Monthly Archives: March 2012


The 5th presentation of the JAMAICA REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL opens Wednesday, April 18 and continues April 20, 21,22 in the Gardens of the JAMAICA PEGASUS HOTEL, New Kingston. Proudly celebrating JAMAICA50 in Film, the festival is includes four new feature films by Jamaican film makers, six short features in the Cine Jamaica category, and several new 5-minute films in the RBC Bank-sponsored Make A Film In 24 Hours competition.

The Festival’s International Programme is headlined by the award-winning documentary about Jamaican-American actor Harry BelafonteSING YOUR SONG‘, and includes ‘GOSPEL HILL’, a feature film directed and produced by noted Hollywood actor Giancarlo Esposito. “WITH FIDEL, WHATEVER HAPPENS”, an entry from Goran Radovinovic of Serbia about Cuba, and THE INVITATION from Iran, are two International documentaries, while in DESTINATION JAMAICA Canadian film maker George Tait, takes a non-tourist look at Jamaican history and culture.

Reggae music documentaries include STUDIO DRUMMIE ONE AND THE HISTORY OF ROCKSTEADY MUSIC from the USA, which turns the spotlight on Studio One drummer Joe “Drummie” Isaacs, with highlights of iconic guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith and his musical friends. “SHOWTIME” is a live concert documentary with interviews that joins the dots between Jamaican sound system culture and UK club music.

The REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL is also pleased to honour the work of Jamaican film maker Christopher Browne with the showing of his award-winning short feature ENTRY DENIED.

Jamaica will finally get a chance to see director/producer Diavalan Fearon‘s much-awaited comedy “BLIND SHOTTA”   whose trailer has been a YouTube sensation. Jamaican film maker Karret Barclay has TWO feature films in the 2012 programme: MISTAKE, an urban crime drama, and CAUGHT WITH MI OWN EYES, a love story. UK-based Julian Henriques brings his feature WE THE RAGAMUFFIN starring reggae artist Mikey General, in a Jamaican premiere of this legend of reggae film history.  US-based new director Paulette King‘s THE INCREDIBLE BANANA based on a Jamaican fable completes the Jamaican features.

Films in the Cine Jamaica category include RED, AMBER, GREEN by Christopher Byfield and CAMARIAH’S WAY by Craig ‘Amaziah The Great’ Kirkland— both of them previous winners of the 24 Hours Competition.

'Dutty Bwoy'

Award-winning animator Reinardo ‘Mental” Chung, has a new episode of his dancehall comedy series ‘DUTTY BWOY” which has a massive YouTube following. SINCE I FELL FOR YOU, by the BliP Film Collective, SURFACE LOVE by Jones Jr., and I RASTA by Canada-based Adrian Currie.


RBC Bank are once again Gold Sponsors of the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL, in particular of the Make a Film In 24 Hours competition that begins on Monday, April 16 at 9 a.m. and ends the following day at the same time with competitors handing in their finished 5-minute films in an effort to win prizes. Gold Sponsors FLOW will broadcast the 10 best competition films on the cable network, and offer PPV downloads of selected films during the Film Festival.

PROPS AND MORE, Jamaica’s leading conceptulizers and creators of décor and special effects for film, theatre and events, will transform the Pegasus Gardens into an outdoor cinema. Designer Scheed Cole has also designed and created the Film Festival Awards. Solar recording studio SUGASHAK RECORDS has once again sponsored the Best Soundtrack Award. Media sponsors include IRIE-FM, Jamaica GLEANER, Jamaica OBSERVER and social media specialists JAMEDIAPRO.

Jamaica Pegasus Gardens - File photo

The JAMAICA FILM ACADEMY presents the Reggae Film Festival 2012 as a proud tribute to Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Reggae Film Festival DAILY NEWS – Thursday, April 29


The REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL is pleased to highlight the work of Jamaican film maker CHRISTOPHER BROWNE in celebration of JAMAICA 50.

