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Dahlia Harris makes “A Case of the Ex”

Friday, May 4 – Any outing with Dahlia Harris always has some real “punch” to it and this sit down was no different. Since my last blog on Dahlia, she has taken on a few projects whether by design or by association.

She and her team hosted another round of successful Women in Theatre Festival. The Festival was held in three parts. The one-week event looked at showcases, panel discussion and tributes. The Festival also zoomed in on the key roles of actors, writers and directors. The partnerships with the Edna MJWITF 2018 Aanley College of Visual and Performing Arts and JAMPRO were important. The presenters were wide range and the workshop sessions were educational, informative and riveting. That said, Ms Harris rolled right up into the Miss Jamaica World Project and the Pap Smear Lyme. In between that she continued to write, direct, present and volunteer for several activities across the island.

Dahlia sat down with me and we had a chat about her last six months, and what’s to come.

What has been the reaction to Dat a Gwan Jamaica Remix? 

It has been amazing. We have had patrons coming to see the show four and five times and still belting out laughter with every scene. The response has also been obvious through the comments and posts via social media.  When patrons connect with the show so much that they take the experience home it says a lot about the production. DatAGwanJamaica

Some other projects you have been mulling over…want to share what we will see from you in another year?

Definitely more projects for television and I attempt a feature film.  The scripts are ready and waiting, I’m still working on funding.  It’s easier to get overseas investment in Brand Jamaica where creative projects are concerned but then you are boxed into providing what they want.  It’s taking a while for our local investors and companies to believe in the power of what we have to offer, but hopefully they will get there.  

You have recently done two major programs – the Pap Smear Lyme and the MJW board/team – describe the passion you have for programs of this kind 

Well I have a passion for all things that will empower women and children.  Just sitting in that interview with the Jamaica Cancer Society and really appreciating the gravity of the situation, I knew I had to contribute in some way.  An estimated 200 women die from Cervical Cancer in Jamaica each year. That’s mind blowing. Having done the #PapSmearLyme I am even more committed to the effort.  The call was for 50 women.  Close to 3 times that number showed up before we had even reached half of the time scheduled for the event.  Many of them participated because access to the test was made possible through NCB Insurance and the generous spirit of a few Jamaicans.  I want to keep the women coming in for tests.  Who knows how many lives we will save?

As it relates to MJW, I am very excited to be on the planning team.  Jamaica has some of the most beautiful women in the world but we also have some of the most benevolent and altruistic women that I have ever met.  The renewed focus on Beauty with a Purpose means we can highlight those women who have been making a difference in their communities.  That’s a major part of Brand Jamaica…service to our fellow citizen…that’s what we want to showcase to the world. The global crown will allow us to do that.  We are aiming to take it home.   

Come May, you will have something new out, tell us about this – Case of the EX 

It’s a relationship comedy that deals with the hot topic of how you cope with exes. It is really a sensitive issue.  Jealousy for your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s ex can easily turn into suspicion and doubt, but in some cases are these emotions justified?  When faced with your partners ex, what do you do!  


Case of the EX is centered around DJ Cheetah (Kadeem Wilson), a young reggae producer struggling to reclaim his popularity in the music industry.  His latest love Dymond (Alexandria Gregory), has her sights set on becoming a global star, but Cheetah keeps ignoring her talent and her love for him prevents her from cutting ties and moving on.   When a local station launches a lucrative national song competition, Cheetah seizes the opportunity to bring in his ex, DJ Cyattie (Dahlia Harris),  to help him win that big ‘buss’.  However, Cyattie has other objectives; she wants to move from Cheetah’s past into his present and has no qualms about getting rid of Dymond.  With just one night to make a major hit, things get very heated in the recording studio.  When the sun comes out, someone will wear the title of EX …let the games begin.

It’s a delightful story and I am happy to be working again with screen and stage actor Kadeem Wilson who is still thrilling audiences in Dat A Gwaan Jamaica:Remix.  I am also happy to introduce Alexandra Gregory to a wider commercial theatre audience.  Some would have seen her featured as the school girl in Television Jamaica’s “Inna De Bus”, and she brings a wealth of talent and experience to the show.

You have worked with a number of young people over the last year, what are you most proud of? 

I am proudest when I see the accomplishments that they have made and how mature they are about their careers in the creative industry.  They strategically plan for where they want to go, they put in the work, and they rebound from their challenges.  They are inspiring to watch. I don’t necessarily want to name anyone in particular because I don’t want them to feel like any accomplishment has greater value than the other and there are a lot of young people I could name LOL!  I am just heartened that they are not only talking about success, they are doing what it takes to get there.

