Reggae Film Festival 2013 AWARDS

Awards in the 2013 JAMAICA INTERNATIONAL REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL presented August 5 at Island Village, Ocho Rios.
born in trenchtown poster (2)DOCUMENTARY:’BORN IN TRENCHTOWN’ (USA); DIR: Greg Pond.
DIR: Judith Faloon-Reid, BarriVision Productions

Patrice J. 052 green jacket grin
Patrice Johnson

INT. FEATURE FILM: ‘HILL & GULLY‘ (USA); DIR: Patrice Johnson.God-&-all-o-we Productions
Keeper Of Zion GateCulture promo


Nat Dub
Natural Dub

MUSIC VIDEO: ‘MYSTICA – (COSTA RICA); Natural Dub – Costa Rica


CINE JAMAICA – ‘THE CROFT – (JA); DIR: Wayne Benjamin, Fabrikated Projex
ANIMATION: ‘‘TEAM X’ (JA); DIR: Stephen Williamson (JA)
Madge Sinclair Award

stranded n Dangriga
Stranded In Dangriga


nomaddz-rise above profanity
Rise Above Profanity



JAMAICAN TRAVELOGUE:  JTB AWARD Inspiring appreciation for the beauty and people of Jamaica.  ‘JAMAICA THROUGH THE EYES OF CARL BRADSHAW’; DIR: George Tait, Guerilla Film International (CAN/JA)

team X
‘TEAM X’ – DIR: Stephen Williamson

ONE LOVE AWARD:  Films that promote the RFF objective to inspire World Peace.          ‘THE COTTON HOUSE‘; DIR: Russ Brandon (USA)

YOUNG FILM MAKER AWARD: Stephen ‘BigBomb’ Williamson. For excellence in both Film and Animation.

Special Thanks to the RFF Technical Team: BariVision Productions,, Peter Chung, Tina True and Makonnen Blake Hanna, with support by  Delroy Morgan – Island Village, Sugashak Records, Orange Hill Records & Jamaica Tourist Board.


Reggae Film Festival begins

new posterThe JAMAICA INTERNATIONAL REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL opens on August 1 at the start of Jamaica’s Independence celebrations and runs for 5 days at Island Village in the beautiful resort town of Ocho Rios. More than 20 international film directors are flying in from Los Angeles, Washington DC, Toronto, Atlanta and London. They include Director Patrice Johnson and the cast of her feature film “Hill & Gully‘, British teen Gia O’Meally, star of the TV series “Which is Witch”, Monica Haim, director of the documentary ‘Awake Zion‘ that explores the relationship between Zionism and Rastafarianism and director Roy Anderson who explores his Maroon roots in ‘Akwantu’.born in trenchtown poster (2) Jamaican film makers are travelling from Kingston and Montego Bay to join them in the annual celebration of Jamaican culture in film with films that include the island’s first horror film – Wayne Benjamin’s ‘The Croft’ and first gospel film ‘Just Another Friday’ by director Judith Faloon-Reid.

With a preponderance of films by female directors, the 2013 festival honours WOMEN IN FILMWomen In Film with a special tribute to the late actress Madge Sinclair, star of ‘Conrak‘, TV series ‘Trapper John MD‘ and her iconic role as Eddie Murphy’s royal mother in “Coming To America’. Other Jamaican women in film include Grace Jones, Bond girls Martine Beswick and Marguerite LeWars, as well as Sheryl Lee Ralph and Leonie Forbes, Jamaica’s leading stage and film actress. The 2013 Festival highlights Jamaican Women In Film, directors Judith Faloon-Reid, Sharon LaCruise, Patrice Johnson and Danielle Scott-Haughton.

stranded n Dangriga
Stranded in Dangriga
lovers rock
Lovers Rock

Daytime activities include a Pop-Up Book Fair all day Sunday, August 3, and afternoon seminars on Acting – led by TV actor Justin Hadeed Awn; Scriptwriting, at which Donna-Marie Dowe will announce the 2014 Scriptwriting competition, and Animation led by Sam Stewart. Throughout the Festival, Village shops Island Coffees and Jose’s Bar will be open to provide food and drink for patrons, with special beach-side service on Sunday.

TruBornAfricanThe Opening Night Red Carpet reception will be hosted by Jamaica Film Academy Chairman Carl Bradshaw, with St. Ann Mayor and MP Shahine Robinson as special VIP guests. Invited guests include dignitaries from civic, tourism and business sectors of St. Ann, who have welcomed the Reggae Film Festival to the Parish. They will be joined by celebrities from Jamaica’s film and music industries in the 5 day festival, which ends with presentation of Awards in several categories and screening of Award-winning films.

The Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival is sponsored by Island Village, Jamaica Tourist Board, IRIE-FM, Island Coffees, Barivision Productions and Reggae Films UK.


‘TRUE BORN AFRICAN’ World Premiere @ Reggae Film Festival.

TruBornAfricanThe documentary film “True Born African: The Story of Winston ʻFlamesʼ Jarrett” will have its world premiere at the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival this August. The film tells the story of legendary reggae pioneer Winston “Flames” Jarrett, known for his work with Alton Ellis & The Flames, Winston Jarrett & The Righteous Flames, and innumerable solo efforts under his own name and various pseudonyms. This is the first film to be made about Jarrett and is also the first film from director Nicholas John Nakis.  The world premiere screening will be held at Island Village in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, as part of the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival 2013 starting at 11:00pm on Sunday, August 4th. 

Born in 1940 in Lime Tree Gardens, Saint Ann Parish, Jarrett grew up in the Jones Town area of Kingston after moving there with his mother at the age of five.There, he was taught to play guitar by Jimmy Cliff and Alton Ellis.Jarrett’s introduction to the music industry was as a member of Alton Ellis’s backing band The Flames in the early 1960s, formed when Ellis’s original singing partner Eddie Perkins emigrated to the US, singing on hits such as “Dancecrasher”, “Cry Tough”, “Rocksteady” and “Girl I’ve Got a Date”.While with Ellis he wrote songs such as “Sunday Coming” and “True Born African”. In 1967, Jarrett parted ways with the UK-bound Ellis and with fellow Flame Edgar “Egga” Gardner formed The Righteous Flames with Junior Green, and the trio recorded for Arthur “Duke” Reid’s Treasure Isle label and then for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One label. In 1969 they also recorded for Lee “Scratch” Perry (“Zion I Love You”). In the 1970s, they were generally billed as ‘Winston Jarrett and the Righteous Flames’.Among the members of The Righteous Flames was Danny Clarke, who left to form The Meditations in 1974.

In the 1970s, tired of recording for others without receiving adequate payment, Jarrett self-produced much of his output, releasing it on his own Attra, Human Rights and Humble labels.Jarrett recorded as a solo artist in the late 1970s and 1980s, releasing the Wise Manalbum in 1979 and Rocking Vibration in 1984. He re-formed the Flames, releasing the albumJonestown in the late 1980s and in the early 1990s recorded a tribute album to Bob Marley, also featuring Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

“True Born African” follows Jarrett from his current home in Seattle, WA, to his old neighborhoods in Jamaica, with a stop at the Reggae On The River music festival in California. Along the way, Jarrett shares stories about the music and philosophy that have kept him strong through six decades in the music business. This is the story of a man who rose from the poverty of Kingston ghettos to achieve international musical success. Starting in the 1960s, his voice graced numerous number-one hits in Jamaica as a Ska and Rocksteady musician, and he is one of the first to ever play the style of music known to the world as Reggae. Jarrett is a devoted Ras Tafari who met His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I on His visit to Jamaica in 1966. A singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and writer, now in his 70s, this pioneer and mentor to several generations of reggae musicians has recorded 20 albums in his career and continues to tour the world.

The film was produced in Seattle, WA, with filming in the USA and Jamaica. Run time is 48:40.

Filmmakers Travel Free to Reggae Film Fest

stranded n Dangriga
LOST IN DANGRIGA – Feature from Belize for the 2013 RFF

 knutsford xpress logoIslandwide shuttle-service provider Knutsford Express has partnered with The Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival to provide VIP transportation for film festival directors and producers attending the event, especially those arriving from outside Jamaica. All directors of festival films, as well as specially invited guests, will travel free on Knutsford Express coaches from Montego Bay or Kingston to Ocho Rios to attend the event, taking place August 1-5 at Island Village Shopping and Entertainment center.

As part of the partnership, the Reggae Film Festival has presented Knutsford Express with a specially selected package of Award-winning films from previous festivals that will be shown on all Knutsford Express coach routes during the 5-day film festival, including the new South Coast route.

Knutsford Express Marketing Manager Christian Corke stated that while the organization is usually not in the position to commit to such an event during the summer, it did not want to miss out on associating with such a major event as the Reggae Film Festival that will help in improving the Jamaican and Caribbean film industry.

