Monthly Archives: January 2012


2011 was a good year for the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL in which a number of excellent films won awards.  For those who missed them, the Movie Garden of REDBONES – THE BLUES CAFE, New Kingston will be the venue for a programme of BEST OF THE REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL 2011 on Saturday, February 18. Among the films to be shown are the feature film Rocksteady – the Movie (winner Best International Feature) starring Cedric Sanders and David ‘Steel Pulse’ Hinds, and the Rasta -reggae documentary Holding On To JAH (winner Honour Award – Special Documentary).

An important feature of the evening will be the screening of three new Jamaican short films including a new episode of the animated series ‘DUTTY BWOY” by Reinardo ‘Mental’ Chung (winner DIGICEL Animation Award) , and the 3 winning films of the 2011 RBC Make A Film in 24 Hours competition.

THANK YOU FROM THE JAMAICA FILM ACADEMY As we look forward to the 2012 event, the Jamaica Film Academy would like to take a moment to thank our film makers for submitting great films, our sponsors for making it possible, and our volunteers and friends for supporting the Festival.     We couldn’t have done it without YOU!!!

Jamaica Film Academy  Directors:  Carl Bradshaw (Chairman), Barbara Blake Hannah (Festival Director), Peter Gittins (Reggae Films UK), Sally Henzell, Cordel Green (Broadcasting Commission), Kevin Jackson (Jamaican Film Industry), Rick Elgood (Director), Colin Leslie.


The Jamaica Film Academy announces that the 2012 Jamaica REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL it organizes annually, will be held April 17-21, 2012 in Kingston, Jamaica. In a preview event, the Jamaica Film Academy will host a screening of the “BEST OF THE REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL 2011” feature, documentary, short and animated films in Reggae Month, February 18, 2012.

In keeping with the format initiated at the event’s February 2008 beginning, the 2012 Reggae Film Festival will showcase films in which aspects of Jamaica’s Reggae music culture are displayed, documented and memorialized in feature, documentary and short films, animation and music videos. The 2012 Festival will once again feature the Make A Film In 24 Hours competition sponsored by RBC Bank – Jamaica, that in 2011 saw 15 film crews competing to shoot a 5-minute film on a selected theme in just 24 hours for cash prizes and awards.


Assisting the Jamaica Film Academy’s objective to increase and improve the output of Jamaican film making, the RBC Bank sponsorship of the annual Make A Film In 24 Hours competition has inspired and produced new Jamaican film making talent. The Festival has also discovered and supported the surprising wealth of Jamaican talent in digital animation. The acknowledged expertise and innovation of Jamaican music video makers exposing the talents of Jamaica’s powerful musical artists, provides another area highlighted by the Reggae Film Festival.


A special Jamaica50 Programme will feature retrospective screenings of early Jamaican films, including the classic “The Harder They Come” that marked the start of an indigenous feature film industry, the award-winning documentary “Life and Debt” covering the politically turbulent 70’s, and the short films of cinematographer Chris Browne, director of “Ghetta Life”.  In 2012 the Reggae Film Festival will introduce an International Programme of films outside the reggae genre, so as to enable the programme to include entries already received from Africa, the USA and the Middle East, including an entry from Iran. 

In five years the Reggae Film Festival has showcased more than 200 films highlighting reggae culture made by Jamaicans, global reggae researchers and fans from the Caribbean, UK, USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Africa. The focus of many documentaries on the history of Jamaican music and music makers, has given the Jamaica Film Academy an archive of historical material on the genre that preserves on film the oral memories of a culture that that emerged from the Rastafari movement and spread to and been honored by the world.

Annual Awards are presented in several categories and and the international interest in the unique music and culture of Jamaica has given prize-winning films further international awards and distribution.

Further information and Entry Forms can be found on the JFA website: www.jamaicafilm

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The JAMAICA FILM ACADEMY is pleased to welcome RBC Bank for the second year as a Sponsor of the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL Make A Film In 24 Hours competition, after a successful year in 2011 when 15 teams of Jamaican film makers entered. Through the renewal of RBC’s prestigious partnership with the Festival, a link has been made with Cameron Bailey, Deputy Director of the RBC-sponsored Toronto International Film Festival, who will attend the 2012 Festival as Convenor and Chief Judge of the Make A Film In 24 Hours competition.

RBC’s sponsorship of the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival has also provided the Reggae Film Festival a link with that event, whose directors have been invited to present a selection of Caribbean films at the Jamaica. festival.  The 2012 Reggae Film Festival takes place April 17-21 in Kingston.


Stepping Off the Precipice

The 5th Jamaica REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL will take place April 17-21, 2012. With that statement, the Jamaica Film Academy takes a bold step towards bringing another Reggae Film Festival to Jamaican film lovers and film screens.  It’s always a bold step, almost a step off a precipice into the great Unknown, because we start out each year with nothing more than the will power, determination and pure blind faith that we will be able to actually present a series of film shows to an eager audience, and satisfy the patience and expectation of the film makers who have worked hard to create a piece of film art for their viewing.

Why do we do this?

