HAMAfilms and goldenmedia. Legendary and award-winning director Neema Barnette and her husband screen actor Reed McCants will share their wisdom and experience of filmmaking at a series of workshops and special events around Antigua from August 14th to 17th, 2013.
Throughout the four-day event, there will be workshops aimed at writers and novelist who would like to turn their work into viable screenplays. Acting for Film, Digital Filmmaking and Distribution through New Media will be conducted by actor Reed McCants a 20-year veteran of the art form.
LoosedNeema Barnette will facilitate From Script to Screen on Wednesday, August 14th and host a special dinner and discussion event on Friday, August 16th. One of the highlights of Beyond the Screen will be a special screening of Barnette’s most recent film T.D. Jakes Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the Seventh Day starring Blair Underwood. Reed McCants is also featured in the film.
Organiser of the Antigua & Barbuda International Film Festival Pam Arthurton welcomed the creation of this new event, which will allow for a smaller version of the ABIFF to be held this year.
“Apart from the financial constraints, what held us back in previous years was that the film festival did not have enough volunteers and collaborations. I think if we had more volunteers we could have made the 2012 festival happen, which is why we are very happy to collaborate with HAMA and goldenmedia. This is the rebirth of the Antigua & Barbuda Literary Festival and Beyond the Screen will be a component of this event for the foreseeable future,” Arthurton stated.
HAMAFilms Director Howard Allen said the creation of Beyond the Screen is one of the ways his company has always envisioned giving back to Antigua & Barbuda and also the wider Caribbean.
“Telling our Caribbean stories remains the focus of HAMAFilms and this new event will allow us to work with Neema who has become one of our mentors. This is an opportune time for aspiring filmmakers and writers to learn how to make that transition from a story to a screenplay and the process of making their own film,” Allen said.
Neema Barnette is an American film director, and the first African-American female sitcom director. Barnette was the first African-American woman to get a three-picture deal with Sony. Her work includes a mixture of film and television. She has directed television programmes as such as The Cosby Show, A Different World, Gilmore Girls, 7th Heaven, Diagnosis Murder, China Beach to name a few.
She has won numerous awards, honours, and nominations, among them an Emmy Award for her after school special To Be a Man, two NAACP Image Awards, and a Sundance Film Festival Award for her film Civil Brand. She owns her own production company Hope Entertainment and is also a professor of film at the UCLA School of Film & Television.
Beyond the Screen is being supported by Carib World Travel and the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority. To get the full schedule of activities, fees and venues for Beyond the Screen, visit www.trulycaribbean/events .