The Knutsford Express shuttle service provides air-conditioned luxury coaches on north and south coast routes,and has earned a reputation for reliable, safe and courteous all-island transportation.  Other Sponsors of the Jamaica International REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL are Island Village, Jamaica Tourist Board, IRIE-FM, Marley Coffee, HYPE-TV, Island Coffees,ChatyChaty News and the Ocho Rios resorts Shaw Park Hotel, Sunset Jamaica Grande and Mystic Mountain.



APRIL  18, 2013

island village


Plans are going well for the staging of the 6th Reggae Film Festival at Island Village, Ocho Rios during Independence Week, August 1-5.   Manager Delroy Morgan says Island Village is pulling out all the stops to ensure the success of the event, to which he personally brings his experience of 3  years as a Sundance Film Festival volunteer.

Seats will be set on the Island Village central lawn under the statue of Bob Marley, facing a large screen onstage under the classic bamboo roof. Each night a programme of Festival feature films, shorts, documentaries and music videos will be shown.  In between screenings, live reggae performances will entertain audiences, who will have a chance to vote on the Best Music Video.

Premium screenings will also take place nightly in the Cove Cinema in the Village, which will host the Film Festival Gala Opening Reception. The Reggae Film Festival ends August 5 with the presentation of Awards and award-winning films.

In the daytime, Reggae Film Festival activities will include the midday start on Saturday August 3 of the Make A Film In 24 Hours Competition, which ends the following day.  The Film Festival Seminar will take place on Sunday afternoon on the topic: “Film: The Business of the Show”.


rhona-fox-02bokeem woodbineAmong the VIP Guests who have already confirmed their presence are US actor BOKEEM WOODBINE, star of “Total Recall” and “Dead Presidents” who visited Jamaica recently scouting locations for a new feature film.  Also coming is GuyaneseAmerican actress RHONA FOX who heads her own successful music promotion and management company, FoxFuze whose clients have included reggae star Shaggy.  Both will be among the judges of the Festival films, as will BRUNO CHATELIN, Chief Operating Officer of the respected website and magazine, who is also  a Board Member of the European Film Academy, Member of Cesar, and Advisory Member IFFS.


theskin poster Keeper Of Zion GateCulture promoAmong the films to be screened are six feature films, including the first from Austria, as well as the first from Antigua — “The Skin” starring Jamaica’s Carl Bradshaw.  Reggae documentaries include the first from Israel, ‘Keeper of Zion Gate‘ about Joe ‘Culture’ Hill‘s Peace mission to that country, and a rare view at “The Land of Look Behind‘, a vintage documentary about Rasta and reggae by noted German film maker Werner Herzog.  International documentaries include ’16 Acres‘ a US film in its Jamaican and Caribbean premiere about the struggle to build a suitable tribute to 9/11 at the World Trade Center, a documentary on Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe and a special look at Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt.

Films by Jamaican film makers will be screened on CINE JAMAICA night, Friday August 2 and will include several animated films, shorts and ‘The Croft’  a new feature film by Wayne Benjamin. CINE JAMAICA films will form a special night’s programme at the upcoming Portobello Film Festival in London

Awards in several categories will be presented on Tuesday, August 5 at a Gala Ceremony at which a leading Jamaican reggae star will be the guest performer.  An After Party will bring the curtains down on another Jamaica International REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL.


Ol’ pirates yes they rob I, sold I to the merchant ships.…’ BOB MARLEY

Ziggi Golding

In a shocking development, while the organizers of the Jamaica Reggae Film Festival have been waiting since October 2011 on the promise of a contract from a British organization to bring the event to London for the Olympics and Jamaica 50 celebrations, the England-based organizers have instead pirated the Reggae Film Festival concept, booked reggae films directly and designed a new logo that advertises the Reggae Film Festival as part of a British event that competes with the official Jamaica 50 celebrations being held at the O2 Arena.

Festival Jamaica 2012, scheduled to begin July 27 in Stratford, London, is organized by UK-based Ziggi Golding and a British team. The event website advertises a Jamaica Film Festival and a Reggae Film Festival as key events of an 11 day programme. The event, which promises to be an annual activity that will tour the UK and Europe promoting Jamaica, has no official Jamaica approval or endorsement.


In correspondence with RFF organizer Barbara Blake Hannah and Festival Jamaica organizer Golding dating back to June 2011, the Reggae Film Festival was invited to be a pivotal event of the Festival Jamaica 2012 activity and advertised on its website. However, despite scores of emails over 12 months from Mrs. Hannah to Ms. Golding while the RFF was being advertised on the Festival website, the last promise of a contract and payment for the RFF to be part of the event was made on July 9.

