Volunteers ready for Kingston City Marathon

Kingston, Jamaica – Over 400 volunteers will be a part of the 7th Kingston City Run and the first Kingston City Marathon this Sunday, March 17. 

The volunteers hail mainly from Colleges and Universities in the Corporate area along with a diverse group of residents from across the country. The volunteers will be placed in areas to deal with: 

  • Marshalling water stops along the routes 
  • Water Stops coverage 
  • Record Keeping (to balance the electronic scoring) 
  • Photography 
  • Medal distribution 
  • Start and Close of races
  • Post-event activity in Emancipation Park 
Mrs Prudence Simpson

​Volunteers’ Manager, Prudence Simpson is pleased with the response from the team of volunteers “I am happy that the spirit of volunteerism is alive and well and from the meetings and sessions we have had, it is obvious people are still happy to share their time and talent to a worthy cause. It is one of the many positives about this event. This is our 7th year, and we have gotten great support from our volunteers.” 

The event is endorsed by the Jamaica Tourist Board and is supported by a cadre of sponsors. The main ones are: 

  • Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association 
  • Life Span (been with us from Day one) 
  • MarksMan 
  • RJR Gleaner Group 
  • Kingston and St Andrew Corporation ​


  • Alpha Boys Institute
  • Open Arms Development Centre
  • Marie Atkins Night Shelter          
  • Food for the Poor 
  • Missionaries of the Poor 

Donations are accepted at https://www.kingstoncityrun.com/v2/charities/ 



KINGSTON, Jamaica – One of Kingston’s best eateries, Usain Bolt Tracks and Records will host the Welcome Party for the 7th running of the Kingston City Run.

The world-renowned facility, which has three other locations (Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and London) will feature as a targeted sponsor for the event which will host the first marathon in Kingston.

The “run” will be held under the theme Run Di City, Feel Di Vibe and a collaboration with Tracks and Records “Real Jamaican Vibes” is a match made for Kingston and “it promises to be a thriller to get the weekend’s event started,” says Angiel Shaw, head of marketing, Tracks and Records.

The welcome party is scheduled for Friday, March 15 and will feature one of Jamaica’s top entertainment DJ groups, Coppershot Disco. The 25-year-old group has been featured in several shows in Jamaica, Caribbean and in the USA.

The group is known for their style which consists of distinguished remixes, entertaining dubs, unique mixing, scratching and original jams of roots reggae, pop, soca, dancehall, hip hop, reggaeton and R&B.

The welcome party will be for registered participants in the Kingston City Run who will enjoy specials from the delectable menu.

The party will run from 7 – 9 pm.


KINGSTON, Jamaica – Participants for the Kingston City Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, March 17 will have access to energy gel, cool sponges and towels, mist and music along the routes.

Race Director, Alan Beckford and his team are ensuring that the first (official) marathon to be run in Kingston has “entertainment along the route which will help to inspire the participants,” he noted.

Beckford, who admits to the tough task ahead is optimistic that “with runners taking the scenic route via places like Devon House, Bob Marley Museum, Kings House and Hope Gardens, I believe the run will be satisfying for all those who compete.”

The planning team is hoping to surpass 5,000 participants which would highlight an increase from last year’s figure (4,876). The team continues on its quests to target teams from corporate Jamaica, overseas participants and individuals from running clubs.

Beckford has some advice for first time participants, especially for the marathon

  • Pace yourself on the first lap
  • Drink at every water stop
  • Take energy gels you are accustomed to
  • Wear a cap, cool clothes and comfortable shoes
  • Wear Sun-block
  • Apply Vaseline under arms, feet and crotch
  • Take a water bottle if you can and
  • Get a partner to run with

The marathon route has been certified by the IAAF/AIMS.

The race director is happy so far with the preparations and he is hoping that the race will surpass last year’s target.


Proceeds from the event will be donated to four main charities.