Born in St. Elizabeth, a rural area of Jamaica, Christopher Browne grew up living the simple life; no telephones, and no television until he was twelve. He was schooled at De Carteret College, Mandeville and later in England. Following high school, he moved to the United States where he started his Bachelor of Arts degree at the Atlanta College of Art.

In the summer holiday of 1982, he worked as the assistant to his uncle, Perry Henzell, director of the reggae cult film, ‘The Harder They Come’ on Mr. Henzell’s second feature ‘No Place Like Home’. It was at this time that Chris Browne decided on a career in film. He changed his major to Film and went to The Art Institute of Chicago, and later to Columbia College in Chicago.

Upon finishing his studies in 1984, he returned to Jamaica to work for various foreign film companies which used Jamaica as a location. He was 2nd assistant editor on ‘Club Paradise’ (1985), assistant art director on ‘Cocktail’ (1988) and camera assistant on such films as ‘Cool Runnings’ (1992) and ‘Stella Got Her Groove Back’, gaining experience that positioned him as one of a small, well-trained group of Jamaican film workers providing quality professional services to the Hollywood film industry.


In between these jobs, Browne utilized his time, money and talents to write, produce and direct his own short films. These include ‘So It Go’ (1985), ‘Crossfire’ (1989), ‘Star’ (1991), ‘Country of the One Eye God’ (1992), ‘Final Verdict’ (1993), and ‘Entry Denied’ (1996), which won best short film at the International Jamerican Film & Music festival in 1999. and is being shown at the Reggae Film Festival on Awards Night, Sunday April 22.

‘Crossfire’ (1989) won best short film at the Caribbean Film Festival in Martinique, was invited to The London Film Festival and released in Jamaican cinemas to great reviews. In 1990 and 1993, Chris Browne was awarded a JAMI for direction and cinematography of the Best Music Video (Jamaica’s equivalent to the Grammy.) In 1996, Browne won the John F. Kennedy – Fellowship Of the Americas in Film, competing against South and Central America, Canada, and the Caribbean, to pursue research of current and potential markets in the United States for film. In 1996, Browne won the honor to produce and direct the pilot for the series ‘Uprising’ from Banyan, a film company based in Trinidad.

Browne directed his first feature film, ‘Third World Cop’, in 1999 which he also co-wrote for Palm Pictures. The film had its world premier in September at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival and was released on October 6, 1999 in Jamaica by Palace Amusement. ‘Third World Cop’ broke box office records in Jamaica, running for an unprecedented four months, making more money than ‘Titanic‘ in the Caribbean – over 21 million Jamaican dollars. It was distributed internationally by Palm Pictures in Toronto, New York, Miami, and London, where it ran for two months at the Ritzi cinema in Brixton, London.   THE VOICE Newspaper, London wote on 28 Feb 2000:“This Palm Pictures production is packed with non-stop action that’ll keep you entertained from start to finish

After the success of ‘Third World Cop’, Browne was given the opportunity to do the first series of commercials for a local bank. This series of three commercials won “Audience Favorite Commercial 2000” at the Peer Awards, Achievement in Advertising for Browne as Writer / Producer / Director. In 2002, Browne was awarded ‘The Doctor Bird’ from his peers for his career achievements and contributions to the Jamaican film industry.


Browne has currently released his second feature ‘Ghett’a Life” which was the Grand Prize Winner of The Hartley-Merrill International Screenwriting Competition at Cannes Film Festival 2006. Released on July, 2011 islandwide, ‘Ghett’a Life’ had it’s North American Premiere at the Caribbean Tales Showcase in Toronto, Canada on Tuesday Sept 13th at 8:30pm and later at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival on the 23rd of September. The film was released in England on December 2 in selected cinemas nationwide, and was recently released in the Eastern Caribbean.

Chistopher Browne is currently in development on his next film entitled ‘The Tenth and Final’ a rural love story set in the turbulent world of horse racing in Jamaica.


Reggae Film Festival DAILY NEWS – Wednesday, March 28

SHOWTIME – The History Of UK Dancehall Live On Stage

The Heatwave are known for throwing mad parties, and Showtime on 15th June 2011 was madder than most. But Showtime was more than just a party. It was an explosion of UK dancehall history, bringing together legends from every era of UK rave music to share the mic and spit lyrics over classic dancehall riddims.

