July 18 – On the heels of the Jamaica Film Festival, which was held in Kingston, July 7 – 11, the practitioners in Jamaica got another great opportunity to connect with their peers and mentors in the international markets from the USA, Canada, UK and the Caribbean; what was more important is the Jamaican practitioners of varied years meeting in a collegial environment for five days.
The Festival which used the popular format of workshops, screenings, parties and one-one-one meetings focused on a process of re-engagement for both Jamaican practitioners and the international folks.
Some pointers offered by the experts ranged from
- ‘Tell better stories’
- Film as a Business https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=228MzjchghQ
- Film Experts Give Business Advice
- ‘Document our culture’
The festival was held against the background that similar events existed from up to 40 years ago and other film festivals have changed, morphed and some new ones have come on board. The dynamism of the industry in Jamaica is impacting enough to have all and some ways must be found to have them all exist; but aimed at a few things
- Creating greater opportunities for the industry
- Solidifying the existing structures that work
- Finding new ways to exploit the global market using the skills sets
- Forge partnerships for mutual benefit
- With other Film Festivals
- Essentially to create content from Jamaica by Jamaican content producers to attract global audiences
MULTIPLE FILM FESTIVALS
Though a small country relative to those with longer history with film festivals, for example Canada, there is room for more than one. Canada for example, profiles the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as its premier event, while there are at least ten other MAJOR ones with a few themed festivals. There are ten major ones and that does not include the sub festivals while the major ones are going on. So Montreal, Quebec, Vancouver etc. have their own.
More and more cities are becoming the venues for film festivals and here is a link for the ones which were the most recommended festivals for 2014 http://www.moviemaker.com/archives/festivals/50-film-festivals-worth-the-entry-fee-2014/
MEMBERSHIP WITHIN THE INDUSTRY
One of the major concerns which became obvious at the recently concluded Film Festival was the Jamaican industry needed to become organised. That organisation should or can include interest and advocacy groups to ensure the needs are met by an organisation like JAMPRO.
The emergence of guilds, associations and lobby groups are recommended. JAMPRO’s justification for spearheading any event is to facilitate growth and development; and in the case of the Jamaica Film Festival, it should serve to satisfy not just the needs of the local industry, but serve to identify markets, expose new ways of doing business, but most importantly offer advice of ways and means to export Jamaica’s (film/TV) product in the global market so filmmakers can earn.
An actor, Rodney Campbell, made this call recently – There are far too many benefits gained from being a part of this creative expression for us to continue treating it as a back seat passenger in a robot taxi. We are at a point where clinging to the deficiencies and deterrents of the past are OVER and those who are serious must choose and do so NOW.https://rodneysocampbell.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/ja-actors-should-read-this-script/
Like in the export market, there is the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA) and in sport there are several sporting associations, those serve as a few things
- Collective voices to lobby for attention and activity to boost their industry
- Being acknowledged as formal to initiate programmes to enhance work already existing, but to add value
- Keeping pace with the rest of the world
The economics of what an organised film industry can do for a developing country like Jamaica are endless. That same organised industry can force an agency like JAMPRO to act on its core – develop exports and attract investments for growth.
This is a call to action for Jamaica’s film industry. It shouldn’t be just lights and camera, maybe it is time for action.
® July 18, 2015