On July 14 the Festival Jamaica website was unveiled with a new Reggae Film Festival logo, a list of films to be shown and information that the film festival is being programmed by an employee of the BBC whose media center is housed at the Festival Jamaica 2012 venue, along with the CNN news studio.  The website informs that the 11 days of the Jamaica/Reggae Film Festival will be curated by Maxine Watson, BBC Commissioning Executive for Documentary on BBC One, from the archive of BBC, Independent features, informational and sponsored films.

Films to be shown include ROCKERS, by Greek-American director Ted Bafaloukas; the films LIFE & DEBT, H2 WORKER and AFRICA UNITE by American Stephanie Black; Chris Blackwell’s DANCEHALL QUEEN and COUNTRYMAN.

IMITATION SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY?  Since its inception in 2008 the Reggae Film Festival has been imitated all over the world. In the past five years several Caribbean islands have copied Jamaica’s lead and started film festivals, while in Amsterdam a Dutch company has been hosting an annual screening of films with Jamaican themes and topics, some of which it produces and distributes. This week a ‘German-Jamaican society’ advertised it will present “The FIRST OFFICIAL JAMAICA FILM FESTIVAL” in Frankfurt in October as its Jamaica 50 tribute.

An important feature of the programme proposed by the RFF was the screening of 15 award-winning CINE JAMAICA short, animated and feature films by new, young Jamaican film makers to give an opportunity for their work to gain international attention at the Olympic event. “Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but not the most honourable,” says RFF Director Blake-Hannah. “This piracy of the Reggae Film Festival concept is a real slap in the face for the indigenous Jamaican film industry that is struggling to survive and find resources to capture and tell Jamaican stories.  It’s wonderful to see that we have inspired these events, but at the same time it’s a shame that year after year we struggle to find the support in Jamaica that these international events have. ”

The REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL officially registered its name and logo with the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) in 2008, but registration in Jamaica does not provide international protection. The Jamaica Film Academy committee is considering what steps should now be taken.


The 4th Jamaica REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL was held May 23-28 at Studio 38, New Kingston.  The venue was a tree-covered open courtyard in the PULSE modelling agency complex, decorated by Props & More with a film theme including a massive reel of film and smaller reels hung around the open courtyard.  The stage was divided into performance and screening halves, with films shown on a screen designed like a clapper board, while banners promoting the event’s sponsors provided a backdrop for photographs of the many celebrities and VIPs attending.  A bar offering a wide variety of drinks, and a spacious yard that encouraged socializing, made the venue was a perfect home for the week-long event.

Declared a success by the Jamaica Film Academy organizers, the Festival accomplished several of the JFA’s goals for increasing and improving the Jamaican film industry, and included important cinematic moments.  These included:

* The entry of 11 Jamaican films, an increase from 2 in inaugural year 2008;

* The emergence of a strong body of Jamaican animators creating work that is both amusing, as well as thought-provoking;

* The high quality and increased participation in the Make A Film In 24 Hours competition and its sponsorship by RBTT/RBC Bank;

* The large number of entries from European countries including Britain, Spain, Poland, Slovenia, and the surprising entry from Tehran, Iran;

* The ‘discovery’ of new Jamaican director Vanessa Phillips, winning both the RBTT/RBC 24 Hours Film competition and the Best Short Feature awards’

* The presence of film makers from the USA, UK, Canada, Antigua, Spain including Hollywood actor Cedric Sanders

Cedric Sanders & Jamaican actor Carl Davis

* The sponsorship support by the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, DIGICEL, SUGASHAK RECORDS, IRIE-FM and international companies REGGAE FILMS UK, H&H Pictures In Motion andTait Computer Services.

MAKE A FILM IN 24 HOURS  The festival opened on Jamaica’s Labour Day, May 23 with the start of the RBTT/RBC Make a Film In 24 Hours competition.  Fifteen teams of young film makers, some experienced, others first-timers signed in and waited to learn the ‘element’ that had to be included in each film to ensure no one had started their film before time.  This year’s ‘element’ was: SOMETHING MUSICAL and with this in mind, teams set off.  They were certainly inspired by the prize of JA$50,000 offered to the winner by the Bank as part of its on-going support of the creative arts and especially of emerging young talent.  The following morning 12 of the original 15 returned with completed films, which were then sent to a judging panel composed of the festival’s international film guests, Cordel Green, head of Jamaica’s Broadcasting Commission, and Festival Director Barbara Blake Hannah.  The entries were screened each night of the Festival and as it was too difficult to select only five finalists, six were chosen for the final cut.

