Ex­cel­lent films pro­duced in Pro­pella project

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Michael Reck­ord Gleaner Writer

FIVE SHORT films pro­duced in Ja­maica over the sum­mer will have a pri­vate, in­vi­ta­tion-only screen­ing next week. Gen­eral pub­lic show­ings of the films, de­scribed as “ex­cel­lent” by JAMPRO Film Com­mis­sioner Re­nee Robin­son, will fol­low in com­ing months.

Robin­son told The Gleaner that dis­cus­sions are be­ing held with the Palace Amuse­ment Com­pany about the pub­lic re­lease of the films, which were made through col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween JAMPRO and the Ja­maica Film and Tele­vi­sion As­so­ci­a­tion un­der a project dubbed ‘Pro­pella.’

Fund­ing for the project, a script-to-screen pro­gramme aimed at nur­tur­ing Ja­maican con­tent cre­ators and pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance as well as in-kind sup­port, came from the Cul­ture, Health, Arts, Sports and Ed­u­ca­tion Fund. Robin­son said that the ini­tia­tive, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, will be run an­nu­ally.


Fol­low­ing a show­ing at the Toronto Film Festival and the of­fi­cial world pre­miere at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in Septem­ber, the films are now on a film festival cir­cuit. Stops in­clude film fes­ti­vals in Johannesburg and Pre­to­ria, South Africa, Fort Laud­erdale and Belize, Robin­son said.

The films are: Shoot the Girl, writ­ten by Tony Hen­driks and di­rected by Natalie Thomp­son; Sugar, writ­ten by Sharon Leach and di­rected by Michelle Serieux; Shock Value, writ­ten and di­rected by Adrian Lopez; Ori­gins, writ­ten and di­rected by Kurt Wright; and Silent Hearts, writ­ten and di­rected by Janet Mor­ri­son.

Robin­son spoke ex­clu­sively to The Gleaner re­cently at the Na­tional Gallery, af­ter a panel dis­cus­sion by four film-mak­ers on the sub­ject, ‘Kingston: Film­ing the City, a part of the gallery’s cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Kingston, Part 1: The City and Art’, which closes on Novem­ber 5.

The ex­hi­bi­tion of paint­ings, sculp­ture, ce­ram­ics, film and pho­tog­ra­phy ex­plores the dy­namic be­tween Kingston’s growth as a ma­jor com­mer­cial and cul­tural cen­tre and the de­vel­op­ment of Ja­maica’s vis­ual arts and in­fra­struc­ture.

The panel – com­pris­ing Franklyn ‘Chappy’ St Juste, Natalie Thomp­son, Nile Saulter and Ran­dall Richards - was mod­er­ated by Dr Ju­lian Cresser, a Uni­ver­sity of the West Indies

It has been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The film com­mu­nity in Ja­maica came out and worked on these films, many for lit­tle or no pay.

lec­turer in the Depart­ment of His­tory and Ar­chae­ol­ogy. He teaches au­dio­vi­sual his­tory in that depart­ment and lec­tures in other cour­ses in the uni­ver­sity’s her­itage stud­ies pro­gramme.

The wide-rang­ing panel dis­cus­sion touched on the pre­sen­ters’ re­la­tion­ship with Kingston, the films they would like to make or have made about the city, the cre­ation of a dis­tinc­tive Caribbean film lan­guage and the his­tory and fu­ture of film-mak­ing in the re­gion.

Robin­son said that the Pro­pella project was mul­ti­fac­eted. It in­volved tal­ent dis­cov­ery (mak­ing a se­lec­tion from many ap­pli­cants of five tal­ented young Ja­maican film­mak­ers),

ca­pac­ity build­ing (train­ing them at a boot camp in script con­sul­ta­tion and di­rect­ing) and con­tent cre­ation (the pro­duc­tion of the five brand new Ja­maican short films, each about 10 min­utes long.) The en­tire pack­age lasts one hour and 10 min­utes.

“We took the en­tire del­e­ga­tion to the Toronto Film Festival, then to the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival last month,” Robin­son said. “It has been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The film com­mu­nity in Ja­maica came out and worked on these films, many for lit­tle or no pay.”

She con­tin­ued, “The films, which were shot any­where from over a week­end to two weeks, are ex­cel­lent! They are re­ally the hall­mark of the fu­ture of film-mak­ing in Ja­maica.

“At the pre­miere in Trinidad, I had the op­por­tu­nity to speak to Panel­list Natalie Thomp­son (left) shares thoughts on Ja­maican film with JAMPRO Film Com­mis­sioner Re­nee Robin­son.

other film com­mis­sion­ers from other Caribbean is­lands. They were amazed that we had done this, so they’re now look­ing at our model to repli­cate.”

She said that the short film project was ideally aligned with

JAMPRO’s re­mit of find­ing tal­ent and cre­at­ing mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties. “JAMPRO’s role is re­ally ex­port,” she noted, “and we want to cre­ate in­ter­na­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties with Pro­pella.”

This Syd­ney McLaren paint­ing, ‘The City Kingston 1977’, is part of the cur­rent Na­tional Gallery ex­hibit.

Panel­list Franklyn ‘Chappy’ St Juste (left) and JAMPRO Film Com­mis­sioner Re­nee Robin­son.

The panel (from left): Franklyn ‘Chappy’ St Juste, Nile Saulter, Natalie Thomp­son and Ran­dall Richards.

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