Sherando Ferril seeks to help local film industry
Jamaican actress, director and producer, Sherando Cupid-Ferril, has her sights set on helping to move Jamaica's film industry to a place where it can actively compete on the international market.
Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner, in a recent interview, the popular personality explained that the country's industry has the potential to become a force to be reckoned with on the world stage but suffers from a lack of support from both the Government and private sector companies. Pointing out that Jamaica does not lack talent, Ferril explained that the industry should be far more advanced than it is, but stressed that there are not enough risk-takers supporting the local film fraternity.
"If we want to big up your country we need to have the vision to recognise talent and then have the courage to invest in it. It's a matter of finding a way for Government and private sector to say, 'oh, this is a good thing, mek we tell some real Jamaican story and then investing in the actual film-makers who want to make it happen'," she said.
"Part of the problem that I have with some of my Jamaican brothers and sisters in terms of private sectors is that they love to do the wait-and-see thing. Look at all the excitement that now surrounds Usain Bolt and many other athletes. That sense of pride and the private-sector support did not come about easily. That came from individuals working hard for their goals. When they were struggling nobody was paying them any mind, they had to dig deep in their own personal reserves to make something happen, and then when something happens that's when everyone wants to jump on board," she added.
Ferril went on to say that both the government and private-sector companies need to do more to support local talent.
"They don't have the vision and aren't willing to take risks. Based on my exposure here (in NY) one thing I'm sure of is that Jamaica nuh short a talent. We have a lot of talent and in some cases we have drive. We are making good movies, you know, and doing more than we were doing a few years ago but there needs to be some kind of infusion and excitement that sweeps across the nation."
Ferril, who just completed her master's degree in film-making from the New York Film Academy in California, encouraged persons interested in pursuing careers in the local film industry to go overseas and enrol themselves in related programmes if the opportunity presents itself.
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"I believe that if you want to be at the top of your game in anything, in any industry, then the smart thing to do is to associate yourself with people who are at the top of their game, so if the opportunity exists for you outside of the country, go. You can get the knowledge and carry it back home," she said.
"There are people there (in Jamaica) who have experience and sometimes practical is better than theory but when you are in an environment such as Hollywood, what it does is expose you to a variety of options that being home sometimes doesn't allow you."
With a master's degree under her belt, Ferril is now looking to assist in the development of the local film industry by making more contributions as writer, director and producer. Ferril, who is currently living in Hollywood, says she is looking forward to telling Caribbean stories on the biggest stage in the world but has to first build a name for herself.
"I want to be my own boss. I'm working towards being an executive producer so that I'm able to have the final say in the product that is presented to the world bearing Jamaica's name."
Ferril, who has been involved in the film industry since she was 17 years old, created history shortly after completing her studies at the academy in January. She became the first Jamaican to be offered a job as a lecturer at the prestigious New York Film Academy, right after completing her yearlong course at that institution.
"The school I graduated from has invited me back to teach which is unprecedented, as I found out afterwards," she said. "I am to date the first student to graduate and immediately be invited back to lecture."
Ferril started working earlier last week and has five classes that consist of between 12-16 students in each class. She is also popular on the local circuit for her lead role in the production of Higglers, as well as a cameo in the hit Jamaican movie, Ghett'a Life. She is also the voice behind the Jamaica Public Service's popular radio programme, Power Connection.