Fri | Jun 23, 2017

Powell's film follows 2010 Incursion's young

Published:Monday | June 19, 2017 | 6:00 AMKimberley Small
Allan Powell, director of ‘Children of the Incursion’, speaking at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, Mona, last Thursday at the opening of GATFFEST 2017.
Professor Ian Boxill speaking at the opening of GATFFEST 2017.
Professor Archibald McDonald, principal of the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), addressing the gathering at the opening of GATFFEST 2017.
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Allan Powell premiered his debut short film during Thursday's opening night gala of the 2017 GATFFEST Film Festival, held at the Faculty of Medical Sciences and Teaching Complex, UWI, Mona. The documentary, Children of the Incursion, was produced by Powell to explore the psychosocial impact of the Tivoli incursion in 2010.

The 22-year-old film-maker traversed the borders of his neighbourhood, Denham Town, and rival, Tivoli Gardens, collecting the voices of youth who were forced to hunker down amid the gunfire. During the screening, the film sometimes pulled short gasps from the audience, along with slow, sombre head shakes.

Powell experienced the incursion as a 15-year-old and Children of the Incursion gives first-hand accounts of the horrors he witnessed. In graphic retellings, the film takes a sober gaze into the psychological and social aftermath of the battle in Tivoli, utilising the voices of the young, some of whom were then just nine or 10 years old.

The film opens with the camera's lens peering through a concrete cylinder, spying on children approximately the ages in 2010 of those interviewed for the documentary at play. The happy images contrast starkly against the picture interviewees painted of the inner-city massacre.

 

PLATFORM FOR ARTISTES

 

Professor Archibald McDonald, pro-vice chancellor and principal of the University of the West Indies, said in his opening address that in its five years, GATFFEST had grown to provide a platform for artistes around the world to showcase intricate stories that delve into the consciousness of today's global citizens.

"It goes without saying that this year's selections will highlight a wide range of emotional, social and cultural issues that depict the struggles and achievements of our global community, while highlighting social issues that are to date unrecognised or silenced in entertainment," McDonald said.

McDonald praised GATFFEST, saying that it has given many of Jamaica's most impoverished communities the opportunity to shine a light on their extraordinary talents, giving the voiceless a voice.

GATFFEST 2017 continues daily until Saturday's awards ceremony.