  • Open Arms Development Centre
  • Marie Atkins Night Shelter
  • Food for the Poor
  • Missionaries of the Poor

Donations are accepted at https://www.kingstoncityrun.com/v2/charities/ 

ENDS- nt version alte


KINGSTON, Jamaica – When you think of the city of Kingston, Jamaica, a marathon is not the first thing that comes to mind. Well in 2019, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Kingston’s chapter and its partners will host its first-ever marathon on Sunday, March 17.

What is even more interesting, is, the IAAF/AIMS has certified the route. That is historical in every context. The 480 square kilometres city is home to sporting and cultural history that surpasses any city its size. And the marathon will add flavour to this already exciting “UNESCO Creative City.”

The marathon will take you through the curves and turns of Kingston (twice) and although it may not be an ideal run for marathoners globally, it paints a new picture of the city.

After six years of hosting a 5K and 10K and Half Marathon, “adding the full marathon” was a dream come true for Nicola Madden Greig, co-chair of the KCM team.


The Kingston City Marathon will become popular like all other top marathons in cities across the globe. What will this mean for Kingston?

Well the Ministry of Health, in the last few years, started the Jamaica Moves campaign and that makes ‘health and fitness’ a worthy practice for the people of Jamaica. That is all part of an initiative to encourage people to get involved in physical activities.

The Kingston City Marathon will help to drive the ongoing development of Kingston, it is all about building reputation and popularity; while helping to use sport, in this case, a marathon event, as one key element to the city’s soft power.

Director of Tourism, Donovan White, at the press launch last month (January 16) said, “Jamaica now hosts two marathons almost four months apart, this is a clear opportunity.” The Director also pointed out “with the already established products of Kingston – great music, food and other exciting sporting events, the city will be enhanced by the Kingston City Marathon. He added that “marathons are a huge draw for sport tourists and have the potential to generate millions of dollars for the host city of Kingston.”

Kingston remains a relatively small city; however, the partnership with the local authorities, businesses and people, is an important one, aimed at overall growth, while enhancing the city’s status.

The Kingston City Marathon is the 2nd official marathon being hosted in Jamaica. The other being the Reggae Marathon in Negril in December.

RunLive partners with Kingston City Marathon

MIAMI, Florida: – Miami-based RunLive, one of the world’s first gamified social running platforms, has agreed to sign on as a partner for the Kingston City Marathon. Race Day is Sunday, March 17 in Kingston.

Founded by Mike Thompson and David Mullings, Jamaican entrepreneurs based in Florida, RunLive recently graduated from the leAD Sports Accelerator in Berlin, Germany.

“We originally planned to launch in Berlin first but could not pass up the opportunity to be part of Kingston’s first marathon” said Mike Thompson, a former Development Operations Engineer, who came up with the idea for the app 2 years ago.

David Mullings has been named as an Ambassador for the Kingston City Marathon and the RunLive team will help to drive visibility for the event via promotion in the app, posts on social media and bringing at least one Instagram running influencer to participate and share her experience with her followers. RunLive has over 135,000 followers on Instagram.

While plenty of other running apps with a social component do exist, most of them focus on mapping your run and tracking statistics but do not offer a way for runners to connect and compete in real-time.

HOW RunLiveStarted

“I was introduced to Mike by a Florida angel investor group to help him scale and was really impressed with his product. I committed to help raise capital and invest but got sucked in by his drive and the product roadmap” said co-founder David Mullings who is also a mentor with the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship Caribbean and Founder Institute Jamaica.

Co-Chair of Kingston City Marathon, Nicola Madden-Greig welcomes RunLive on Board – “We are pleased to have this new and emerging team partner with us for Kingston’s first certified marathon. We look forward to the reach this partnership can create, and we hope as the event progresses, we will add more participants.”

The app is currently available for iOS devices and the Android beta is scheduled to be released in late February. Investors include leAD Sports, which was founded by Klaus, Horst and Stefan Bente, grandsons of Adi Dassler, the founder of Adidas.