What else are you working on to ensure your expertise is passed on to the next generation? 

All my productions are basically managed by young people.  They do the administrative work, they are a major part of production work, and I rotate them on stage as actors.  This way they have an understanding of how all aspects of the business operates.  I have been working on a project that will extend to communities across the island but until I have everything in place I don’t want to say too much about that. That project will however not just be about honing performers; it will pay equal attention to technical and production capacity building.  We can’t progress as an industry if the sum of the parts isn’t all functioning at the same level.

TV is always a great fit for you be it Sport, News or Entertainment, how do you maintain that drive to keep at it? Dahlia Harris

The viewers.  What we do means so much to them that I consider it a privilege to be able to impact lives in this way.  Whether it’s sharing information that will improve their lives, or just providing light moments to brighten their day…it really makes a difference to someone and I take that seriously.  I think the diversity also helps; being able to host various events and interact with people who are dissimilar yet alike in so many ways keeps the work interesting.  Top that all with the fact that I am a entertainment and Sport fan…I’m doing what I love and I am grateful!

Offer some advice to a school leaver who has interest in the business of music/theatre/film as this seems to be a growing option for some. 

Respect the business.  That means getting the necessary skills and knowledge required to make it work.  This holds true at any aspect of the business. If you’re talent, do what it takes to get your skills up to a level that makes you marketable.  If you are production, understand the industry.  Read as much as you can, enroll in workshops; observe others who have been successful.  I’m not suggesting that you duplicate all that you see; I’m saying understanding what works and what doesn’t will help you as you forge your own path.  Too many believe that creative business is easy.   If you fail to respect the business, it won’t respect you. 

Until next time, #OneLove


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Dahlia Harris presents SAME DIFFERENCE


December 9 – Boxing Day (December 26) can be declared Theatre Day in Jamaica. This is when the season officially opens. This season, producer, actor, director, Dahlia Harris is presenting SAME DIFFERENCE.

In between writing, rehearsing and doing a million other things, I managed to pin her down. Yes, believe me…
Carole: How did you come up with that name? 
Dahlia: I like to play around with familiar sayings.  We often use words and phrases but do we stop to think about what they really mean? I’ve heard SAME DIFFERENCE so many times and when I thought about what I wanted to explore in the show, I felt it adequately represented the idea both conceptually and contextually.
CB: Who are the main players in the play? 
DH: In SAME DIFFERENCE the Goodmans have just moved into their lavish Chancery Hall dwelling after years of hard work and strategising.   It’s a fresh start for Buster (Volier Johnson) while for his beautiful young wife Liv (Maylynne Lowe), it’s the final step up the long ladder of social eminence.
Deon Silvera Deon Silvera
As they try to finally cement their place in society, a major obstacle presents itself in the form of their overly friendly neighbours the Barrs.   Obviously wealthy, though we’re never sure how, Minnie Barr (Deon Silvera) is as bad at parenting her children – Candy (Shantol Jackson) and Ivor (Desmond Dennis) – as she is at respecting boundaries.  When her tastes for the loud and vulgar clash constantly with the Goodmans’ desire for the quiet and refined, it is clear that someone has to be sent packing.
Maylynne Lowe Maylynne Lowe
Secrets are revealed, old wounds are opened… as both families unleash a battle of epic proportions to be the last neighbour standing.  In the end,  what they find is that they have more in common than they dared to realise.
VJ Volier Johnson 
CB: Describe the theme of the play
DH: Jamaica has always been class-conscious but recently there has been more active debate about the implications of classism and how it affects individuals in our society.  As a nation our motto offers that the essence of who we are rests in our ability to mold diverse backgrounds into a collective identity.  Why then should social class be exempted from this process?  SAME DIFFERENCE explores the concept that despite our differences at the core of it, as Jamaicans and more importantly as human, we are all the same.
CB: What should patrons expect?
DH: Since debuting JUDGEMENT in 2010, DMH Productions has earned the reputation of staging theatrical productions that are not only extremely entertaining but are always powerfully compelling.  SAME DIFFERENCE brings as much laughter as it offers intrigue providing an experience for theatre lovers that lasts way beyond what happens on stage.  Tickets are $1,500 with a special rate of $1,200 for groups of 10 or more.


