GATFFEST introduces film market and pitch competition
For their seventh staging, the GATFFEST Film festival returns with expansive ideas in action. This year, the largest community film festival in the Caribbean will add two particularly special elements – a film market and a pitch competition, both intended to propel filmmakers’ potential beyond production, and to hopefully engage with those who have not yet got the chance to produce anything.
“A film market is a place where people exchange goods and mostly services in relation to film and film-making. The reason we’re having the film market is because we believe that in order to establish the industry, we need to go beyond just showing our products. What we need to do is create content which people are able to trade, buy and sell, so that we not only become consumers of content,” said Professor Ian Boxill, deputy principal of UWI, Mona, and festival founder and director.
Scheduled for Saturday, June 22 on The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, GATFFEST’s film market is a one-day trade fair aimed to create an environment for producers and content buyers to network and showcase their projects.
The first of its kind in Jamaica, the market will involve local and regional stakeholders, television and cable stations, independent producers, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, actors, technical personnel and others.
“[It’s] where people in the industry and related industries can display their products and services, discover new trends, network and conduct business. There will be booths, workshops, tech demos, film screenings and for the first time, the GATFFEST Short Film Pitch Competition,” deputy director of the festival, Savannah Peridot, said.
Months ago, the festival invited submissions from film-makers or anyone with an idea for a short film. “We got over 30 submissions. We’re going to choose the top 10, and they will have an opportunity to present their ideas to judges at the film pitch competition,” Peridot continued.
They will also receive story development and mentorship support during workshops and one-on-one meetings leading up to the competition.
Following the judging, the top three concepts will get the opportunity to produce their films, courtesy of the Bob Marley Foundation.
At the core, GATFFEST is a community festival. Organised by the Centre for Tourism and Policy Research at UWI, the festival was created as an outlet for graduates of the UWI Community Film Project to show what they produced during training.
Sustaining its original intent, the festival embodies the concept of community through its theme and inclusive executions.
This year, GATFFEST’s theme focuses on climate change and environmental sustainability with the title Beneath The Surface, named for one of the festival’s two première films - produced by the UWI Community Film project. The second is called Island Strong by director Clish Gittens from Barbados.
“On May, 25, our pre-GATFFEST programme starts off with Community Film Night in Montego Bay, where we show some of our favourite short films from last year. Then on June 1, we will have Community Film Night at the iconic Ambassador Theatre in Trench Town,” Peridot shared.
The official festival timetable kicks off on Friday, June 21, concluding on Sunday, June 30.