In this feature length movie filmed at the event, Rollo Jackson (Tape Crackers, Toddla T, Hot Chip) captures the magical live performances and takes us behind the bright lights and onstage hype, conducting in-depth interviews with pioneers of the UK bashment scene like Glamma Kid, Stush, Skibadee and Riko Dan. The result is an epic document of UK music culture and a vital piece of oral history, telling a story which is often forgotten or misrepresented by the mainstream.

SHOWTIME joins the dots between Jamaican sound system culture and UK club music. Reggae/dancehall has had a massive impact and influence on UK club culture: everything from acid house, hardcore, jungle and drum’n’bass to garage, grime, dubstep and funky house. All MCs and rappers in the UK owe a debt to Jamaica and to British Jamaicans like Smiley Culture, Papa Levi and General Levy. This is a story that is not always told and not clearly understood, as Jamaican influence and dancehall culture are often misunderstood and misrepresented. The Heatwave are committed to addressing this and to ensuring that Jamaican music is given its proper place as a crucial and innovative artform that has had lasting impact on the UK music scene.



Reggae Film Festival DAILY NEWS – Monday, March 26


DIRECTOR: Julian Henriques (UK/JA) * Star: Mikey General

We the Ragamuffin (1992) is a street musical shot in South London with first time local performers, the Saxon sound system and a professional crew. It was broadcast on Channel Four Television. The film was regarded as highly successful by the cast and community, critically acclaimed and has been shown at film festivals around the world, but never in Jamaica.

Despite being filmed in London, the script, dialogue and characters make the story and action completely Jamaican. The Production Notes describe the area where it was shot as follows: “The film is set only minutes away from central London. But for many people Peckham could be a distant foreign country. The area has the reputation for the highest crime rates, the most dilapidated housing and the worst education in the country. According to the media the milkmen and the postmen refuse to deliver on such “no go estates.”

As Mikey General, the film’s lead character, sings in the film: “Not everyone can be a ragamuffin/ You ca’an have manners and nuff discipline/ You have to know ghetto life, know struggling/ How to make a million from one shilling.”

DIRECTOR: Dr Julian Henriques has worked for London Weekend Television, BBC Television, Music and Arts Department and run his own production company, Formation Films. He is also writer-director of the feature film Babymother.

Julian ran the film and television department at CARIMAC at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica and is currently senior lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications, at Goldsmiths, University of London, convening the MA in Script Writing programme and leading the BA Music as Communication and Creativity course.

He is co-author of Changing the Subject, a founding editor of the Ideology & Consciousness journal with chapters and articles in Auditory Culture Reader, Sonic Interventions,Sonic Synergies, African and Black Diaspora and Body & Society. In 2011 his sound sculpture Knots and Donuts was staged at Tate Modern and his monograph Sonic Bodies was published.


Reggae Film Festival DAILY NEWS – Sunday, March 25


With a career in film, television and theatre spanning several decades, Esposito is acknowledged as one of the leading Black actors in Hollywood. Half African-American, half Italian, his mother was an opera singer, his father a stagehand and carpenter from Naples, Italy and he was born while his mother was doing a nightclub gig on a split bill with Josephine Baker in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Esposito lived in Europe, New York City, and Cleveland until he and his family moved Manhattan when he was six. With such a theatrical heritage, it is no wonder that Giancarlo started acting at age 8 playing a slave child in a film starring Shirley Jones, and becoming world famous in his iconic role as the bug-eyed militant who starts the street uprising in Spike Lee‘s classic “Do The Right Thing”. His relationship with Lee led to him starring in six of Spike Lee’s ‘joints’ including ‘School Daze’, ‘Malcolm X‘ and ‘Mo Betta’ Blues‘.

