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Christopher Daley applauds JAMPRO for Jamaica Film Festival

Published:Saturday | June 13, 2015 | 6:00 AMCurtis Campbell
Christopher Daley (right) and Dahlia Harris in a scene from the play ‘Ol Fyah Stick’.

Veteran actor/comedian Christopher 'Johnny' Daley, has lauded JAMPRO for endorsing the first staging of the Jamaica Film Festival. According to Daley, he has long yearned for this moment in the local film industry.

The festival, set to be hosted in various venues in and around Kingston from July 7-11, not only creates an avenue for local film directors to showcase their work, but is also poised to set a standard for Jamaica's film production.

JAMPRO has so far selected 13 Jamaican directors/writers to screen their films at the Jamaica Film Festival 2015.

"It is a huge event. I was honoured to be a part of the Belizean Film Festival and while I was there, I was watching all these film participants and enthusiasts flying into Belize and I was saying to myself, when are we going to do this for Jamaica ... well, it is happening now," Daley said.

The actor also says he hopes a stronger industry will emerge from the platform being set by the Jamaica Film Festival.

"Jamaica Film Festival is an international film festival which will showcase the work of Jamaicans to potential bidders and maybe facilitate potential screens overseas. We hope certain things will spawn from this, like a union to protect the rights of actors, producers, directors, writers, etc. We will have a real industry emerging from this," he said.

Brand Jamaica

Daley also believes Jamaica's brand should not be very difficult to package and export via movies.

"We are capable to infiltrate the Nollywood market and Bollywood markets. Our culture is the biggest asset we have and we are already a brand. People might not know where we are, but they certainly know about Jamaica. There is a billion-dollar film industry out there and we just need to get our act together," he said.

Red Stripe is the title sponsor of the Jamaica Film Festival 2015, and according to senior communications manager at Red Stripe, LeVaughn Flynn, the company is in full support of the creative arts.

"We have always had an eye for the creative arts ... we had the Heineken Inspire Programme, which had a film element to it, where we appealed to young film-makers to make a short film representing the brand Heineken. We also had the Make the Cut Competition, which focused on responsible drinking, again we reached out to the young film-makers and both programmes were very successful and we received real quality entries," he said.

JAMPRO also highlighted that the festival requires an investment of up to US$200,000, and they are open to both private and public investment.

Films will be screened at Red Stripe Headquarters, Courtleigh Auditorium, Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records, Triple Century Sports Bar and JAMPRO Auditorium.

Veteran video director Ras Kassa will be one of the featured directors at this year's film festival. His entry is called Rastaman Wheel Out, and stars reggae artiste Chronixx.

entertainment@gleanerjm.com