 The outstanding winner was the film WHAT IF? by director Vanessa Phlllips, with THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IS IN THE MUSIC by film novices Denise Gladishaw and Regina Beavers, winning for themselves a holiday at Couples Hotels.  The Audience Popularity vote went overwhelmingly to the entry STAY FIRM by Craig ‘Amaziyah The Great’ Kirkland, winner of last year’s competition.  He received a DIGICEL Blackberry Bold as his prize.

Spanish Ambassador H.E. Celsa Nuno (c) and husband, with Roxane Lindsay,RBTT/RBC, RFF Judge Stokeley Marshall and BBH


The Opening Night ceremony was hosted by Jamaica Film Academy Chairman, celebrated actor Carl Bradshaw who starred in the historic Jamaican film THE HARDER THEY COME. He spoke of the link between music and film, saying “Film is a composition of sight and sound. We Jamaicans have conquered the world with our sounds, now it is time to do it with sight.”  Guest speaker Spanish Ambassador H.E. Celsa Nuno Garcia, reminded of the historic links between Jamaica and Spain, pointing out that her country now hosts Rototom Reggae Sunsplash — the world’s largest reggae festival. “The potential of Jamaican culture has not been economised and exploited fully yet, and the combination of the film industry and reggae holds an endless array of possibilities.”  RBTT/RBC Senior Vice President Roxanne Lindsay spoke of the Bank’s support of film festivals in Trinidad and Toronto, Canada, saying how pleased she was to add Jamaica to this list.  Also present was Dr. Maria Smith of the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO and DIGICEL’s Sandra Legister who added her company’s endorsement, while Rastafarian Elder, Bro. Sam Clayton of the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari who was featured in one of the night’s documentaries, brought Ethiopian blessings.

DIGICEL Animation Award winner Reinardo Chung

Film screenings began with the animated film BAD INFLUENCE by self-taught Jamaican animator Reinardo Chung.  This short tale of a would-be gunman is told with 3-dimensional, all-action movement, a rich dialogue and a stunning conclusion to the story, and received loud applause that showed why it won the DIGICEL Best Animation award.  This was followed by HOLDING ON TO JAH, the one-hour documentary by US director Roger Hall that uses interviews, music and historic footage to tell the story of the birth and growth of reggae from the people and beliefs of Rastafari religion.  Several Rastafari in the audience included dub poet Mutabaruka and Elder Empress Sister Mitzie.

US feature film ROCKSTEADY – THE MOVIE starred Cedric Sanders (THE SOCIAL NETWORK) as a Jamaican-fathered young man who tries to become a stock car racer to pay his mother’s mortgage. This film found favour with the audience, thanks to Sanders screen presence, as well as the rocking reggae soundtrack by Steel Pulse — whose lead singer David Hinds has a supporting role andwhich won the SUGASHAK Award for Best Soundtrack.  Both Sanders and the film’s director Mustapha Khan attended the Festival, bringing some Hollywood stardust to the event.  The short feature DINNER by Antiguan director Tameka Jarvis-George was shown next.  This video-poem about a woman’s anticipation of her husband’s homecoming and dinner preparation, raised some eyebrows due to a small moment of implied sexual intimacy, but this in no way affected the positive reception given the director of her film.

Tameka Jarvis-George

FESTIVAL NIGHT 2  To the great regret of the Festival organizers, Antiguan film makers Mitzie and Howard Allen were unable to attend and screen their new feature THE SKIN and their earlier film THE SWEETEST MANGO.  The claymation animated film TRIBUTE TO PETER TOSH by UK director Scally Ranks was shown.  This unique stop-motion technique using clay figures of the artist brought a humourous, yet serious side to the reggae hero’s words about Emperor Haile Selassie, and was punctuated by snippets of Tosh’s songs. This was followed by Jamaican director Wayne Benjamin’s short film THE CROFT —  the first episode of what he described as a horror TV series.  A film script-writer drives to the mountains to restore his writer’s block, and finds a mysterious apparition is following him.

Spanish director Jep Jorba, who attended the first Reggae Film Festival in 2008 with his film RICO RODRIQUES – THE LEGACY, returned this year thanks to sponsorship by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, with his documentary INTENSIFIED – COME FORWARD, narrating the history of the British band that revived interest in Ska in the 1980s and inspired the birth of scores of European ska bands.  This was followed by VISION OF PARADISE, an introduction to a film on Lee Scratch Perry.        Then came the film INVITATION from Iran, which follows a family emigrating reluctantly from Tehran to Baghdad, Iraq.  Narrated by the young woman who filmed it using a cameraphone, the film gives a revealing look into the family’s journey through war-torn territory that is more graphic and emotional than any CNN or AlJazeera news story.