People Who Love Jamaica

2008 Entry - CANADA

Because there are so many people who love Jamaica enough to make films about Jamaica, about the things that are special about Jamaica, about the people who make Jamaica great.  These people — this big family of Jamaica lovers — stretches from Kingston to Negril, to Miami, New York, London, Birmingham, Paris, Vienna, Toronto, Hawaii, Rome, Tokyo,  Tehran and parts still further. They all come together in film at the Festival to celebrate one small island in the Caribbean Sea that has impressed, inspired and influenced so many people around the world, that it needs a film festival all of its own to display the many ways its greatness is celebrated.

I am personally so proud to be helping them show how GREAT my little island is! No one asked them to make these films. Most of them did it just for LOVE of Beautiful Jamaica! And they have made such lovely films!!!

New Jamaican cinema

Then again,  the JFA can’t disappoint the new breed of Jamaican film makers, who see at last opportunities to stop wasting their talent making beautifully photographed, technically excellent videos for un-memorable dancehall songs and singers, and instead try their hand at making good films to compete with the big budget cinema efforts of Hollywood, Bollywood and Henzellwood. Recording their ghetto lives in the concrete jungles of Jamaica, the Reggae Film Festival’s screening opportunities, recognition and awards have shown them that better will come from this opportunity to show their work and be rewarded.

Reinardo 'Mental' Chung

Self-taught animator Reinardo Mental Chung was almost unknown until the May, 2011 RFF screened his 8-minute ‘Bad Influence” and not only astonished the opening night VIP audience, but won himself the DIGICEL Animation Award. This led to jobs designing animated characters for Heinekin’s popular TV DJ/selector competition.  His new animated series ‘Dutty Bwoy” has gone viral on YouTube with 800,000 hits.

Young actress Melissa Fearon starred in TWO feature films in 2010 and won herself the Best Actress award. She will appear next in a major feature by Paul Bucknor’s Firefly Films.  Inner-city resident Kurt Fuller took a video camera he was using to film graduations and weddings and made a film about life in ‘Concrete Jungle – Kingston 12’ that made his name and future as a film maker.

Kurt Fuller (l) and lead actor DJ Singy

Playwright Ginger Knight’s film version of his popular roots play “Room For Rent” won 2011 Best Screenplay award, was immediately picked up for international distribution after years of waiting. The highly popular Make A Film In 24 Hours, sponsored last year by RBC Bank,  ‘discovered’ film maker Amaziyah The Great in 2010, who shared the award with top professional Jay Will for his 5 minute film, then won the 2011 Audience Award for his entry “Stay Firm’, now being developed into a short feature.

Success Stories

These are just a few of the Jamaican success stories. International film makers have found benefits from their association with the RFF. The world premiere and first press publicity of the Spanish/Jamaican sports documentary “Why Do Jamaicans Run So Fast?” took place at the 2009 RFF, and it went on to win international screenings and awards. US feature film “Wah Do Dem”, winner of the February 2010 Best International Feature award, received huge publicity when it was reviewed on the NY Times Front Page celebration of July 1 as International Reggae Day. Films like “Fire In Babylon” and “Rocksteady – The Movie” proudly display the RFF laurel on their websites and DVD covers.

Entries Already Coming In

Chris Browne

Then there are the film makers who have already started sending in their films — the most surprising of which has come from Iran, an emotional documentary of one refugee family’s escape. “Home, Sweet Harlesden” documents memories of the first Caribbean immigrants to Britain, while Ethiopia will send the first feature film to be shown in Jamaica. These films will be screened in the new International Programme.

This year the Jamaica Film Academy is planning to specially honour Jamaican film director, cinematographer and screenwriter Chris Browne of “Ghetta Life” with a special programme of his early short films. It will be good if we get to do this, as Chris is such an unsung hero of the Jamaican film industry, whose work stretches way back.

Taking A Deep Breath …

These are some of the reasons that make me return again to this precipice, taking a deep breath as I prepare to do another Reggae Film Festival and praying with Faith that JAH has kept my wings fully operational.

Stokeley Marshall, RFF Legal Advisor; H.E. Ambassador of Spain Celso Nuno and husband; Roxanne Lindsay, Senior Vice President, RBTT/RBC, Kingston; Festival director BBH

Most of all I pray that right below the edge of the precipice is a huge, upholstered NET placed there by the Angels known as SPONSORS — those organizations that see the value of the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL as something good for Jamaica, and therefore a worthwhile way in which to promote their goods and services to a discerning and enthusiastic audience. We already have an international media audience online and in print, with magazines such as BILLBOARD and RIDDIM among our biggest fans. I just hope we can convince a few of these Angels to fly with the RFF again.


We have some good company up here in the rarefied atmosphere where dreams live.  The Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, the African-Caribbean Film Festival of New York, Denise Jones of Toronto’s Caribana and Jambana, the young members of the Jamaican Film Industry, some equally young Ethiopian Film Makers and of course, the festival co-conceptualizer, Peter Gittins of Reggae Films UK.

So Yes, here we go again!  For starters, a taste in Reggae Month! COME FLY WITH ME!