Creativity of Caribbean Films and filmmaking in Barbados

Creativity of Caribbean Films and filmmaking in Barbados
Photo courtesy Caribbean Tales

Barbadians and visitors to the island will once again experience the glorious creativity of Caribbean films and filmmaking through screenings and innovative training opportunities when CaribbeanTales 2012 comes off from April 10 to 15 at Island Inn. This will be the third edition of the Barbados edition of the festival which is also held annually in Toronto and New York and is a highlight of the regional cultural calendar.

CEO of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, Frances Anne Solomon, speaking at the festival’s media launch in Bridgetown last week, revealed a full program to be rolled out at venues around the island including Island Inn Hotel, Frank Collymore Hall, George Washington House and Olympus Cinemas.

The festival kicks off with an Opening Gala on April 11 headlined by the Caribbean Premiere of “Sing Your Song: the Harry Belafonte Story,” an “inspiring and deeply beautiful” documentary about the famous actor/singer of Caribbean heritage, Harry Belafonte. The film, which had its world premiere as the Opening Film at the Sundance Film Festival last year, will be screened alongside two new Barbadian short films – “A Day in a Bajan Life”, produced by Penelope Hynam and “Panama Fever” by Alison Saunders.

The CaribbeanTales Film Festival has become an important annual film event in Barbados drawing industry stakeholders and the general public to a mulitfacetted forum focussed not just on screening the best Caribbean films, but also on developing industry skills, linking international and regional practitioners, creating networking opportunities, seeking solutions to challenges facing the sector, as well as facilitating the marketing and distribution of indigenous film products.

During her presentation, Solomon who is a film maker in her own right, and CEO of the only distribution company dedicated to Caribbean films, likened the festival to a tent with many different stalls which are the various activities taking place during the festival. In this regard, she expressed appreciation for the contributions of the Barbados Steering Committee which this year includes many distinguished and accomplished industry veterans.

Penelope Hynam, Programmer for the festival introduced the lineup of films to be screened, and credited CaribbeanTales with having a lasting impact on the development of the local and regional industry.

Another steering group member, Annette Nias, Film and Photography Officer for the National Cultural Foundation, reaffirmed the NCF’s commitment to the Festival through a major innovative collaboration between local filmmakers and composers, to be led by renowned Canadian composer John Welsman, assisted by local composer Andre Woodvine.

The NCF is also supporting another ground-breaking skills development initiative – the Script2Screen Screenwriting Clinic – that aims to help writers hone their screenwriting skills through the presentation and analysis of staged readings of their work. This program is co-ordinated by Douglas Newton (Bridgetown Film Academy), who urged writers to send their scripts in, as the deadline for submissions is March 21.

One of the more exciting opportunities for filmmakers during the festival is the “48 hr Film Challenge”. Chris Cooke-Johnson, director/owner of Creative Junction and the project’s producer, outlined its aims. The Challenge is also being co-produced by Toronto-based filmmaker Rodney Smith (Flying Monkey Films) and filmmaker Akley Olton’s Irebel Films.

In an stirring closing address, steering group member Patrick Cozier, who is also the Secretary General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, noted that ten years ago he had declared the cultural industries as “ the best economic Greenfield open to the region” and that he stood even firmer behind that statement today. Cozier pledged the support of regional broadcasters for the festival and urged the private sector to step up to the plate to provide financial support to ensure the sustainability of the burgeoning new sector.

Finally, Solomon reaffirmed CaribbeanTales partnership with the popular Island Inn Hotel, the headquarters for the 6-day event. The award-winning Trinidadian filmmaker emphasized the region’s premier film festival group is definitely on the move.

For more information, contact: Frances-Anne Solomon, festival director; Nancii Yearwood, festival co-ordinator: 266-7779 or [email protected]

CaribbeanTales2012@Island Inn, Barbados is sponsored by Andre Woodvine, The Barbados Film and Video Association, Benjamin Drakes Photography, Blue Waters Productions, Bridgetown Film Academy, Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Caribbean Media Corporation, Creative Junction, Frank Collymore Hall, Irebel Films, Island Inn, National Cultural Foundation, Seaweaver Productions, and SFa Communications.

For the full Program of events and to buy tickets: