Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Local film-makers need new approach, says Little-White

Published:Sunday | May 22, 2016 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Executive producer of 'The Blackburns of Royal Palm Estate', Lennie Little-White, watches as a scene is shot at the great house.

Lennie Little-White is today urging fellow film-makers to try a different approach when it comes to producing films.

The veteran told The Sunday Gleaner that for years, local film-makers have tried without much success to make huge films from meagre budgets. He is hoping that industry players will have an epiphany very soon as the survival of the local film industry depends on them finding a new approach that works.

"Jamaican film-makers have been trying to make Hollywood-type movies on broke-pocket budgets. This approach will never work," he said, explaining that more money needs to be spent on marketing the finished product.

"Having made the film, you must spend the same amount on marketing to create a buzz and build the hype. We never have the money to do the marketing."

He used the success of the Nollywood films to drive home his point, highlighting that the Nigerian film industry has been able to reap the benefits of a successful industry because the film-makers there spend their financial resources wisely.

"Nigerian films have succeeded because they work with small budgets that allow them to make a profit at home. This is the model Jamaican film-makers should follow if we want to create a profitable indigenous feature-film industry," he said.

White, the main man behind 700 episodes of the hit TV series Royal Palm, explained that a successful industry is one built on great stories, which are abundant in Jamaica.




"The secret to future success is not hardware but rather great stories that tug at the heart," he said explaining that his latest film will be an example of how a great story is able to carry a film on a short budget.

"It's a Family Affair is a family comedy with no guns, no violence, no ghettos, and no sex. Our budget is really a shoestring one, and the film was only made possible because of the resources we have acquired over 40 years, but it promises to be a great production because all of the people involved in the project have bought into the idea that we are creating a new genre of indigenous and sustainable feature-film production."

Ity Ellis (one half of the comedic duo Ity and Fancy Cat), Bertina Macaulay, Brian Brown, Dahlia Harris, Tony 'Paleface' Hendriks and Emprezz Golding have all been selected to be part of the cast. Well-known playwright Aston Cooke has been called in as co-writer of the film.

Shooting for the film is expected to begin this month at the Melia Braco Village in Rio Bueno. The complete film is expected to be ready for the silver screen by September. Negotiations are already under way with Palace Amusement for the cinematic release. The film is then expected to be released online.

White, who prides himself on showcasing Brand Jamaica in his productions, told The Sunday Gleaner that the film will use local talent in all aspects of the production - from the crew to the music selected as part of the film's soundtrack.