About RunLive

The RunLive app allows users to connect with runners across the world and run together in real-time for the ultimate running experience. Turn your sweat into sweet rewards when you earn RunCoins by completing challenges, logging runs and winning races. Learn more at ww.runlive.fit

About leAD

Klaus, Horst, and Stefan Bente are the oldest grandchildren of Adi Dassler. Together they founded the leAD Sports Accelerator and Adi Dassler International Family Office to revive their grandfather’s legacy. But they’re not alone. leAD is backed by an exclusive circle of international top investors from different areas that all have a strong foothold in the sports industry. Their objective is to support the visionary innovative strength of young founders with the same enthusiastic team spirit – and far beyond the accelerator program.

About Kingston City Marathon

What started out as the Kingston City Run six years ago, the event has now added a marathon to its existing 5K, 10K and half marathon course. The certification of the marathon by the IAAF/AIMS is significant and it identifies the value of an event like this in the Creative City of Kingston. For more go to www.kingstoncityrun.com or email kingstoncityrun@gmail.com

Press Contact:

David Mullings                        Carole Beckford

david@runlive.fit                    carole.beckford@gmail.com

407-513-2801                        + 1 876 566 3671

Logos at http://bit.ly/RunLive-Press e 2 A

Kingston City Marathon will enhance Kingston as a sport tourism destination

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Kingston’s hosting of its first IAAF/AIMS certified marathon on Sunday, March 17 is just another product that can serve as a great addition to its sport tourism product.

The marathon which is deemed appropriate in the wellness segment of the overall sport tourism product. Donovan White, Director of Tourism highlighted some of the global trends in his keynote address at the media launch of the Kingston City Marathon on Wednesday (January 16).

(l-r) Nicola Madden-Greig, Devon Samuels, Alan Beckford, Chris Jarrett, Donovan White.

The Director made some key points:

  • There were 830 million wellness trips in 2017, this was equivalent to 17 per cent of all tourism revenues
  • Wellness tourism is set to grow 7.5 per cent through to 2022
  • The estimated earnings from wellness travel is estimated to reach $919 billion by 2022
  • There is an average spend of $1,528 per trip for a wellness tourist, this represents 53 per cent more than the average tourist

“Jamaica now hosts two marathons almost four months apart, this is a clear opportunity,” according to the Director.

The Director was quick to point out the already established products of Kingston – great music, food and other exciting sporting events will be enhanced by the Kingston City Marathon, which he suggested that “marathons are a huge draw for sport tourists and have the potential to generate millions of dollars for the host city of Kingston.”

Race Ambassadors with Race Director

Co-Chair, Nicola Madden-Greig, in highlighting the announcements for this year’s running explained the partnership with the Miami Marathon where winners from both events will be entered in each other’s events free of charge. “Jamaica will exhibit and participate at this year’s Miami Marathon as part of our global outreach to encourage patrons to enter the Jamaican event in Kingston.”

Registration is on the www.kingstoncityrun.com link. Early bird registration ends on January 31.

The 5k will feature some of our younger generation – Holy Family Primary was in the house

#RunDiCity #FeelDiVibes fff

Kingston City Marathon – 2019

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Organizers of the Kingston City Marathon (KCM) are looking to surpass 5,000 competitors for its series of raceswith just over 90 days until race day.

Theevent will also seek to recognize “Caribbean Stars” – male and female winners for the first time in 2019. Co-Chair, Nicola Madden-Greig, made the disclosure at a local organizing committee meeting on Wednesday (December 12).

“As part of our efforts to target competitors from the Caribbean region, we plan tohighlight winners from the region in the inaugural marathon event. This is an important event for Kingston and we are hoping to attract competitors from across the globe.”

The event, which is in its seventh year, “is part of what Kingston has to offer, and we are putting out all the stops for a successful event,” noted Madden-Greig.

The Kingston City Marathon is an IAAF/AIMS-certified marathon which allows competitors to use their times to qualify for other international events. 

