It's a family affair - Pension, 'Dead Lef" To Fund New Film, says Lennie Little-White
With more than 700 episodes of Royal Palm Estate in his extensive catalogue, filmmaker, Lennie Little-White, has commenced his next journey of leaving a beacon for the new generation of Jamaican filmmakers. Little-White's latest film, It's A Family Affair, will take "lights, camera action", at the end of May.
"Call this my creative rebirth after my retirement from the stuff I have been doing since returning to Jamaica in 1973," the director/producer tells The Sunday Gleaner, from his home in the hills of St Ann. "I want to create a new creative crucible for emerging actors, writers and directors in an emerging, indigenous Jamaican feature film industry. This will be my ultimate gift to Jamaica."
His gift, a 90-minute film, depicts a Jamaican who becomes a member of the nouveau riche after changing his status to multi-millionaire.
"It's A Family Affair, is a comedy aimed at a family audience," he explained, giving The Sunday Gleaner, and its readers more insight.
He was however coy, refusing to reveal how the protagonist joins the ruling class, "this is a secret that the scriptwriters will not reveal until you see the movie", he said, at the same time warning, "expect a culture clash with the assembly of British aristocracy, Millenials from New York and the Jamaican host whose new found wealth has allowed him to step up to instant prosperity".
According to him, the main character in, It's A Family Affair, wastes no time in inviting his extended families overseas to join him and his wife for a family reunion at Jamaica's newest five-star resort, MELIA Braco Resort, Trelawny.
Filming on the north coast he says, allows the country the opportunity to show off the glamour of its tourism product...the best of Jamaica, this should get tangible support from the Jamaica Tourist Board", he added.
This new venture he says, is also an artistic challenge that will test his mettle as a filmmaker who is still in evolution with the takeover of the digital era. It is also his latest theatrical movie since he made, lory to Gloriana, in 2006.
His other theatrical release was, Children of Babylon, in 1980. In between the movies he and two partners founded CVM-TV where he made over 700 episodes of Royal Palm Estate-cum-The Blackburns.
According to the Palm Production filmmaker, auditions will be held in late April, he says, noting that local fashion designs and home-grown music will be integral to the movie which will utilise an all-Jamaican crew and cast. Already, the actors who have been shortlisted, have all had major roles in movies or television dramas. At the top of the list is a major international star of the dancehall, said Little-White.
The film is being done on a shoestring micro-budget from his pension and family "dead lef" he says, there are no sponsors per se, but private sector firms will do product placements.
"So far, Flow was the first to sign a contract to participate...but several other major brand names are in negotiation for product placements," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
The talent pool
Going forward, Little-White wants to create a Jamaican genre of low-budget movies that will tap into the talent pool of the country's world-class actors, screenwriters and film-crews.
Jamaica's beautiful landscapes and a multiplicity of attractions will feature prominently in this the first effort in its class. The film will be ready for exhibition before the end of 2016. Other feature films will follow thereafter.
It's A Family Affair, will be distributed locally, throughout the Caribbean, the Diaspora market and internationally.