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'Red Amber Green' surpasses expectations

Published:Sunday | May 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

Done as something fun with no formal training in film, young actor-dancer Christopher Byfield says the success of his short film Red Amber Green has surpassed all his expectations.

Byfield said the idea for the film came from the ingenuity of 'street boys' at stop lights in the Corporate Area and their drive to survive.

In Red Amber Green, Byfield tells the story of three Jamaican teenage boys (played by Adrian Wright, Byfield and Damarah Danni) struggling to make ends meet on the difficult streets of Kingston. They make a living primarily as vehicle window washers and juice vendors at the stop lights.

Many Awards

But with not much of a budget or formal training in acting, directing, producing or writing, the film that was made last year has received three film awards, as well as a spot on Flow TV's Channel 100.

In April, he copped the 'Best Overall Film' title in the short film competition at the Lignum Vitae Film Festival. The competition was held at Northern Caribbean University, Manchester, and was put on by the institution's Department of Communication Studies.

Byfield also received the award for the 'Best Director - Short Feature' in the Cine Jamaica Short Film Challenge at the Reggae Film Festival held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

Red Amber Green was also selected as the 'Best Short Film 2012' at the Caribbean Tales Film festival in Barbados.

"I feel surprised because I didn't expect it. I have never really encountered anything like that," said Byfield, who has played roles in The Blackburns of Royal Palm Estate and Secret 21.

"One of the main surprises was in Barbados 'cause I was competing with other persons from the Caribbean."

Byfield explained that he knows "what he is capable of in terms of the drive and ambition, but when I see the response, I realised that it's going to be a huge responsibility and I have to continue".

He noted that he will be hunting for new opportunities and has already submitted the film for viewing in countries like Trinidad, Italy, Belize and the United States.

While he remains optimistic that they might get a spot at film festivals in these countries, Byfield says he knows that there is no guarantee that it will be shown. Nonetheless, he says he feels pleased that the film will be one of the films on the Reggae Film Festival tour that will take place in Birmingham, England, on May 18.

"Red Amber Green is now a brand and what I realise is that I am highlighting the lifestyle of the youth and people are now viewing them differently. I have to continue the brand and produce more and raise the Jamaican flag even more," Byfield said.

He added that he has also been contacted by TV stations which love the film and want to turn it into a series. While that is still uncertain, Byfield said he will definitely be doing other short films in the future.