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TAXI TALES - Local animated series comes to cable TV

Published:Sunday | January 30, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Laranzo Dacres, Sunday Gleaner Writer

The daily encounters of a Jamaican taxi driver which take front seat in the animated series, Cabbie Chronicles, is set for premiere on Flow OnDemand next month.

The series will put viewers into the life of a fictitious taxi driver known as Cabbie, who throughout the episodes will navigate the absurd complexities of modern Jamaican life, while using his station wagon to transport passengers.

"We wanted to do a Jamaican animated series and we knew we could do it with the team we had . So, we used our combined talents to produce content of a high quality that could stand up internationally," Alison Tabois Latchman, CEO, producer and director of Alcyone Productions, said.

The two other brains behind the development of the series are Alison's husband, Anieph Latchman, creative director and animator, and Marlo Scott, an illustrator.

Telling a story

"We decided to tell the story through the eyes of a taxi man because on the road is where Jamaica happens and not in an office," Latchman said. "We figured it was the best way to explore all the possible situations that could occur in every corner of Jamaica without exclusion, whether uptown, downtown, roun' town, country, hilltop or in a valley. Basically anywhere, because a cabbie goes everywhere," she said.

According to Latchman the first episode, which took the team almost two years to be completed, has almost 40,000 views on YouTube soon after it was uploaded.

"We entered our first episode of the Cabbie Chronicles into the Animae Caribe Animation and New Media Festival in Trinidad last year. And Cabbie won. We received the D.E.W Best Caribbean Animation Award for our Jamaican entry."

Latchman studied performing arts in London while her husband, Anieph, and Scott received training in graphics design and illustration at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew.

"The response has been excellent so far. Everyone have been asking to see more and that they love it. The comments on our YouTube channel have been encouraging and great," said a gleeful Latchman.

Real-life scenarios

The director said the series will draw on real life 'on-the-road' Jamaican scenarios.

"If you use the streets in Jamaica, you know that anything can 'kick off' at any time, so the range of Cabbie's journey is wide. You will have to watch the series to find out the specifics," Latchman told Automotives.

"Road users are oftentimes careless. Time and time again, you will see them using their Blackberrys while driving. I don't need to mention the repercussions of that," she said.

"Cabbie will definitely be providing commentary on these and other issues and hopefully help to bring about some change," Latchman explained.

She said the premiere of Cabbie Chronicles will soon be on cable TV.

"The series is currently in production and is set to air on Flow OnDemand in February, so look out for it," Latchman said.