Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Players look for support, more professionalism
Despite the aspirations and vision of the directors, many are faced with the undermining factors of little or no investments, as well as a lack of professionalism.
The Gleaner spoke with director Diavallan Fearon, who staged a demonstration at Carib Theatre, hoping to get his locally produced film aired in the cinema after it was rejected by Palace Amusement.
Fearon feels Jamaicans lack proper business ethics and local directors need more help.
"We need to understand business principles. Some Jamaicans believe things happen overnight, but movie industries like Nollywood weren't built overnight. It took time and crafting to get where they are now. Many Jamaicans are too money hungry and so they are not willing to sacrifice for growth. They want pay immediately, but it doesn't happen like that in an industry that's just building. You have to work hard to build it," he said.
Fearon believes some persons are seeking a way to hustle, rather than facilitating real development.
"The Jamaican music industry is a hustle, and they want to do the same thing with the film industry. Funding is also scarce. We need help even from the Government. In places like France, the government has set aside funds for artists to continue their work. We should have something like that," Fearon continued.
"Most of the local directors are not trained and it's not that we don't want training, but we can't afford tertiary education. In Jamaica, for us to survive it's the fittest of the fit. Wi a feel it and wi nah get no help, the Jamaican Government only rob the people," he said.
Veteran producer and director at Stages Production, Bunny Allen, believes a lack of unity among industry players has hampered development.
"For our film industry to be booming like Nollywood, we have to work as a group. It can't be a cut-throat thing because funding is limited. We need to come together. If we continue like this we won't go very far," he said.
Lacking good production
"Everybody feel like they are directors now, so it's all watered down. Most of these people are not trained and that only damages the industry more than build it. If a man comes here to invest and sees some of our poor directing, he won't want to be a part of it. We have to behave like an industry. In Nigeria, they have some form of training, unlike us. So we have it harder. Look how long it took us to get another good production like Harder They Come?" Allen asked.
Storm Saulter, director of award-winning film Better Mus' Come, says Nollywood used guerrilla marketing to get their films accepted, however, that is not a method he would encourage in Jamaica.
"The quality of some Nollywood films are highly rated, but I don't think we should try to be Nollywood. There are millions of people in Nigeria, so they had room for trial and error. In Jamaica, we should make a quality film, Nollywood is about quantity instead of quality. The Harder They Come is known more than any Nigerian film and it is over 40 years old. So quality is what we should be striving for.
"I am supportive of anybody who makes films, its better you do that than sit down doing nothing. But, it's better to spend time and make one good film than make 100 films that have no quality," Saulter said.
Saulter has a new movie that is being aired in Canada, while Bunny Allen is gearing up to release a sequel to Bashment Granny.