Tue | Jul 14, 2020

A ‘Babylon’ resurge at Cinema Paradise 2019

Published:Wednesday | October 23, 2019 | 12:18 AMKimberley Small/Staff Reporter
Members of a panel at Cinema Paradise last year.
Members of a panel at Cinema Paradise last year.

Thematically relevant, considering this year’s spotlight on the Windrush generation, Cinema Paradise 2019 will mount its bridge between film-makers from then and now, from the United Kingdom and Jamaica. The three-day film festival will open on Friday, November 1, in celebratory fashion with a screening of diaspora classic Babylon (1981). Customary to the festival’s dedication to community development and engagement, Babylon will be screened at The Ambassador Theatre in Trench Town and will invite conversation from cast and crew.

British screenwriter Martin Stellman, who co-wrote the screenplay, will be one such panellist, sharing the film’s origin story. Stellman is best known for writing The Interpreter (2005), starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. He recently teamed up with Idris Elba on his feature film directorial debut, Yardie (2018). In addition to Stellman, Babylon star Brinsley Forde will be present to discuss the film’s resurgence. In the movie, Forde plays Blue, a disenfranchised young man who takes refuge in South London’s sound-system subculture. Ibo Cooper will lead the Edna Manley School of Music and National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica in a musical performance and provide entertainment for the screening’s after-party.

“True to the compassion and values of our founder, Dr Paul Rhodes, we are committed to making a meaningful difference in the host communities we screen. The Trench Town opening will benefit the Joy Town Community Development Foundation, and it is our hope to leave a lasting, beneficial impact,” festival director Vivene Levison said.

Portie Film Festival

Following the festivities at The Ambassador Theatre, Cinema Paradise will be back in its Portland home for the rest of the festival. Shantol Jackson, Dahlia Harris and Kadeem Wilson will be the stars among the audience for a special screening of Storm Saulter’s Sprinter (2019) at Goblin Hill Villas at San San. Though the film’s plot crosses between Jamaican and United States borders, the diasporic theme is transferable. Also in attendance will be Sheldon Shepherd, from the Yardie cast, who will take the mic for the after-party with his musical outfit, The No-Maddz.

On the final day of Portie Film Festival, reggae poetess and singer Jah9 will lead a morning session of ‘Yoga on Dub’ – to be followed by an afternoon of short-film screenings at Great Huts Beach. On the roster are films sourced from the Jamaican diaspora in the US and the UK, as well as some curated from this year’s JAFTA Block. The films are Jerk by Raine Allen-Miller, Unspoken by Danae Grandison, Ladies Day by Abena Taylor-Smith, Masterminds by Kurt Wright and Cross My Heart by Sontenish Myers.

According to Levison, the festival’s community outreach in Portland will give attention to the Portland Rehab Homeless Shelter.