Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Mark Deacon dreams of becoming Jamaica's best film director. It's a dream inspired by his love of directing and a need to provide greater opportunities for aspiring directors who, like him, continue to be overlooked.
The latter, especially, is why he and Ricardo Rose and Andrew McKay created V/Wiz Productions that operates from March Pen Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine. It is also why he is among the top-three contestants in the film category of the Heineken Inspired competition that seeks to unearth creative talent here in Jamaica. The competition that began on March 9 ends on April 22 when the winner of a million dollars in prize money will be announced.
Deacon's entry in the competition is called Heineken Inspired Moments. Basically, he said, the film is about a guy who woke up in love with Heineken. He decides to get to his favourite beer early before the crowd gets in at the local bar. On his way rushing to the bar he disrupts and discombobulates several persons along the way, angering them and they give chase. The man gets to the bar, and gets his bottle of Heineken which he looks at lovingly even as the angry mob, armed with sticks, stands ready to pounce. In the end, he buys everyone Heineken and they proceed to enjoy the beer and have fun together. Deacon says his aim was to show Heineken as having the power to change a moment.
The up-and-coming director, who was trained by Orville Hall, says if he wins he will use the money to buy equipment - lights, reflectors and cameras that he needs to produce his films, as well as pay the actors who performed in his film. This, he says, will allow him to offer opportunities to young directors, producers and actors as, in most cases, during auditions only the veteran actors and directors are given the nod. He wants to change that, and winning this competition would be the first step.
Like Deacon, Craig Kirkland also has ambitions of becoming more actively involved in film. He became really excited about film and editing when he visited the United Kingdom and saw a friend edit a music video. "I never knew how to capture or to edit so I was fascinated," he said. On his return home, he received instructions but craved formal education in the discipline.
In the meantime, Kirkland, who is from Frazer's Content in St Catherine, has worked on music videos for an entertainer called Apache Large, and has a couple of short films on Youtube, which he said helped him gain the attention of industry players, who recommended that he see Barbara Blake-Hannah, who runs the annual Reggae Film Festival. Last year at the festival, he won a Blackberry smartphone in a 24-hour film competition, and prior to that an honour award in the same category.
Find a Mate
Kirkland's entry in the Heineken Inspired Competition is called Find A Mate and is about a lonely woman looking for a mate. Her mother advises her to go in search of a mate and is eventually inspired by a poet, who later shares with her a moment while drinking Heineken. If he wins, Kirkland intends to use the million-dollar prize money to get further education in film and purchase film-related equipment.
Shermaine Hill's piece is called Up and Running and it tells the story of a man who gets hit by a vehicle and was told by doctors that he would never walk again. However, he sees some men partying while enjoying Heineken and he gets up from his wheelchair and runs off with a bottle of his favourite beer. "I wanted to tell a story that everybody could relate to," Hill said.
Like his competitors, the 22-year-old aspiring film-maker hails from Spanish Town, and sees where there are many youngsters who possess the creative talent to become film-makers but do not have the opportunity or the equipment to develop their skills. It is with this reality in mind that he - if he wins - plans to use the prize money to buy film-making equipment and employ people with similar skills.
He once worked with Children First, an organisation that caters to the needs of children who have dropped out of school, and the Bashy Bus Crew, providing them with his film-making services. Winning, he said, would also allow him the opportunity to expand. "I could kick off the thing properly," he said.
... photogrqphy, graphic art also impressive
Twenty-one-year-old structural engineering student Tiffany Hanson has a deep, burning passion for photography. You could say she is an inspired artist. Her art category entry in the Heineken Inspired Competition that concludes on April 22 is a black and white photograph of a scantily clad friend lying on her stomach and looking directly at the camera, but whose eyes are the same shade of green as a Heineken bottle.
"You can see how the Heineken is changing her," explained Hanson, who attends the University of Technology. "It's like the Hulk when he is transforming, his eyes turn green." Only in this case, the beautiful subject is not becoming a monster, just being inspired by Heineken.
Hanson began experimenting with a simple digital camera about two years ago and has been in love ever since. "I really love photography," she said, "people wouldn't even understand. I am doing something I love; photography is where my heart is."
She upgraded her camera recently by commandeering one belonging to her younger brother, a Nikon D60. If she wins, she plans on buying a better-quality camera and returning her brother's, as he has been inspired by her work and now wants to pursue photography as well.
Naceve Blackstock is an arts teacher who is really into his art. "I love to paint, I love to draw. I am also into sculpting and ceramics and very much into graphics," said the man who is teaching part-time at Jose Marti High School. Using graphic arts, he likes to create surreal imagery, he said, and that is what his entries into the Heineken Inspired competition are all about.
The design shows a man looking to approach a girl in a nightclub as his essence reaches for a Heineken which will inspire him to make his move. He actually used his own image in the design, which he believes has a good shot at taking the top prize in the arts category.
Blackstock says he loves to create designs that resemble a 'dream world', and if he wins he plans to use the money to jump-start a graphic design company. "Graphics are really marketable so I am trying to get my graphics design business off the ground," he said. "My designs are a bit different from the regular." You might even say his designs are inspired.