Reggae Film Festival grows
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Long before declaring the 2011 Jamaica Reggae Film Festival officially open on Monday night at Studio 38, Trafalgar Road, New Kingston, a beaming Barbara Blake Hannah remarked "my, how we have grown!"
She said that at four years old, the festival is almost standing on its own feet, thanking the sponsors for their support.
Among the growth areas is the Make a Film in 24 Hours competition, sponsored by RBC/RBTT, which started at 9 a.m. on Monday, with 16 teams of one to five persons each slated to hand in their films yesterday at 9 a.m.
It was also noted that 11 Jamaican films are being screened this year, only two were shown at the festival's first staging.
Celebrated actor Carl Bradshaw said that creativity is a composition of sight and sound and, having done well worldwide with the sound, it was now time for Jamaica do the same with sight through film.
Still, the music has formed a good foundation for the sight, as Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica Celsa Nuno Garcia said that in looking for the link between Spain and Jamaica, she recognised that Rototom Sunsplash hosts its second staging in Benicassim this year.
For good measure, she said that a bar named Old Jamaica has opened in Madrid.
Garcia spoke to the financial side of creativity, noting that the "potential of Jamaican culture has not been economised and exploited". Also, she pointed out that "the combination of the film industry and reggae holds an endless array of possibilities".
Still, it is not all finances, as Garcia also pointed to the sense of national identity and social cohesion which the arts bring.
"These become even more important when there is a tendency towards uniformity," she said.
"Creativity makes sense, not just for economic reasons, but social reasons."
Roxanne Linsday of RBTT spoke to the bank's support of the 24 Hour Film contest and also noted that the bank supports festivals in Trinidad and Toronto, Canada.
"We trust this signals your entry into a world where great opportunities abound for the emerging artist," she said.
Digcel's Sandra Lindsay reiterated the company's commitment to the festival before blessings from Rastafari elder Sam Clayton and Blake Hannah declared the festival officially open.
Two shorts, Bad Influence and Reckoning, were slated to be screened right after the opening, with the full-length Holding On To Jah and Rocksteady following. The short Dinner was scheduled for screening before Endless Sunshine.
Yesterday's schedule included an acting seminar with Audrey Reid, Carl Bradshaw and Carl Davis in the afternoon, with Come Forward - Intensified, Invitation, Sweetest Mango and the documentary Lee Scratch Perry part of the night's fare.
Today, a music seminar with David Hinds and Sugashak Records is set for 2 p.m. and the 24 Hours entries are slotted in at 6:30 p.m. Heaven and Hellshire, Reggae Britannia, Beyond Babylon, Pages of Life, Supersonic Sound, Rastafari and Case of Thuggy Thuggy Rufus complete the night.