History       In the decades since 1972 when Jamaica’s first feature film “THE HARDER THEY COME” exposed the island’s reggae music to the world on its soundtrack, a growing number of films have been made that focus on or include aspects of Jamaica’s music culture. In 2008 a collection of new films of this genre were gathered together in one place for three nights of the first ever REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL held at Emancipation Park, New Kingston, February 25th-27th.

rffstageOrganized as a feature of the first Reggae Month by the Jamaican Ministry of Culture with the co-sponsorship of private sector companies, the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL 2008 presented 20 films over three nights in the presence of film makers and actors from Jamaica, Spain, Germany, the UK, USA, Canada and Britain — some of whom came specially to bring their films to the Festival. On closing night six film pioneers were inducted as the first Executive Directors of a Jamaica Film Academy and the Reggae Film Festival was declared a success.

fire in babylonAWARD WINNING FILMS             Several of the films shown then and in the five succeeding festivals have received international exposure and distribution as a result of the international media coverage of the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL over the years, including the German feature film ‘ALMOST HEAVEN” , the reggae documentary “DUB ECHOES”, the award-winning cricket documentary ”FIRE IN BABYLON” and the Feature films “WAH DO DEM”, ‘A DANCE FOR GRACE” and “CONCRETE JUNGLE – KINGSTON 12″, each of which won Reggae Film Festival Honour Awards before going on to international fame.

red-ambergreenIn 2010 the RFF introduced the annual Make A Film In 24 Hours competition, which has proved popular and successful in giving new and upcoming Jamaican film makers a chance to test their film skills and brought them to public attention and new projects. The RFF has also unearthed and showcased the surprising talents of a growing number of 2- and 3-D animators, as well as several ‘urban guerilla’ Jamaican film makers who honed their talents on camdorders recording weddings and graduations, before venturing out to make their first experimental, but admirable feature films. The BEST OF THE FEST international tour has screened award-winning films in London, Birmingham, Kent, Spain and Serbia.

island village

OCHO RIOS –        In 2013 the festival moved to a new date – August 1-5 in Jamaica’s Independence holiday Week  — and a new venue — the Island Village Shopping and Entertainment Mall located on a white sand beach in the heart of the Ocho Rios tourist resort. Home of the Reggae Xplosion interactive tech exhibition of Jamaica’s reggae music history, the landmark venue is home to the tribute statue of Bob Marley by sculptor Christopher Gonzales. The shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars of Island Village surround a  broad lawn and a wide stage on which films were presented.

madge-sinclair-2The 2013 RFF screened documentary, feature and animated films from Jamaica, Austria, Belize, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Israel, and the USA.  The 2013 event introduced a Music Video Competition, selected by votes, and specially honoured Women In Film, with a memorial  tribute to the late Jamaican actress Madge Sinclair. 

THANK YOU       The Jamaica Film Academy thanks all its supporters, friends and helpers over the years, and looks forward to a bigger and better JAMAICA INTERNATIONAL REGGAE FILM & MUSIC FESTIVAL in the near future, details of any future festivals will be clearly advertised on this page.


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