CB: Give us a schedule of the run for the first three months:

DH: The show has an initial run at the Karram Speid Auditorium, Merl Grove High School from December 26-28 and then from Jan 1-3.

CB: How have rehearsals been?
DH: It’s always a great indication when the actors in a show are as entertained by the product as we expect audiences to be.  Johnson readily imparts his knowledge from years of experience on stage, Silvera brings tons of energy, Lowe is super focused while Jackson and Dennis are youthfully exuberant.  It’s hard work but we make it fun.  Individually they bring so much life to each character while together they transform the story from paper to such impressive realism.
CB: Give us a typical time at rehearsal:
DH: We always start with discussion about character, relationships, what is it that we really want to say to our audience.  We do this by looking at the script on a whole and then narrowing it down to the specific scene we’ll be working on for that rehearsal.  It’s important that everyone understands and keeps focused on what we are aiming to achieve.  We then break it down line by line, first looking at how we can say what we want through words and then without the words…because theatre is a visual medium as well.  The story comes first so laughter is organic.  If its not funny we don’t try to fake it.
CB: How do you think this will match up to your last three plays?
DH: I see each play as a different project otherwise the process becomes overwhelming.  I go for a great story.  That always works.  I expect that this will continue in the tradition of excellent theatre.
CB: How difficult was it to get space to host?
DH: There are no spaces.  I had to make a decision to go with this venue out of respect for my patrons and the need to maintain continuity.  The continuation of the show is right now in limbo at best as I am still trying to secure a permanent space
CB: What’s next for Dahlia? Dahlia Harris
DH: I want to expand my film and television work.  I also am excited about radio drama.  My vision is to impact audiences through as many media as possible.
ABOUT DAHLIA: Dahlia has been a sports/news/TV host for 20+ years and in between that she directs, produces, acts, sings and dances. Her accomplishments are too numerous to mention here, however her work in the cultural and creative industries has taken shape. Dahlia is quite the academic and is currently pursuing a Masters in Communication Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, having already done post and undergraduate work in English. Producing and hosting her own television show is a long-time dream.
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Membership – driver to (re)organising film community in Jamaica

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


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


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

Jamaica Film Festival Logo_JaFF


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.

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

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From: Dale Godboldo – Jamaica Film Festival

Dale Godboldo

Congrats to Carole Beckford and the Jamaica Film Commission on the launch of your Inaugural ‪#‎JamaicaFilmFestival this July 7th!! 🎬

If you didn’t know, Jamaica’s coming out STRONG this year in film and TV. I’ll be showing my support by sitting on a few panels alongside some amazing talent from Hollywood. We’re also bringing out my Executive Producing partner Jeffrey Reddick (wrote Final Destination) to share a little insight on how you create a $650 million movie franchise. I’m hoping to learn a bit from him myself 😉

We’ll be back in Jamaica with Jeffrey, my partner Arthur Wylie, and the rest of the Global Renaissance Entertainment Group team shooting White Witch Of Rose Hall very soon, and I’m looking forward to building relationships with the local filmmaking community on this trip. We’re committed to partnering with the island in a big way, to not only bring attention to the island’s culture, but also to do our part in making real impact in the community through film production and the work of our charities – Arthur Wylie Foundation and Project:NOW / Always In The Club Foundation.

(Btw, the film festival’s sponsored by Red Stripe and Tuff Gong (The Marley Family), so I’ll definitely find a minute to chill and take full advantage of that 😎)

I’m proud to be a part of what I know will be an outstanding tradition in the Caribbean, so I’ll be doing some Periscope-ing and posts while there. Also watch out for my blog post when I get back at

Stay tuned, and see you JULY 7th from ‪#‎Kingston!

‪#‎JaFilmFest ‪#‎BobMarley ‪#‎Marley ‪#‎Film ‪#‎Jamaica

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Jamaica Film Festival holds LA launch

(Los Angeles, CA, March 2015) – Some of Hollywood’s brightest stars and entertainment executives welcomed Jamaica’s film commissioner Carole Beckford recently at a reception announcing the inaugural Jamaica Film Festival. The event was co-hosted by Hon. Consul Lorna Johnson and author/filmmaker/media entrepreneur Paula Madison in Beverly Hills, and served as a kickoff for the festival. JAMPRO, Jamaica Trade and Investment, which houses the Film Commission, will host the festival in Kingston, July 7 – 11.