The three-day event (March 15 – 17) will include a 5k, 10K and the full marathon; in addition to an Expo with a focus on wellness and lifestyle; there will also be a welcome reception and an after-party to complement the weekend’s activities.

Registration remains open at www.kingstoncityrun.com

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’.

Musical Volts of Holt: The Softer Side of the 1970’s

by Tony Morrison
Journalist/Communications Specialist
November 5, 2014

The 1970’s were, in many ways, a rough and turbulent time in Jamaica. Fuelled partially by cold war geopolitical intrigue, political violence ravaged the streets of Kingston and beyond, to peak relentlessly by the end of the decade.

Simultaneously, despite years of “downpression” by Babylon, the 1930’s-born Rastafarian movement was finally in some ascendance, and in addition to heavily influencing the ever-evolving Jamaican dialect, its message of rebellion paired perfectly with the infectious one-drop reggae beat and the lyrics of resistance which inspired freedom fighters as far afield as Zimbabwe and Angola. It was a time of rude boys, radicals, rebels, political firebrands, propaganda, polarization, hysteria, aggression, and guns. Lots of guns, and lots of blood.

John Holt 3

It was an era that truly needed a softer, ‘flip’ side to salvage some sanity, or at least a soothing soundtrack to counterbalance all the frenetic mayhem. Like the better ‘B’ side of a vinyl 45, and like Johnsons’ baby powder for an infant’s discomfort, the escape provided by John Holt’s voice was the soothing response to that demand.

Holt rose to stardom in the 70’s, but apart from the radical tone of “Police in a Helicopter,” which demonstrated the growing influence of Rastafari in his life and thinking, there was little radical or aggressive about him, and he was the vocal antithesis of the era he dominated so gently. The cult classic The Harder They Come starring Jimmy Cliff hit movie screens in 1972, the same year in which Holt’s “Stick by Me” was the biggest selling single in the island. The former was to reinforce the notion that a wild west-inspired “bad man” lurks in the psyche of every Jamaican male, while the former crooned the broad hint that a soft-hearted lover boy lives there too.

John Holt 2

Bob Andy tells Rolling Stone that Holt’s voice was “a velveted tone like Nat King Cole,” and that “…he has the most unique balladeer voice in Jamaican music. Across the board, he was the voice of our era.” GQ magazine says “…ultimately, Holt’s legacy isn’t one track or album – it’s his unmistakable, high-voltage vocal that manages to be both narcoleptically soothing, prodigiously uplifting and quintessentially Jamaican…” As Britain’s The Guardian points out, only John Holt could pull off a song based on a silly and convoluted dream involving Ali Baba and the 40 thieves, a princess, three blind mice, Tom the piper’s son, Alice in her personal wonderland, and a duke and a duchess doing reggae. His writing and arrangement made it credible poetry, and his sweet, measured vocals made it beauty.

Holt was born in the Greenwich Farm, Kingston, in 1947, and by age 12 he was a regular at the then popular talent contests staged in a local theatre house and produced by radio personality Vere Johns.
Strangely enough, Holt described himself as initially shy and scared to sing, telling British journalist Carl Gayle in 1974, “School really wasn’t my thing…I preferred singing. I never attended singing class, though, I was scared. I was actually forced to sing in school by my friends; I didn’t have the nerve, y’know, to really go out and do it…”
After overcoming his fear, he would go on to temporarily torment another young hopeful whose stardom would eventually eclipse his own.
“I used to whip Jimmy Cliff’s ass, y’know…he was afraid. If he knew I was gonna sing tonight, for instance, he wouldn’t turn up.”

