CYFF Paving the way for Film Tourism in St. Lu­cia?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Faye-Chantelle Mon­de­sir

Fes­ti­vals are noth­ing new to Saint Lu­cia but the Caribbean Youth Film Fes­ti­val (CYFF) is def­i­nitely one with a dif­fer­ence. In­no­va­tive in it­self, it has been es­tab­lished through the Rise Film Fes­ti­val and is unique to the Caribbean. Hav­ing em­ployed as its mech­a­nism a strate­gic mod­ule of teach­ing the film and tele­vi­sion art form to youth, it seeks to build holis­tic and pro­duc­tive cit­i­zens.

Lo­cal film­maker Colin Weekes, who has emerged from a back­ground in video pro­duc­tion, hav­ing pro­duced au­dio/vis­ual ma­te­rial for com­pa­nies and or­gan­i­sa­tions lo­cally, re­gion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, is the co­or­di­na­tor of the fes­ti­val.

Weekes has been rec­og­nized in the past for his bril­liant work by the M& C Fine Arts Awards as well as the Saint Lu­cia Me­dia As­so­ci­a­tion. His most re­cent achieve­ment is hav­ing been the re­cip­i­ent of the BFI Film Fes­ti­val Award in Eng­land.

This year’s work­shop com­mences July 11th and runs un­til Au­gust 19th. It will aim to ap­peal to many youth groups and in­di­vid­u­als. The fes­ti­val will also tar­get in­sti­tu­tions like the Boys’ Train­ing Cen­tre, Up­ton Girls’ Cen­tre and school chil­dren in gen­eral dur­ing the sum­mer. “We are hop­ing to en­gage them as part of a sum­mer ac­tiv­ity in which they can learn var­i­ous skill sets, from pro­duc­tion to ba­sic life skills; time man­age­ment, ev­ery­thing which per­tains to film mak­ing,” shared Weekes.

He told the STAR, “Film is the one in­dus­try that en­com­passes a wide ar­ray of skills, from ac­count­ing to mar­ket­ing, writ­ing and things more cre­ative in terms of act­ing and pro­duc­tion.

“Since we live in a multi-me­dia age, it all re­lates to how well you work with your com­puter and how well you work with those other in­stru­ments.”

The ini­tia­tive is be­ing un­der­taken through the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, along­side the Min­istry of Trans­for­ma­tion, Youth and Sports, in or­der to ex­pe­dite the sum­mer pro­gramme. In con­clu­sion of the pro­gramme, an awards cer­e­mony is sched­uled for Au­gust 20th, 2016. The dead­line to sub­mit films is Au­gust 10th.

When asked about his ul­ti­mate goal in re­la­tion to this fes­ti­val Weekes replied, “We wish to de­velop a film in­dus­try in Saint Lu­cia be­cause we know there is a lot of po­ten­tial for film to be part of a ma­jor eco­nomic boost. The other as­pect of it, which I want to clar­ify in terms of the film in­dus­try, is that we are talk­ing about Saint Lu­cia as a na­tion and not nec­es­sar­ily Saint Lu­cia in terms of cre­at­ing film mak­ers to pro­duce ma­te­rial, where we can en­cour­age out­side film mak­ers and pro­duc­tions to come to the is­land and use here as a des­ti­na­tion. How­ever, we need to put cer­tain things in place: reg­u­la­tions. poli­cies and li­censes to ac­com­mo­date this.”

Those in­ter­ested in this year’s film fes­ti­val are en­cour­aged to con­tact the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion or cweekes@dovprostlu­cia.com.

Film Fes­ti­val Di­rec­tor Colin Weekes.

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