Tue | May 23, 2017

GATFFEST expands footprints, to showcase 30 international films

Published:Monday | June 22, 2015 | 6:00 AM
'Just Action' (local documentary).
A scene from 'Time Machine', an international comedy.
'Cuerdas' (international animation).
'Breathe Horror' (international scifi horror).
'Cedric Stone' (local drama).
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Greater August Town is no longer a community in Jamaica, its name has reached international acclaim, thanks to the signature film festival that was conceived and nurtured in this community.

This year, GATFFEST (Greater August Town Film Festival) has shortlisted 50 films to be screened at the fest.

"We have about 50 short films that will be screened during the festival," informed Mellissa Tulloch, project coordinator, UWI Community Film Project (UWICFP), organisers of GATFFEST.

"Of the 50 films," Tulloch said, "we will be screening about 30 international films, six of which include submissions from the region, about 15 local films and five films that are produced from students of the UWICFP."

The crescendo is building as the fest, which is now in its third year, moves to its pinnacle. The volume of international entries has positioned the festival's uniqueness, sustainability and mass appeal, and reaffirming that creativity knows no boundaries or bounded by barriers.

"We received and accepted submission from USA, Canada, Japan, the UK, Poland, Spain, India and Brazil," Tulloch said, adding that films from Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti have also made it to this year's screening list.

"We have a very exciting line-up of films this year!" she said.

Also making debut at GATFFEST 2015 is the category of animation, the other categories include comedy, documentary, drama, romance, sci-fi and horror.

All 50 shortlisted films are being currently judged by a panel of judges. "The audience will also be voting for their favourite each night," Tulloch said.

The winners will be announced during the closing night and awards ceremony on June 28.

The festival opens in Kingston with a red-carpet gala affair and a film exploring the life of Amy Jacques Garvey, wife of national hero Marcus Garvey. Other activities include workshops and the screening of local and international short films along with an awards ceremony.

A number of activities are being organised during the course of the week.

GATFFEST opens on June 25 with the premiere of the locally produced film The Epiphany, which tells the story of a young man who is catapulted into the past and encounters Amy Jacques Garvey.

The action moves to Montego Bay on June 26, where a film workshop is being organised at UWI Western Jamaica campus and a Film Night, which will showcase a selection of local and international films.

On Saturday, June 27, a film workshop will be organised at Courtleigh Auditorium, which is targeted to community representatives, persons interested in film and the general public. A selection of films will be screened in the evening.

GATFFEST reaches its climax on June 28, with the screening of films and announcement of GATFFEST 2015 award winners.

Acclaimed Barbados filmmaker Marcia Weekes will be conducting workshops in Kingston and Montego Bay, and her film Vigilante is to be premiered at the cinema at Sovereign Centre on June 29.

This community film festival, in the short span of three years, has grown exponentially, nurturing local talent, telling stories of success and opening doors to international collaborations.

Films, they say, transcends one to the realm of the unknown

"Give them pleasure. The same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare," Alfred Hitchcock once said. GATFFEST continues to exude those emotions.

amitabh.sharma@hotmail.com