The Jamaica Film Academy has moved the dates of the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL 2011 from February to May 23-27, 2011, to be held at the Whitter Village, Ironshore, Montego Bay. With its commitment to highlighting Jamaica’s reggae culture in film, the Reggae Film Festival will celebrate two international milestones during the week-long event. The birthday of Emperor Haile Selassie I will be honoured at the Opening Night Gala on May 23, while the UN Year of African Descendants will be celebrated with a special programme of films on May 25, African Liberation Day. Other features of the Festival include the Make a Film in 24 Hours competition, a Children’s Film programme, a Film Seminar featuring specially invited VIP Guests and a final night Honour Awards showcase of the winning films.
The REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL has been invited to be part of two major cultural events in Britain this year. The Drum Arts Centre in Birmingham, the largest venue for Black arts in Europe, will present the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL as part of its Summer season’s theme of Reggae & Revolution, while the Wandsworth Festival to be held in London in August, is designed to showcase Caribbean Culture. The Best of the Reggae Film Festival will be presented at programmes in Atlanta, USA in June and in South Africa in July, while in August the Festival will once again be a feature of the Rototom Reggae Sunsplash in Spain.
Films already entered include the US feature film ‘ROCKSTEADY’ featuring David Hinds of Steel Pulse; SUPERSTONIC SOUND, a tribute to Black British film maker and dubmaster DJ Don Letts; EVERYDAY SUNSHINE,a documentary about the US rock-punk-reggae group Fishbone narrated by Laurence Fishbourne; and THE SKIN by HamaFilms Antigua, featuring Carl Bradshaw. Invited international guests include Laurence Fishbourne, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lennox Lewis, Carl Lumley and Mitzi Allen, as well as Jamaican film makers Chris Browne, Ras Kassa and Storm Saulter.
There are several advantages to moving the event to the new date in May. Since announcing the February date, the organizers have received notification of several important films that wish to be included in the Festival, but that are not yet ready for screening in February. They include a major British TV series and several Jamaican feature and documentary films that hope to include the Reggae Film Festival in their film’s resume and hopefully, awards.
The Whitter Village welcomes the new dates. “I am pleased to have more time for the Village to settle in after its December opening,” says Angela Whitter, “and to make sure that everything is in place for what I know will be the most unusual and interesting event taking place in Montego Bay this year, at the most unusual and interesting place in Montego Bay.”
The REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL continues its plans to make the 2011 event a worthy showcase of Jamaican film culture.