Other films in which Giancarlo’s presence was noticed included ‘Waiting To Exhale” with Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett, ‘King of New York‘ with Christopher Walken and the role of Muhammad Ali‘s father in ‘Ali’. On his many appearances on the small screen, Esposito is known for his portrayal of FBI agent Mike Giardello on the TV crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street, a role that reflected both his black and Italian heritage and which he played from 1998 until the series’ cancellation. Other TV credits include NYPD Blue, Law & Order, The Practice, New York Undercover, and Fallen Angels: Fearless.

Jamaicans will remember him from the locally-produced feature film ‘Kla$h’ the 1994 dancehall movie co-starring Jasmine Guy, Carl Bradshaw, Stafford Ashani and with performances by Shabba Ranks, Ice and Carlene the DanceHall Queen.

A consumate professional, Esposito’s name crops up frequently in films, TV series and stage plays. But it is his role in the2011 ABC TV series ‘Breaking Bad’ that has brought him a new level of stardom and recognition for his superb acting skills. As the L.A. Times reports,  “In “Breaking Bad,” Esposito is a man of few words, letting his cold eyes and taut expressions speak for him as Gus Fring, the deceptively mild-mannered owner of a fast-food chicken chain who is actually the mastermind of a meth distribution ring. Esposito’s complex portrayal of Gus has been a breakthrough role for the actor while bringing renewed acclaim to one of TV’s elite dramas.”


Not content with his acting career, Giancarlo Esposito has taken his place behind the cameras as Producer/Director of “Gospel Hill“,  a feature film from his brand new production company Quiet Hand Films starring Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson and Esposito himself which he brings to the Reggae Film Festival.  The plot surrounds a former sheriff of the southern town dealing with past sins, and a former civil rights worker, withdrawn since the martyrdom of his brother thirty years before, who both confront a threat to their town.


Has acting given you enough fame and money?  “Accumulating money has never been a real goal for me. Rather, I think about how to make every moment of my life mean something. What’s been my barometer for success is my creative and spiritual growth – I measure my success by the quality of my work. Last year I sat down and re-examined things. I asked myself if I wanted to do anything and everything just to get a lot of money. I decided I’d rather work and collaborate with people at the top of their craft. And my dream has come true. In one film I worked with four Academy Award winners: Director Robert Benton, Susan Sarandon, Gene Hackman, and Paul Newman.”

What made you become an actor?  “I started in the acting business at age 8, so I feel it’s my experience and social skills for example, how to be charismatic, how not to lose your temper – that have helped me the most to succeed. But I did develop a plan: I wanted to work with good people who had a passion for what they did. Still, at age 17, I made the decision to study the technical part of the business as well. I got a two year degree in radio and television communication at Elizabeth Seton College in Yonkers, New York. I figured if I never made It as an actor, I could go to Alaska, be a cameraman, and collect a paycheck. It would be something to fall back on, but something I still enjoyed.”

When did you first feel you were a success?  “I first felt successful when I was 13 and in a show called ‘Seesaw‘. I came offstage and heard the applause of the theater audience and felt a sense of accomplishment. Around that time my role model for success was Burt Lancaster. He was one of the first actors In Hollywood to start his own production company, and I respected him because he created something he believed in. Nowadays I look to spiritual people, such as Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama, since I’m always asking myself, ‘What do I have to give?”

What advice can you give upcoming actors? “My advice for achieving success is to make a career choice that reflects your passion. Then work your craft a little bit each day-even if someone’s not paying you to do It. Try to balance your social life with your educational (or professional) life, and have patience.”


Reggae Film Festival DAILY NEWS – Friday, March 23


THE INCREDIBLE BANANA is one of three feature-length films by Jamaican directors in this year’s REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL. Directed by Paulette King, the film is a real life drama of a sucsessful family living the high life in a multi million dollar mansion in the fabulous seaside community of Indialantic who become beset by financial setbacks that result in loss of material wealth and of so called friends. And in the the hero is saved by the most simple of inspirations – a banana.

Born in Montego Bay, Paulette attended Florida Institute of Technology on an athletic scholarship in womens’s basketball, then Florida Atlantic University receiving a BA in Criminal Justice. While continuing as  basketball coach, she has written, directed and produced several award-winning independent films, including THE INCREDIBLE BANANA.

