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SOE forces Cinema Paradise VIP Launch and premiere to relocate

Published:Tuesday | October 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
Carl Bradshaw
‘Countryman’, a Jamaican fisherman (second left), is the centre of attraction at the premiere of the film of the same name which was held in March 1982 at the Carib Theatre. ‘Countryman’ plays himself in the movie which always features well-known Jamaican Carl Bradshaw. The film is an Island Pictures production.

In response to the state of emergency (SOE) affecting the Trench Town, Kingston area, the opening events of the Cinema Paradise Portie Film Festival slated for the Ambassador Theatre on Thursday, November 1 have been relocated. The VIP launch and premiere screening will instead take place at The Roof Top of the Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The original plan was to screen one of Jamaica's first feature-length films - Countryman. "Due to the unknown implications of the recent declaration of SOE, we chose the safe route in the interest of both our local and international patrons," festival director Vivene Levison told The Gleaner.

"Plans to light up 'The Bass' and screen influential films of today and yesterday at Jamaica's equivalent to Harlem's Apollo Theatre will now take place in 2019," she added.

Despite this logistical hiccup, organisers are confident that the festival will kick off with the same energy they had originally intended. After the screening, there will be a panel discussion featuring legendary Jamaican actor Carl Bradshaw and Caribbean poet Ann Margaret Lim. "I look forward to hearing the stories of how Countryman was 'discovered', and I am therefore happy to be on the panel and express my thanks to the organisers for including me," Lim said.

Cinema Paradise runs from Friday, November 2 to 4 in Port Antonio, with screenings at Kanopi House, Great Huts, Alligator Head Foundation, the Port Antonio Craft Village and Goblin Hill Villas in San San. Saturday night's Salute to Jamaican Filmmakers at Great Huts in Boston Bay will feature new local productions. "We are very excited to have the Jamaican premiere of our JAFTA Propella short films at this year's Cinema Paradise Portie Film Festival," said Analisa Chapman, president of the Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA).

She added, "The fact that Cinema Paradise will also benefit worthwhile causes further cements the Jamaica Film and Television Association's support of projects or initiatives that assist in community development and in promoting Jamaican film and creativity in all forms. A creative space itself, Great Huts is a perfect home to the festival."

Mandatory donations are included in all ticket prices from Cinema Paradise, which will benefit the Eira Schader Home for the Aged in Trench Town (VIP Opening Night) and the Portland Rehab Management Homeless Shelter (All Port Antonio screenings).