IN THE SPOTLIGHT

This week:

MACKA DIAMOND STARS IN ‘REDEMPTION OF PARADISE’
JOSEPH’ FILM TRAILER COMPLETED – SURPRISE GUEST STAR
NEW PRESIDENT FOR JTI
SOUTH AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL INVITES CARIBBEAN FILMS
‘NO PLACE LIKE HOME’ SCREENS IN HARLEM

Jamaican and Caribbean films have become a focus of attention around the world, resulting in a flutter of recent activity in film circles and the production of several feature and documentary films. Rick Elgood’s well-made TV series “Me an’ Mi Krew” is currently in prime time repeats on Jamaica’s CVM-TV, while documentary film maker Mary Wells has taken her first step into feature film production with “Kingston Paradise” which wrapped recently.

I was recently given a copy of “Crazy Abdul”, a G-Flex Films production out of Portmore that is mostly guns, Gaza and Gully, but which the director assures me sells well to fans of Nigerian films. The quality of these films is always unexpected, but the fact of their existence and popularity is a positive step towards a film industry as productive as Jamaica’s music industry.

While Jamaica continues to lead in numbers of productions, the island of Antigua has become a film-making mecca, with another production recently completed by the very prolific 18-year-old company Hamafilms Antigua, producers of “The Sweetest Mango” (2001) who are currently editing “The Seed” a thriller which also stars Jamaica’s Carl Bradshaw.


‘REDEMPTION OF PARADISE’
Antigua was recently the location for “Redemption of Paradise”, a feature film starring dancehall diva ‘Money-O” Macka Diamond – a flamboyant stage personality and author of a sensational autobiography. Described by its director Noel “Doc” Howell M.D., as ‘an epic story about guns, drugs and redemption’, the film recently held a premiere at Weekenz show venue in St. Andrew with the media hype at high level because of its celebrity star.

The story features Macka as a retired police officer returned to live in her island ‘paradise’, who finds drug dealers have caused crime and violence to increase. She sets out to create the redemption of paradise, confronting the bad men and generally rallying the island people. Macka does a fairly good job of acting and projecting her well-known persona on the screen. It’s a pity her hard work was not accompanied by a more professional videographer, sound and lighting crew that would have produced a more polished production, but viewers are promised a sequel in which we can only hope these problems will disappear.

When questioned about her take on the movie, the money goddess stated, “I feel good, it’s a new experience for me and I think it was a good attempt. I know my fans are just going to love the movie. I’m up for any criticisms because there’s definitely going to be a part two and any comment on the first will give us an opportunity to build on the second.”

One interesting aspect of the production’s very professional packaging and marketing campaign is that the film will go straight to DVD sales after a brief cinema run, showing that the producers of films like these realize that they can only hope to earn some profit from home and party collections before piracy swallows up their hard work.

I give “Redemption of Paradise” an A for effort and nominate Macka Diamond as one of the contenders for the Best Actress Award of the 2010 Reggae Film Festival.

‘JOSEPH’ FILM TRAILER COMPLETED – SURPRISE GUEST STAR
Jamaica Media Productions in association with Musical Circus, is proud to announce that the company is in pre-production of the feature film JOSEPH based on my novel JOSEPH – A RASTA REGGAE FABLE.
Scenes were recently shot on location at Buju Banton’s Gargamel Studios to produce a trailer to be used as a marketing tool for investment and distribution. Videographer Allan ‘Endless’ Tennant filmed using a Sony XE camera, with sound recorded by Rohan Foster. Editing of the trailer was done by MultiCast Entertainment with help from CPTC studios.
Among those playing roles in the film are well-known Jamaican actor Carl Davis (‘Royal Palm Estate’, ‘Third World Cop’, ‘Almost Heaven’); Singer/TV/Radio hostess Empress Mullings and Makonnen Blake Hanna, plus a very special Guest Star, former World Heavyweight Boxing champion Lennox Lewis whose film career includes a lead role in the British film Johnny Was”. You can see the JOSEPH Trailer at YouTube/JaMediaPro.