Holt sang his way to an incredible 28 awards in 4 years, and after being featured in the Star and the Gleaner, then the only two local newspapers, he was approached by then fledgling producer Leslie Kong, who negotiated a contract with Holt’s mother, since Holt was not yet of legal age. In 1963, when he was only 16, he recorded his first single for Kong on the newly launched Beverly’s label, “Forever I’ll Stay” with “I Cried a Tear,” on the flip side. “Forever I’ll Stay” reached number one on the RJR chart, and Kong paid him the “princely” sum of 33 pounds. Believing a top-selling record should yield much more, the young Holt walked away from Kong in disappointment. Holt then teamed up with Alton Ellis, who taught him to play the guitar, and together they recorded the best-selling “Mouth a Massie Liza” and “Rum Bumper” for Vincent Chin of Randy’s Records. Once again, Holt was disappointed with the money he received, and by now was disillusioned enough to think of giving up singing altogether, and actually “retired” for all of a year.

Then in 1965, he joined Junior Menz, Garth “Tyrone” Evans, and the not yet legendary Bob Andy in a group first called the Blinders. Menz left and was replaced by Howard Barrett, and the group was renamed the Paragons. This was the turning point, and with Holt ably taking on the role of writer and arranger in addition to vocalist, the Paragons quickly made a mark on the local music scene, producing a string of Doo Wop-influenced hits for Coxsone Dodd throughout 1965, and becoming a high-demand act for the island’s club and hotel circuit. The demise of ska and the rise of the slower-paced rock steady at the time was perfectly suited for Holt’s writing and singing style and paved the way for his solo career as a reggae crooner. This period saw hits like “Live and Love You,” “Love Dream,” and “Good Luck and Goodbye.” By 1966, however, Andy left the group to go on his own, and a period of turmoil followed before the group reinvented itself as a trio and secured a new record deal with Arthur “Duke” Reid and Treasure Isle Records.
One of the first recordings with Reid was “Happy Go Lucky Girl,” which was an instant hit, and in the coming months, hit after Paragons hit was to follow, including the violin infused “The Tide is High,” “Wear You to the Ball,” and the title track of their debut album, “On the Beach.” The group dominated the charts in 1967, and opened 1968 with two number one hits, “Silver Bird,” and “My Best Girl.” The nagging problem remained, however. For all this success, very little money was coming to them. The group attempted to start their own label, Supertone, in an effort to take control of their work, but with a music industry as corrupt as anywhere else in the world, the label never got off the ground, despite recording a handful of enduring classics, including “Memories by the Score” and “I’ve Got to Get Away.” It was the beginning of the end for the group, which did not see the seventies. Evans was the last to go, moving to New York in 1970, where Barrett had already gone.
Now on his own, Holt produced several hits for several producers, and by 1972 was firmly established not only as a soloist, but as one of Jamaica’s best, winning a procession of Best Male Vocalist titles to accompany his hits, which included “Stealing Stealing,” “Stick by Me,” “Strange Things,” and “Ali Baba.” International success and a big payday still eluded him, but that was about to change. Holt had met British sound system operator turned producer Tony Ashfield on Holt’s first trip to Britain in 1968. They met again when Holt returned to the country for a show two years later, and subsequent discussions led to the start of a joint project. Ashfield embellished Holt’s voice tracks with over-dubs of strings, horns, and flutes, and added the first rate background vocals of Blue Mink vocalist Madeline Bell and US Soul singer Doris Troy. By 1973, the Trojan LP “The Further You Look” was released, and topped the UK Reggae album charts. Some critics attacked the approach as a creative sell out, but the mix of raw, authentic Jamaican beats and slick British studio production struck the right crossover note with the British public, and the partnership persisted. Soon after, “A Thousand Volts of Holt” did even better than the previous album, and spawned the first of Holt’s major hits, a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make it Through The Night,” which peaked at number 6 on the UK charts in early 1974, and stayed on the charts for 14 weeks. By 1975, however, with the release of “2,000 Volts of Holt,” the partnership with Ashfield fell apart. Some purists actually rejoiced, and applauded the demise of what they viewed as an unfortunate flirtation with “Pop Reggae.” Holt was ahead of his time.
Two albums with producer Bunny Lee followed; “Superstar,” and “World of Love,” which was released in the UK by Trojan Records as “3000 Volts of Holt” in 1977.