DIRECTOR SUBMITS TWO FEATURE FILMS      Jamaican director KARRET BARCLAY has submitted not one, but two feature films in this year’s festival.  In “Mistake“, Georgie, a top gangster owes Choppa a lot of money, but when he realizes he can’t pay him back, he organizes some of his thugs to steal cars to clear the debt, but that’s where everything takes a wrong turn by mistake. In ‘Caught With Mi Eyes“, a husband catches his wife in the act of fidelity and goes insane, but after wandering the land through eye-opening adventures, love conquers all and he regains his sanity.  The film asks the questions: How far will a man go for love, and what does a marriage relationship mean to an ordinary couple.

A talented and creative filmmaker, Barclay is renowned for some of the most unique and entertaining cinematic looks at relationships in poorer class Jamaica. Better known by his moniker ‘Infared’, he attended Annotto Bay High School, but dropped out to pursue his entertainment career as a musician composing instrumental tracks for local and international reggae/dancehall artists such as Bushman and Teflon.

Barclay started having a love for film making at a tender age of 12 and won an Award for ‘most outstanding’ film in an online film festival. Subsequently venturing into movie production on a local level, he gained recognition with the (2009) action-thriller “Eye Fi A Eye” which became an underground film hit. He also did a TV Commercial for Lime Mobile TV in 2010 and directed music videos for artists such as I-Maroon, Ding dong, Patexx, Cush Hunta, Viper and Accid. He has also starred in his own films, including (2011) ‘Mistake’ and (2012) “Caught With Mi Eyes.

JAMAICAN MEDIA SUPPORTS RFF     The Jamaican media, always supportive of the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL, has been lending its support to the 2012 event.  Read today’s the Jamaica OBSERVER feature interview with Joe ‘Drummie’ Isaacs headlining today’s SPLASH entertainment magazine.–Isaacs-marches-to-own-beat_110942630


Reggae Film Festival NEWS – Thursday, March 22



After 30 years in the business, music comes as naturally as breathing for EARL CHINNA SMITH: Guitar player and Producer. He is best known for his work with the legendary Soul Syndicate band and can be heard on almost 50% of the Grammy award winning reggae recordings. Recording with artists like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Mutabaruka, Freddie MacGregor, Michael Rose, Mighty Diamonds, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear, The Heptones and Sizzla just to name a few.

Chinna’s name appears on the credits of well over 500 albums. But, it’s not just in reggae where you’ll see his name; he’s recorded with artists of all genres, including Lauren Hill, Eve, Erykah Badu and Joss Stone. He’s traveled all over the world but if you ask Chinna where his favorite place is, he’ll tell you that there’s no place he’d rather be than in Kingston, Jamaica at home, Inna di Yard.

A DAY INNA DI YARD       In Chinna’s Yard set in a quiet residential Kingston neighbourhood, the older generation of Jamaican musicians are coming together again, collaborating with young Jamaicans and international artists, recording at the back yard in a relaxed and free environment where music is the daily activity. The film takes viewers through a day in Chinna’s Yard where artists are meeting and making music. For Jamaicans, this is the way they have created music since the beginnings of Ska till the present day. Among the artists featured in this documentary are Bob Andy, Kiddus I, Trumpeter John ‘Dizzy’ Moore and Ken Bob.

Director Markus Egloff was born in St.Gallen near Zurich, Switzerland. In the early nineties he began his journey into music playing percussion and studying sound- engineering, while at the same time completing several courses and workshops in Visual Media. In 2001 he moved into Video and Film, acquiring along the way technical knowledge as well as hands on experience and spent 5 years in Jamaica soaking up the reggae music culture.

These days his main activity is sound recording on film and producing video for theatre productions, where he does most of the camera work, sound recording and editing. All these experiences enabled him to bring many elements together seamlessly in order to produce this low budget film about a unique scenario of Jamaica’s musical presence in an outstandingly passionate way.


Reggae Film Festival NEWS – Wednesday, March 21, 2012


DOCUMENTARY –                        Director: Goran Radovnovic.                    Sierra Maestra, Cuba, 850 km east of Havana. The day before the celebration of the 52nd anniversary of the Revolution. An old man is repairing a motorcycle a few decades old.

A young dentist is trying to find some transport to a clinic in a remote mountain district by bus, foot, truck and horseback. A middle-aged married couple can’t help overhear people’s business, as villagers who have no phone use a public telephone booth in their modest house.

The fate of these people and many other inhabitants of Sierra Maestra, are depicted on a day of ideological ecstasy, the day of the celebration of the 52nd anniversary of the Revolution. Everyone is preparing for the celebrations, despite the obvious signs that show how Cubans survive the deprivations of the US blockade. Even the bullhorns constantly blast out ideological slogans that are 52 years old. But the revolution continues…

For how long?

With determined smiles and the passion bred in decades of proud survival, they reply:

Con Fidel, pase lo que pase.

“With Fidel, come what may”.

Serbian film director Goran Radovanovic filmed this intimate look at Cuba while working as guest professor at the International Film and Televison School (EEICTV) in San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba. Born in Belgrade in 1957, he graduated in art history from Belgrade’s Faculty of Philosophy in 1982 and has worked as writer and director of both feature and documentary films.He is a member of the European Film Academy, Berlin and Film Artists Association of Serbia, and has won more than 40 film awards.

This is the second film from Serbia entered in the Jamaica Reggae Film Festival. In 2009 Serbian businessman Mirko Miljus, now Honorary Consul for Jamaica in Serbia, brought a documentary about the first statue of Bob Marley in Europe that he unveiled at a music festival in Belgrade while Usain Bolt was winning his first Gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Reggae Film Festival NEWS – Tuesday, March 20


‘SING YOUR SONG’ the feature documentary about the life of singer and social activist Harry Belafonte will be the feature presentation on the Opening Night programme of the Reggae Film Festival.  Aired first on HBO and  an Official Selection of the 2011 Sundance, Berlin and Tribeca film festivals, the film is an appropriate one with which to begin the celebration of Jamaica 50 in film.

Born to a Jamaican mother and schooled in Jamaica, Harry Belafonte first came to fame s a singer with the calypso ‘Matilda’ and went on to record several other songs spiced with Caribbean flavour, the best known of which were ‘Day O’ (the banana boat song) and  ‘Jamaica Farewell’ that became a Jamaican tourism standard. His career as an actor included lead roles in “Carmen Jones” with Dorothy Dandridge and “Island in the Sun” in which he played a controversial role in an interracial romance with Joan Fontaine.

In the 70s Belafonte starred in the hilarious ‘Blacksploitation’ films ‘Uptown Saturday Night‘ and ‘Buck and the Preacher‘, but as he grew in fame his life was impacted by America’s racial injustices and he became known as a social activist, marching with Martin Luther King and aligning himself with a number of human and civil rights causes.  ‘SING YOUR SONG‘ is a tribute to Belafonte’s life and work.

In JAMAICA 50, the Jamaica REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL salutes Harry Belafonte, a son of Jamaica.


RFF Daily News – Monday, March 19


Studio Drummie One And The History Of Rock Steady Music (USA)

Joe Isaacs, original Rock Steady drummer, shares his story of playing drums at Studio One in Kingston, Jamaica during the 1960’s, a revolutionary era in Jamaican music. Under the Studio One label, Joe played drums on original recordings with legendary musicians including Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Jackie Mittoo, the Heptones, Marcia Griffiths, Burning Spear, Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, and many, many more. Countless original number one hit tunes made at Studio One feature Joe Isaacs on drums.

Learn how the Rock Steady drum rhythm was created by Joe Isaacs, hear stories of the musical genius of Jackie Mittoo and meet legends Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith, Ken Boothe, and the Heptones.Follow Joe as he explores Jamaican drum cultures of RastafarI Niyabingi, and the Jamaican Maroons.

This, is ‘Studio Drummie One and the History of Rocksteady Music’.

Screening Friday, April 20 – REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL.