New film festival for Spanish Town
Human resource is all Jamaica has left to exploit and export and it could very well be the island's answer to solving issues of poverty, crime, and violence. According to film director Craig 'Amaziyah' Kirkland, Jamaica's Government needs to invest in its people so that they can help themselves and, in turn, develop their communities.
Kirkland, who is now putting plans in place to host the first staging of the Films, Arts, Music and Entertainment Festival, also called STAR FAME Festival in Spanish Town on November 22, believes the island has several talented youth who want exposure, but lack the assistance to develop their respective skills.
The director, who hails from one of Spanish Town's inner cities, says the film festival is one of those bold steps that will unearth hidden potentials.
"We don't really have anything else. The factories are not here. We can only talk about the people and the creative industry, the music, the films and the arts. That is why we say STAR FAME Festival, because it involves the whole creative aspect. When we say arts we talk about poetry, arts, drama, and all of these things will be featured at this festival, even though we are promoting it as a film festival," Kirkland said.
Make the venture a success
The festival will be held at the Lloydie Peak Complex, 12 Frazer's Boulevard, Frazer's Content in Spanish Town, and Kirkland is also hoping that corporate Jamaica, JAMPRO and the Government will join his team and make the venture a success.
Kirkland disclosed that several sponsorship proposals had been submitted to various government agencies, private companies, and business people, but conceded that negotiations have been unfavourable.
Kirkland is, therefore, encouraging JAMPRO and the Government to take a more proactive approach to developing the film industry.
The STAR FAME Festival has already attracted entries from aspiring film-makers as well as dancers, poets, and musicians. The director also disclosed that he was even receiving film submissions from persons residing in rural Jamaica.
Awarded by Northern Caribbean University for his work on the local film Stay Firm, the director also advised up-and-coming directors to cover a broader range of stories about the Caribbean instead of only directing their focus to gangster culture in their productions. He singled out Destiny as a local film that opted to paint Jamaica in a different light, aside from the violence normally portrayed by some directors.
Aspiring film directors in the August Town community are currently benefiting from the August Town Film Project, which started in 2013, an effort by the Centre for Tourism Policy Research via its community outreach component.
At the time of its launch, Professor Ian Boxill of the Department of Management Studies at the University of the West Indies, explained that the community had a rich history that deserved to be told through the lens of persons from the community.
"If you read the (August Town's) history, it's a remarkable place. We decided to try to let them tape their stories because they were very concerned about how they were perceived," Boxill told The Sunday Gleaner.
JAMPRO's film commissioner, Carole Beckford, also recognises that Jamaica's human resource is in need of more investment and attention. JAMPRO invited American entertainment business consultant Horace Madison to speak at a workshop hosted in July.
Madison's views somewhat mirrored that of film director Craig Kirkland, however, the consultant also promised that he, along with JAMPRO, would source foreign investors to assist with the nurturing of local talent. He also said despite US monopoly in the film industry, getting finance is just as difficult as in Jamaica.
"I've seen the same type of challenge in the US. Talent and finances don't speak the same language, but we can make them speak the same language. I know business people here who believe in the talent and are willing to put their money into the development of talent because I know that talented people are here," he said.
The STAR FAME film Festival will feature comedic duo Apache Kid and Sarge, Amaziyah The Great, Mark Ras, Nicky J Gospel, Nascine and Oshin, dancer John Bling, as well as several up-and-coming film directors. Persons interested in submitting short films for review or sponsorship may email firstname.lastname@example.org.