After the 24 Hours Film entries were shown, the evening screened HEAVEN & HELLSHIRE, a short picture-poem about the popular Kingston beach by US director Sugar Cane, who also attended and entered the 2010 Festival. This was followed by the BBC documentary REGGAE BRITTANIA, directed by Jeremy Marre, a history of the influence of reggae in Britain and how the music has impacted on race relations and social interaction.  The film shared the UNESCO Honour Award for Best Documentary with Friday night’s cricket documentary FIRE IN BABYLON. Technical problems cut short the night’s film screenings, which were to have included BEYOND BABYLON by Polish director Michael Szydlowski, SUPERSTONIC SOUND: THE REBEL DREAD by UK director Raphael Erichsen, and THE CASE OF THUGGY THUGGY RUFUS, a US feature directed by Stephanie Slade.  (All films had previously been screened for the judges.)

FESTIVAL NIGHT 4  The Children’s Programme was held at 2 p.m. this year rather than last year’s 10 a.m. slot.  Due to the extremely limited festival budget that did not enable press advertising, the event was not attended by many persons to view the film MADE IN TRENCHTOWN – a documentary by Dutch film social worker Esther Magdenberg about her work setting up a library in Trench Town.  The film KIDS PARADISE – THE GREAT LOST TREASURE HUNT — a children’s TV drama by Festival Director Barbara Blake Hannah, was also shown.

Animators Chung, Alison Latchman, Corretta Singer, and 24 Hours director Amaziyah The Great

The evening’s films began with a live performance by reggae artist Marcus I, who was later featured in the Brazilian documentary VIAJAH.  The animated CABBIE CHRONICLES by Alison and Tabois Latchman, which is a running feature on Jamaican cable TV, roused roars of laughter with its simple 2-D images and wickedly funny script. Playwright Ginger Knight’s play-to-movie ROOM FOR RENT, with rib-tickling performances by Volier Johnson and Deon Silvera, was appreciated by all, including veteran Jamaican actor Munair Zacca, who attended all the festival screenings.

Hawaii-based US director Joe Trivigno, whose 11 MILES TO PARADISE was screened at the 2010 Festival, returned with FROM KINGSTON TO CALI, a concert documentary featuring reggae icon Jr. Reid performing to a full house in San Francisco on a tour of California. This was followed by one of the Festival’s controversial entries, DAVID IS DYING by UK director Stephen Lloyd Jackson.  This story of an HIV-infected upper-class Black stockbroker contained a shocking scene that merited its midnight screening.  Though not strictly a ‘reggae film’, the film’s entry was accepted by the JFA because of its excellent production values, unusual script, good direction and also a stunning performance by the lead actor that won him Honourable Mention on Awards night.


Producer Peter Hargitay accepts 2 Awards for FIRE IN BABYL

The full house attendance on Friday, May 27th showed that despite the lack of press advertising, the word-of-mouth promotion of the festival, plus its continuous reporting in the social media Facebook and Twitter, had brought out film lovers to see three of the most talked-about films of the festival.  This was the night when the six 24 Hours film finalists were screened to the audience and a popular choice selected.  The films were followed by another of Jamaica’s new animation cartoons, JERK CHICKEN by director Samuel Stewart, in which the chickens fight back and which received a standing ovation from a laughing-out-loud audience.  This year’s Reggae Film Festival has shown that there is Jamaican potential for a Disney or Pixar-type feature film. Coretta Singer, whose breakthrough, award-winning KINA SKY was the only animated film in the2010 festival, was a proud ‘godmother’ of this year entrants.

New record company Sugashak Records of Mango Valley, St. Mary, presented a live showcase of their artist KeKe-I, who gave a well-received performance backed bya live band of reggae professionals.  Sugashak handed out rustic bags filled with CDs, press releases and organic soaps made in their Mango Valley country village.

BOB MARLEY: THE MAKING OF A LEGEND by Jamaican actress/director Esther Anderson shows footage she shot when she met Marley in the year while he recorded the ‘Catch A Fire’ album.  Though his locks have only just started growing, his comments show that his Rastafari philosophy was already firm. Surrounded by a young Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, the young group yet unaware of the fame and money to come, relax and speak their world views, giving an early glimpse of Marley that with the hindsight of 50 years, is amazing to see for the first time.  Esther supports the footage with background narrative of Rastafari history, as well as her own memories of the time spent with him and with the growing Rastafari movement.  Returning to the people and places of that history, she reflects with them on the Marley they knew, and the legend he has become.  The film’s presence in Jamaica co-incided with its screening at the Cannes Film Festival taking place that same week, and the director specially honoured the Reggae Film Festival and her home country by showing her film at the same time as its gala Cannes screening.