John Holt 1

During a hectic touring schedule in 1978, Holt reunited with his former Paragons partners, Howard Barrett and Tyrone Evans, in the US. That meeting was fortuitous, as two years later, The Paragons were back in international music news as the group Blondie covered their 1967 hit, “The Tide is High.” The cover was a pandemic monster of a hit, and catapulted to number one in both the US and UK as well as in Canada and New Zealand, in addition to charting in Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, and Switzerland. As writer of the song, Holt therefore has the distinction of writing the very first reggae song to top the US Billboard charts, and one of reggae’s first multinational hits.
Assuming his publishing rights were in order, this song should have been one of, if not the absolute biggest of his musical cash cows, as in addition to its initial global chart success with Blondie, it was also eventually covered by a plethora of artists, including UB40, Gregory Isaacs, and Dennis Brown. Notably, the British girl-group Atomic Kitten took the song back to global success in 2002, including making it number one in the UK and New Zealand in 2002 and making it a chart hit as far as in Turkey, where it peaked at number 4. In 2008, the cover by Canadian rapper Kardinal Official failed to crack the top 20 at home, but nonetheless sold gold, made it to number one in Germany, and hit the top 10 in both Israel and Turkey.
All this renewed attention and acclaim for the Paragons led to the 1980 Island Records release of an album of newly recorded material from the group, titled “Sly and Robbie present The Paragons.” Despite positive reaction to the effort, Holt resisted the temptation to reform the group and stuck with his solo career. In 1982, he teamed up with the top reggae producer of the day, Henry “Junjo” Lawes, who by then had already unleashed dancehall phenomenon Yellowman.
Of this union came the major Jamaican hits “Sweetie Come Brush Me,” and “Fat She Fat,” both a tad more hard-core than his usual style, and also the banned and seemingly out of character but well rendered “Police in Helicopter.” The latter was an indignant chastisement of Babylon’s persecution of the planters of the good ganja weed, and became an anthem of marijuana advocates all over Europe.
After dominating the 70’s and holding his own in the 80’s, Holt eventually had to leave the spotlight to a procession of new, younger acts, and to the emerging dancehall offshoot of roots reggae, but his stature as an elder statesman in the industry never waned, and so he never really left the radar. Jamaicans are nothing if not sentimental about their music, and so in addition to being a Sunsplash and Heineken Startime regular during the 90’s, he continued to the end to be an in-demand act for retro and vintage shows at home and abroad.
Holt never changed much over the years, never compromised his style, and maintained his trademark manner of being slower and more romantic than most of his contemporaries in rock steady, and those who would follow through reggae to dancehall. As a result, he probably has more claim than most to being the artiste who most deserves the title of being the chief forerunner of the lovers-rock sub-genre of reggae made so popular in modern times by the likes of Beres Hammond.

In October, 2000, Holt enjoyed the enviable distinction of performing three sold out concerts in England (two at the Apollo in London and one at the Symphony Centre in Birmingham) under the patronage of no less than Prince Charles, and backed by not only Lloyd Parkes and We the People Band, but also none other than London’s finest, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The union was as unforgettably flawless as it was unprecedented. Holt did 22 specially arranged songs each night plus 10 a cappella, and as a bit of Jamaican “brawta,” lovers rock ace Freddie McGregor appeared as special guest for the third show.

Fittingly, John Holt was awarded the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) by the Jamaican government in 2004, for his sterling contribution to Jamaican music. He was not to see the end of 2014, and after being diagnosed with colon cancer in June, he collapsed on stage at the One Love Concert at Milton Keynes in England in August, and then passed on October 19 in London at age 67.

He is survived by his wife Valerie, ten children, twenty grandchildren, over 40 albums, a global legion of fans, a reputation as a gentleman in a fickle business, and a legacy that will shine as long as music lives.

Tony Morrison

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 http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/
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 http://www.tiff.net

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!