NEW PRESIDENT FOR JTI
Welcome to Mrs. Stacia Templer who has been appointed President of Jamaica Trade and Invest, the Government agency that spearheads and invites overseas investment in Jamaica and in that capacity supervises the film industry. Coming from the Office of the Prime Minister where she served as chief technical officer for planning and development, she will undoubtedly bring a fresh approach to the responsibilities of the post.

Giving his reason for dismissing former CEO Robert Gregory, Minister of Industry & Commerce Carl Samuda said that foreign investment had stagnated and what remained on the books reflected carry-over investments primarily from Spanish hotels completing construction projects already underway and from Flow, which has invested heavily in technology infrastructure over the past few years.

In a story pulished in the Jamaica OBSERVER August 28, the Minister is quoted as saying: “What we want to do is have a virtual explosion of investment, local and foreign, in agriculture, and strengthen local activities that enable local businesses to get into production for export. Entertainment and sports should also be a critical focus at JTI. We have to be satisfied that the leadership of the organisation must be able to aggressively address these challenges in an appropriate and meaningful way,” he said.

The administration and development of the film industry under the control of JTI has been less than satisfactory to many members. It is hoped that the new President and also the improvements being made to the Motion Picture Encouragement Act will bring a fresh approach to managing the exciting opportunities for investment and income from the burgeoning Jamaican film industry.

SOUTH AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL INVITES CARIBBEAN FILMS
In the past 2 years there has been a surge of interest by international film festivals seeking Jamaican and Caribbean films and the organizers of the Reggae Film Festival are frequently contacted with requests for programming. Here’s an invitation from a South African film festival.

ALUTA FILM FESTIVAL 2010 – Dates: Monday 22 – Saturday 28 February 2010
OFFICIAL CALL FOR ENTRIES – Monday 30 November 2009
The organisers of the ALUTA FILM FESTIVAL, South Africa’s premier township cinema event, are calling for entries from South African and International filmmakers for 2010, the 7th edition of the festival. The 2010 film festival edition will be hosted on the 22nd till 28th February 2010 in Kimberley – South Africa. We are interested in showcasing Caribbean films at our next edition of the ALUTA FILM FESTIVAL 2010.

Submissions MUST be from filmmakers who have produced films that embrace BLACK experiences worldwide and/or experiences of marginalized communities from across the globe. Submissions MUST be from filmmakers from all over the world with special emphasis on world cinema (films that explore history, social issues and highlight marginalized communities within the developing world).

ALUTA FILM FESTIVAL accepts features, documentaries and short films in the genres/sub-genres of drama, action, thriller, comedy, animation and factual. Filmmakers must guarantee, should their film/video be selected, that permission from the rights holder is secured for a minimum of four screenings at the 7th annual Aluta Film Festival 2010.

Filmmakers are requested to submit DVD PAL screeners of their films and a brief filmmaker biography for viewing by our panel, upon viewing – all selected filmmakers will be forwarded the official application details as well as all festival regulations. Please note that no screeners will be returned.

For additional information feel free to contact festival director at motheoseleke@yahoo.com. All entries MUST be forwarded to the below mentioned address:

Motheo Seleke; Aluta Film Festival; 18985 Guttenburg Pitse Street; John Mampe. Phase One; Galeshewe. Kimberley. 8300; South Africa

NO PLACE LIKE HOME’ SCREENS IN HARLEM

Perry Henzell’s second feature “No Place Like Home” which he commenced in 1974 and finished in 2007 screened August 16, 23 and 30 at the Maysles Cinema in the heart of Harlem as part of the Keeling Reggae Caribbean Film series tribute to Henzell.

The film which stars Carl Bradshaw, Countryman and P.J. Soles, was shown at the Flashpoint Film Festival the day after Henzell died in 2007 has yet to have an island-wide release in Jamaica. Supporting the film was Chris Browne’s documentary ‘A Hard Road To Travel” of interviews with Henzell and others who helped make “The Harder They Come” the success it became.

HAVE A GREAT WEEK!!!

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