The next documentary, FIRE IN BABYLON, was in the news that week for holding the top sales position for sports documentaries on Directed by Stevan Riley (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND), the film recounts the exploits of the winning West Indies cricket team of the 1970s that  was faced with a barrage of racism, but used its bowling fire-power, batting expertise and racial confidence to overcome the English and Australian cricketers and make themselves everlasting Caribbean heroes.  Laced with references to Rastafari, Black Power and the politics of the 70s, the film is a conscious tribute to a great moment in Black Caribbean history that deserves its Honour Award as the Outstanding Film of the Reggae Film Festival.

The midnight movie was BUBBLIN’, directed by US-based Denise Campbell.  A story of a single-mother country girl who turns to ‘bubblin’ (dirty dancing to lewd dancehall music) in seedy nightclubs to support her fatherless daughter, the film nevertheless captures accurately what life is like for women like the film’s lead character.  Controversial because of its subject matter, visual content and use of unlicensed music, the film nevertheless showed that Campbell is a capable director.



L&SHarmony, daughters of reggae superstar I-JahMan Levi,  performed life to open the Awards Presentation. The full list of Awards is attached below.  Then long awaited announcement of the winner of the RBTT/RBC 24 Hours competition was no surprise, as those who had seen it were unanimous that WHAT IF? by Vanessa Phllips was the winning film.  The young film maker, previously unknown, showed that she is a major film talent capable of writing, directing, producing and acting in well-made productions.  She was definitely the talk of the Festival, receiving several offers of interest in whatever productions she undertakes next.  The winning film was shown, then given a choice of winning films, the audience unanimously called for the cricket documentary FIRE IN BABYLON.  The night and the Reggae Film Festival 2011 ended on a high and positive note.

Award winners with JFA Directors Jungle George (l) and BBH

Thanks first to our sponsors RBTT/RBC whose support of the 24 Hours Film competition strengthened our ability to present the event.  Special thanks to RBTT/RBC executives Annette Atkinson and Karen Watson Pink. Thanks to DIGICEL, especially executives Karl Donnelly and Marketing officer Sandra Legister. Thanks must be given to all the Festival guests who travelled to Jamaica for the event: Festival co-director Peter Gittins from England, Jep Jorba and Mark Maldovar from Spain, Jungle George Tait from Canada, Roger Hart, Cedric Sanders and Mustapha Khan from the USA, Tameka Jarvis-George and sister Toya from Antigua, US-based Jamaican film maker Wayne Jobson and BILLBOARD Magazine journalist Pat Meschino. Thanks to all our audiences whose support showed we had done a good job.

Wayne Jobson & friends

Thanks to Spanish Ambassador who hosted the Festival guests for lunch, and Paul  & Oriente Issa who hosted a splendid dinner party for the Spanish film makers and gave a prize of a weekend for 2 at a Couples Hotel to the runner-up in the 24 Hours competition.  Thanks to those who gave their services freely for the success of the event, especially Teena Marie Tucker and Wendell Richards, co-ordinators of the RBTT/RBC Make A Film In 24 Hours competition; Amaziah The Great, Jollywood Productions and Jungle George Tait, for their photographs of the event; Reinardo Chung, for digital design services; entertainers Marcus I, L&SHarmony and KeKe-I; the behind-the-scenes support of Chris Kaufman and Hailond Nottage of Sugashak; the personal interest and help given by H&H Pictures In Motion; and the work of production assistants Eric ‘DonRico’ Dixon and Granville Shields.

My thanks especially to my son Makonnen Blake Hannah, who has always been the main help and worker in the months leading up to the Festival and who continued to be a strong support all through the week’s activities.

Plans are now underway to present THE BEST OF THE REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL  at venues in Jamaica, Canada, the USA and England and to make the 5th Festival in 2012 be a worthy celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence.

See you in 2012!!!




