Thu | Jun 24, 2021

Growth & Jobs | Increasing demand for local film professionals – Robinson

Published:Tuesday | July 30, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica’s Film Commissioner, Renee Robinson, has reported major success in the commission’s delivery of signature talent programmes and initiatives during the 2018/19 financial year.

These productions resulted in increased demand for local film professionals, heightened exposure in international markets, and continued development of the creative economy.

Robinson informed that the ‘Propella’ initiative, an undertaking which identifies and assists up to five local film-making projects throughout the year with script development, production funding and engagement with various markets, continued to open windows of opportunity for film-makers globally throughout the review period.

The engagement, which is spearheaded by the Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA), facilitated the production of four new films last year.

Robinson pointed out that one of these - ‘Flight’, which was directed by Kia Moses,won three awards, including ‘Best in Festival’, at the Black Women Film Summit, and scored a meeting with HBO.

‘Flight’ also won ‘Best Short Film Fiction’ at the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, France.

The period also saw Director, Storm Saulter’s feature film - ‘Sprinter’ - winning the ‘Best Narrative Feature’, ‘Audience’ and ‘Best Director’ awards at the American Black Film Festival in June 2018.

The film also copped awards at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and the Nouveau Regards in Guadeloupe.

Under the Business of Sustainability for Studios (BOSS) programme, two international animation productions were outsourced to local production companies.

The BOSS programme aims to groom 20 existing animation production studio executives to grow their businesses into sustainable and profitable production and animation entities; support the development of the local animation industry; and, ultimately, transform the landscape in Jamaica to encourage greater local direct investment in the creative economy.

Two feature film projects, Tony Hendriks’ ‘Shoot the Girl’, and Letay Williams’ ‘Traytown’, each received local seed funding of $500,000.00 from the Film Lab programme.

Robinson noted that Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), in collaboration with the British Council and JAFTA, facilitates the initiative - a talent discovery and project preparation programme that takes feature films from the initial stages and develops the writer, editor and producer.

Another major event during the period, was the staging of the first Film, Animation and Music Investor Forum, which saw 22 investors attending and 63 local projects represented.

The forum included networking opportunities, meetings and discussions on marketing creative projects for investment.

“We have noticed an increased demand for the visibility of Jamaican and Caribbean content. So, the conversations are shifting,” the commissioner noted.

She pointed out that the dialogue initially focused on matters such as tax incentives and destination filming, among other areas.

“But the conversations that we are now having are about what is being produced in Jamaica; how can they see Jamaican content; who are our leading talents,film makers and producers;and how they can get a sense of what we are working on. So there is a market demand for what we are creating,” Robinson added.