Among those in attendance were: Shaun Robinson (host of syndicated daily entertainment news program “EXTRA”); film directors Robert Townsend and Bill Duke; actors Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter; and studio executives Bruce Evans and Talitha Watkins.


Ms. Beckford’s recent trip to Los Angeles was an opportunity to engage the Hollywood community with a focus on collaboration and partnership. Jamaica will for the first time premiere over ten films, directed, produced and made in Jamaica in time for the Festival.


The Jamaica Film Festival is to become a marketplace for all in the business from ‘Script to Screen’ to hope for the best return on investment. The five-day event will look at workshop sessions, seminars, B2B sessions and a host of networking sessions aimed at connecting the industry at several levels. The five-day event will operate under the theme ‘Art meets Business’.

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Kingston to come alive – July 7 – 11

Jamaica Film Festival Logo_JaFF

The Jamaica Film Festival, scheduled for Kingston, July 7 – 11, is shaping up to be a very exciting one showcasing the talents of the best and brightest in the Jamaican film industry. The festival promises to be a dynamic cinematic and cultural event featuring both local and international films. There will be business sessions, workshops and seminars, a music day with workshops and a live reggae concert at the Tuff Gong International Recording Studios. The exclusive beach party planned for Saturday promises to be lots of fun in the sun as well as a visual bliss as the majestic, rolling hills of the Blue Mountains, serves as a backdrop in the distance.


Importantly, work from 13 of Jamaica’s leading directors/producers/writers will premier, parading Jamaica’s content in front of an international audience primarily from the USA, Canada, the UK and the Caribbean; but with interest from a variety of other countries to include Australia, Argentina, Serbia and so many more.

Kingston will come alive with the film festival and patrons will have the unique opportunity to experience why Jamaica’s culture is so infectious. The city of Kingston offers an unparalleled culinary experience, a vibrant nightlife as well as museums and galleries rich in culture, coupled with the warmth of the Jamaican people. Tuff gong Logo

Kingston boasts having restaurants owned by and named after three of our iconic sports superstars, Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records, Courtney Walsh’s Cuddy’z and Chris Gayle’s Triple Century. In addition, Kingston is home to the fourth best place to have ice cream in the world, Devon House.  Its location was built in the late 19th century as the residence of Jamaica’s first black millionaire and is a masterpiece of Caribbean Victorian architecture.

Also home to the world-famous Blue Mountain coffee and Reggae Music, Kingston’s energy and vibe will revitalize anyone. A city with the seventh largest harbour in the world and various historic sites, Kingston has a variety of unforgettable experiences to offer that will last for a lifetime.


The festival seeks to promote Jamaica as more than just a backdrop location. Jamaica is currently experiencing a creative revolution where it has positioned itself as the cultural powerhouse of the Caribbean, producing outstanding creative products, services and talent. This has led to a deeper focus on developing the island’s creative industries in particular film, with the goal of becoming one of the thought leaders in the industry. The idea is for Jamaica to evolve into being the regional hub for creative talent and services, and having a national film festival will help solidify the growth that has to take place.


With up to five production houses each with over four decades of experience in film and video production, the Jamaican technical skills base in this industry is of world and industry standards. The technical expertise ranges from world-renowned directors to our warm and hospitable drivers, all of whom maintain the passion and drive to make it comfortable for crews to work in Jamaica.

Jamaican TV has evolved and continues to produce relevant, entertaining and engaging content. Home to one of the longest running soap operas in the English speaking Caribbean, Jamaica’s Royal Palm Estate/The Blackburns has set the island’s TV industry a league ahead in the region. The TV industry is looking to continue to create shows that appeal to an international audience.

On the cusp of five feature films being released in the past three years (Better Mus Come, Rise Up, Ghett’a Life, One People and Ring Di Alarm), Jamaica’s emerging film industry has been given new life. More local content is being distributed internationally in countries like the UK, Europe, South Africa and Japan. The growth of the international film industry has set the stage for Jamaicans to further develop as content creators and lends the opportunity for our talent to be in high demand and recognised worldwide.

Prepared by JAMPRO Communications



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JAMAICA can host multiple film festivals

KINGSTON, January 4 – Jamaica can and will continue to host a number of film and music festivals. The country’s content and production are of the diversity, quality and brand strength to be able to maintain and sustain festivals for its relevant markets.