‘REGGAE BRITANNIA’ (Dir: Jeremy Marre)

JFA Honour Awards: BOB MARLEY: MAKING OF A LEGEND (Dir: Esther Anderson/Gian Goody)



Nominees: Stephen Lloyd Jackson – DAVID IS DYING


Nominees: Volier Johnson – ‘ROOM FOR RENT’


Nominee: Vanessa Phillips – ‘MISINJUSTICE’


Nominees: Tameka Jarvis-George: ‘DINNER’ – JFA HONOUR AWARD

Wayne Benjamin: ‘THE CROFT’

Jovel Johnson: ‘RECKONING’




Nominees:    JERK CHICKEN – Sam Stewart – JFA HONOUR AWARD




                REGGAE CONCERT: ‘FROM KINGSTON TO CALI’ Dir: Joe Trivigno

              OUTSTANDING FILM OF THE FESTIVAL: ‘Fire in Babylon’ Dir: Stevan Riley


Craig Kirkland (Amaziyah The Great)

Carl Davis

Volier Johnson

Ginger Knight

Carol Reid

Sam Stewart

Jovel Johnson

Wayne Benjamin

Reinardo Chung

Alison Latchman

Vanessa Phillips

FILM NEWS: ‘HIT ME WITH MUSIC’, Macka Diamond, Mary Wells

In This Week’s SPOTLIGHT:
‘HIT ME WITH MUSIC’ – New Dancehall Documentary

Nice Time Productions, whose directors Nando Garcia-Guereta and Migual Galofre brought us the excellent documentary Why Do Jamaicans Run So Fast, have produced a trailer of their new documentary about contemporary dancehall HIT ME WITH MUSIC, an exploration of how Jamaicans enjoy music and dances, with: Mavado, Vybz Kartel, Daseca, Bugle, Bogle, Mr. Wacky, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Yellow Man, Elephant Man, Bunny Lee, Black Scorpio, Jammys, Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Bongo Herman, Mighty Crown, Sample 6, Keiva the diva, Tripple XXX, Sickinhead “50”, Jelly Brain, M.O.B, Famous, John Hype, Expressions, SNOB JAPAN and more…
Here’s the trailer:


Dancehall diva Macka Diamond stars in a new Caribbean movie due to be premiered shortly. According to a Press release issued by the producers, this is a high impact action drama directed by Noel ‘Doc’ Howell that will hit the big screens this summer and promises to be an exciting thriller.

‘Redemption Of Paradise’ is a movie about vigilante justice set in the beautiful island of Paradise. What was once a safe and pleasurable island has now become plagued with violence, drugs, and gangs. Tired of the corruption that has infested her hometown, one citizen decides to take a stand. Millie (played by dancehall star Macka Diamond) forms a community watch group, which amongst other things encourages the local businessmen to stop paying protection money and to deter the corrupt efforts of Paradise’s drug kingpin. The subplot to the movie involves a much younger Millie and a horrible twist to the story begins to unravel.

The Antiguan film, produced by Dr. Howell’s film company Colour Bars Film Production, was filmed mainly in Antigua featuring stars from across the Caribbean. Flying in an international crew to orchestrate stunts, from car chases and explosions, to cinematography as well, the team is now getting ready to premier the movie in Jamaica next month, and Dr. Howell is extremely proud of his latest production, confident that movie goers will love every minute of it.

‘Redemption Of Paradise’ will definitely keep everyone on the edge of their seats,” said Howell. “It’s full of action, has a great story line and the acting is superb, not to mention the directing. It’s a fantastic movie, if I may say so myself.” Dr. Howell notes that Antigua will be proud of the footage, as the international crew was equally impressed with the country’s natural beauty – some stating they’d return for vacation, to shoot marine scenes, and one exploring the possibility of migrating.

Awaiting its Jamaican premier, Dr. Howell is confident that the movie will be a hit throughout the region, and especially in Antigua and Barbuda. ‘Redemption Of Paradise’ cast includes – lead Macka Diamond as Millie, Respect as Rogger, Mark as himself, Kevroy Graham as Andrew, Eldon Matrin as Wicket and Junior Hart as Officer.
The crew comprises – Director: Noel ‘The Doc’ Howell M.D., Assistant Director: Jason Williams, Producer: Courtney Boyd, Producer: Cliff Williams, Production Manager: Bert Kirchner, Location Manager: Dr. Alvin Edwards, Script Supervisor: Chantelle Tomilson, DP: Boaz Freund, Camera Assistant: Alex, Camera Assist: Andrew Anderson, Gaffer: Danny Belinke, Grip: Mark Mctavish, Make-up Artist: Melissa, and Stunt Coordinators: Steve Gums, Jeff Gums and Eric Miranda.

Jamaican film maker Mary Wells has been busy shooting her new film Kingston Paradise in Downtown Kingston recently. CPTC and CHASE Fund are partners in the film, as is UWI Professor Emiel Martins new entertainment company. It’s Mary’s first feature and we congratulate her and look forward to seeing the finished film.
Have a wonderful week!