The state’s investment and export promotion agency, JAMPRO has secured the services of a number of organisations and professional individuals as part of a continuing effort to market the country’s resources in a number of key sectors, of which film and the creative industry are important. Akin to that is hosting of events, meetings, conferences, workshops, seminars, roadshows, and in this case festivals as mechanisms to showcase the island’s services.

The Jamaica Film Festival 2015, scheduled for July 7 – 11 this year in Kingston is one such event and as the FILM COMMISSIONER, based at JAMPRO, a team is working on delivering this event. So far a major partner, Tuff Gong International has been acquired

A number of other partners have been pursued (public and private) and those will be announced shortly, to include strategic media partners, local and international. A call for film/documentary projects was announced and 54 projects were observed through pitch sessions. The pitches were seen by a myriad of local experts and a short list has been recommended. The next step is for script experts to match scores from the pitch sessions upon which those selected will be announced for production.

A number of professional development workshops will be held for the teams of the projects chosen to ensure quality and provide the support warranted for the successful delivery of the projects in July.


Though a small country relative to those with longer history with film festivals, e.g. 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


Jamaica’s layout by parish/county is distinguished by its culture, and with effective planning the indigenous of each area is at liberty, as has been done, the opportunity to plan its own series of cultural events including film festivals. No government or private sector entity can restrict a community; neither will JAMPRO. The nature of the business is one which is open for a variety of projects, but JAMPRO has a mandate and role to determine programmes in the best interest of Jamaica’s export and investment projects.

The Film Festival in July is scheduled for Kingston and it is on – stay tuned to and information will be revealed in a timely manner.

An earlier post here, identifies the role of film festivals in economic activity, read for background

We invite all those with ideas to plan to keep Jamaica’s brand in check as we seek to promote our services and products to the world. There is room for all of us to exist.

Film, Music and Entertainment – Jamaica is where it all is!

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JAMPRO and Bob Marley Foundation sign agreement

KINGSTON, November 26 – In what could be considered a master stroke, JAMPRO, Jamaica’s trade and investment agency signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bob Marley Foundation on Wednesday to signal both groups’ intention to partner for the Jamaica Film Festival 2015.

Marie Bruce, General Manager, Bob Marley Group of Companies who spoke on behalf of the Foundation, signaled the team’s intention to push the Jamaican message to every corner of the globe. Coming off a recent successful partnership – the Tuff Gong International acquired the global distribution rights for the soundtrack of Jamaica’s recent romantic drama, Destiny.

The company is the region’s exclusive licensee for international recording companies Warner Music Group, Disney Music Group, and Universal Music Group. This means that the movie’s official soundtrack will be released internationally on the Tuff Gong label, as part of the deal with Caroline Music, a division of Universal Music Group. The move, Bruce said, was a perfect fit and the Film Festival is just another way the country’s image can be enhanced.


Also speaking at the briefing attended by a variety of public and private sector representatives, including financial institutions, was JAMPRO’s President, Diane Edwards, who indicated her agency’s mandate to create an environment where “Art meets Business”.

The President added that “JAMPRO’s attempt to consolidate efforts of the creative industries is bearing fruit and the hosting of a film festival in Kingston next July – falls in line with the development and subsequent monetizing of the sector – we deem as important. Jamaica’s reputation in the film industry is largely known as a location for filming, but a film festival is evidence of the industry legitimizing itself and building on the existing reputation of films professionals.”


The Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. G. Anthony Hylton in his keynote says “this marks a truly remarkable partnership in building Jamaica’s cultural and creative industries, and to a larger extent, the economy. Having access to one of the biggest and most renowned Brand in the world is a massive achievement.” The Minister pointed out that having held the reputation of being the cultural and creative powerhouse of the Caribbean, being positioned as the major producer of creative products, through an event like the Film Festival, will help to attract a wide variety of attention and offer us a competitive edge to earn from the film industry.

The Minister has committed his efforts to “make” the location more attractive and competitive by maintaining, upgrading and adding facilities of the highest standards.

Joining via Skype was Paula Madision, CEO and President of Madison Media Management who has offered to sit on the Festival’s Advisory Team. She has extended the reach of her rolodex to bring the relevant persons to Jamaica who she says has a myriad of interests in the business of film making.

Paula Madison

JAMPRO’s Chairman, Milton Samuda in his closing remarks pointed towards the shift of JAMPRO in ensuring that the value chain for the industry is recognised and the right eco-system is required to make the sector flourish.

The festival is scheduled for Kingston, July 7 – 11, 2015 and there is a call for films out for Jamaican filmmakers to submit scripts/treatments by December 2 to be considered for selection. Interested persons can go to

Also in attendance were representatives from the Jamaica Tourist Board, University of the West Indies, EXIM Bank, Broadcasting Commission, Ministry of Youth and Culture, Jamaica Intellectual Property Organisation, Toronto International Film Festival, British High Commission, The Hynes Group and the Development Bank of Jamaica


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Film Festivals – Benefits to cities worldwide

KINGSTON – Jamaica’s history with Film Festivals dates back to 1999 when Island Girl Productions, lead by Sheryl Lee Ralph developed, conceptualized and executed the Jamerican Film Festival. This event was always hosted in Montego and from the early days had partnership from the Jamaica Tourist Board and JAMPRO.

For at least five decades, film festivals have become popular worldwide establishing a decent reputation for professionals in the film industry, but generating varying interest from curious tourists and locals who are keen on learning more of a city’s/country’s culture.

One of the earliest film festivals though is the Venice Film Festival in Italy which began in 1932 and is the longest running festival. It is held in the last quarter each year
The benefits to Venice are enormous and only this year two hotels in the vicinity of where the Festival is held is seeking US$380 million to renovate two of its earliest properties in the city for the 2015 renewal. It was reported that actor, Errol Flynn and Winston Churchill stayed at the Excelsior, one of the properties listed and that the very first festival was held on its terrace 82 years ago. That information is on the Festival’s website and is promoted as such.

The other massive Festivals are Cannes, Toronto, Sundance and Berlin. Berlin has been reported to have the biggest crowd and by that has been declared the largest. A study has indicated that there are 3,000 active film festivals worldwide – all of which have been held in the last 24 months.


Sundance, held in Park City, Utah reported that the Sundance Institute brings US$86.4 million – figures from a University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. The Festival is believed to have supported 1,434 jobs and generated US$65.1 million of media exposure. Over 45,000 people were in attendance and the report shows that more than 65 per cent of that number traveled from outside of Utah.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) began back in 1976 – same year Montreal hosted the Summer Olympic Games; it is now in the top five festivals and is reporting earnings of up to US$189 million for the 10-day festival and has attracted an additional 150,000 visitors to the city. TIFF can be seen at

This year the Equalizer and No Good Deed with Denzel Washington and Idris Elba respectively were just two of the feature films screened at TIFF


Kingston has 2,000 rooms in hotels along with some additional ones in villas and homes. While not too hard to fill, the energy and focus on the entertainment capital of the Caribbean can be enhanced by adding another product for the city. Already packed with numerous cultural activities to include live music, night clubs, great restaurants, sports, theatre, beach parties, hiking, running/jogging/walking for that grouping and the historical sites to include Devon House, Bob Marley Museum, Trench Town and Port Royal – A film festival is all Kingston needs to make the city complete.

Reggae Month, Kingstoon, Kingston on the Edge; Jamaica International Film Festival, Kingston City Run and the numerous 5Ks are good for the product package of the season. And we will not forget the number of famous churches in the city. If you consider the Hellshire and Fort Clarence experiences urban enough, then a trip there is also part of the mix. Three top-rated sport bars connected to icons – Courtney Walsh, Chris Gayle and Usain Bolt are strategically positioned in the city.

The use and display of cultural spaces in the city will have to be managed in an efficient way and what exists now with the varying access to use of those spaces will have to be streamlined. Kingston deserves a Film Festival and should be supported by the businesses and people in Kingston and the wider Jamaica.


While the city clamours for a Film Festival what is also necessary is films, documentaries and TV series to be shown from the local industry along with regional and international inputs. Jamaica has largely been a location for filming, but with intermittent development of film products over the last few decades, the industry requires input from investors to support the creation of scripts worthy for screen to be shown at the Jamaica Film Festival.

A call for film will be announced in a few weeks and from there it is “The Show must Go on” approach. The Film Commission has sought the advice of industry folks at home and abroad and the idea is generally accepted; but like with all so-called intangible outputs, the financial support/investment/partnership seems slow in coming.


Jamaica’s brand has largely been seen as connected to the sand, sea, sun phenomena and with all those options created in a few destinations, the competitive advantage must emerge. The cultural capital of Jamaica is underestimated by its own and somehow the packaging and development have been less than impressive. The investors in the society can break away from the norm and partner with the creators to produce at least one feature film a year, a few documentaries and other stories in the screen and/or TV formats.

The opportunity looms and with just under 250 days to go – Kingston has the opportunity to light up the space and be the focus on this region and the world. Also on that time (summer) the track and field team will be in Beijing; the netball team will go for Gold in the World Championship and Rio will be in full sight. That is a lot to promote and throw in a film or few – that’s ideal.

Let’s make this happen and support the “Script to Screen” for 2015 – Jamaica Film Festival, Kingston, July 7 – 11 in 2015.

Lights! Camera! Action!


Jamaica has to capitalise on the opportunities in Sport

KINGSTON, April 5 – The sport business changes every day and with the competition even more fierce in the boardroom than on the field of play, one has to be aware of the ‘matters arising’. So much has changed in the last five years. It is absolutely necessary for officials to keep in touch with the trends, forecasts and proposed outcomes in the massive industry. 

Sport means different things to different people, but for those who want to have a grasp on what is going on you may want to speak to a few persons. Some of them like sport because it provides an opportunity for gambling while some simply want recreation. In examining those two different perspectives, one wants to win and that act of gambling is a game itself; while the other would like to be able to hike, walk, cycle, run a 5K, ski maybe just for fun. 

The point is though, the many areas of the sport business creates an opportunity for an entire population to participate. Here is how – the business itself focuses on value of teams, value of sponsor investment, money made from tickets, advertising through media, endorsements, sales at venues where major events are held and in more recent times the sport equipment consumers purchase as the fitness/wellness/healthy living lifestyles become more prominent. That in fact covers a wide cross-section of any population. 

In Jamaica for instance, the sporting areas most associated with any measure of success include football, cricket, track and field, netball and basketball – those attract the biggest crowds to date, hence considered major sport. If the franchise model is used, we should be able to calculate the investment made across the board in the five sporting areas in terms of 

  • national teams 
  • club and/or parish teams 
  • collegiate teams 
  • high school teams
  • other teams 

If these institutions keep accurate records, then it would not be difficult to ascertain the numbers and maybe, once and for all we may just be able to start offering better estimate of what the Jamaican sporting industry really does value. I have deliberately left out horseracing which can be addressed at some other point. Needless to say though its figures would surpass all the ones listed previously. 

International Trends 

Plunkett Research in the USA states that Sports are big business. Combined, the “Big 4” leagues in America, the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB), bring in about $23 billion in revenue during a typical year, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. U.S. sporting equipment sales at retail sporting goods stores are $42.6 billion yearly, according to U.S. government figures. A reasonable estimate of the total U.S. sports market would be $440 to $470 billion yearly. However, the sports industry is so complex, including ticket sales, licensed products, sports video games, collectibles, sporting goods, sports-related advertising, endorsement income, stadium naming fees and facilities income, that it’s difficult to put an all-encompassing figure on annual revenue. When researching numbers in the sports industry, be prepared for apparent contradictions. For example, the NFL receives vastly more money each year for TV and cable broadcast rights than MLB, despite the fact that MLB teams play about 10 times more games each year than NFL teams.

This contradiction though is supported by the power of a Brand – NFL has key star personalities that the MLB at this stage and even with more games the pull of the NFL is stronger. We reflect on the NBA as with the continued personality competition between Kevin Durrant and Lebron James – that is helping the NBA right now. Just reflect on when Michael Jordan retired and you will understand. The MLB in recent times has been riddled with way too much controversy i.e. Alex Rodriquez and his shenanigans have created ‘doubt’ in consumers’ minds – even though the games are still well supported, media has not been able to transfer the excitement of the game even through advertising. The MLB may best try to ‘find’ a personality to re-assert the league in a more positive way. 

The Jamaican sporting industry may lead the Caribbean in terms of what the perception is to the world and the personalities are more well known. Does the country though research its data to be able to inform its people of the opportunities that exist and how it can actually add to business and employment opportunities. The recommendations are: 

  • Tertiary level institutions should get more involved in research, development and innovation 
  • The already established officials should enhance their current base and widen scope by adding certification in related sport areas – management, science, marketing, legal 
  • Once and for all a proper stadium facility is needed 
  • Teachers’ College should have Physical Education in their curriculum to teach at the Primary level 

Jamaica’s advantage lie at the moment in the rich history of sport and the content is super-valuable. Its packaging is therefore key and with media outlets looking for unique content, maybe it is time that approach is taken. The platforms available for content are radio, television, mobile, games and big screens