In the decades since 1972 when Jamaica’s first feature film “The Harder They Come” exposed reggae to the world on its soundtrack, a growing number of films have continued to be made that focus on Jamaica’s music culture. In 2008 a new film genre was born when these films were gathered together in one place for the first ever REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL, held at Emancipation Park in New Kingston, February 25th-27th.
Organized 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.
AWARD WINNING FILMS
Several of the films shown then and in the four 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 sports documentary ‘WHY DO JAMAICANS RUN SO FAST?”, the tribute film “BOB MARLEY: MAKING OF A LEGEND” 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.
In 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.
2013 FESTIVAL PROGRAMME
The 2013 Festival will honour WOMEN IN FILM, with a special posthumous tribute to Jamaican-American actress Madge Sinclair. Invited guests include Jamaican singer-actress Grace Jones and American director Ava DuVernay, CEO of AFFRM film distribution network, among others. This year the Festival will include a larger emphasis on Reggae Music with live performances by reggae artists and the addition of new Music Video Awards that will add a second venue to the Festival. Resort Screeings in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio will bring the Film Festival to hotels on the island’s best beaches.
The JFA promotional partnership this year with EuroChannel, the international TV Channel and film streaming website, will encourage more entries in the International Award category and provide visibility of RFF activities and news across their network of 11 million viewers worldwide. The annual Best of the Reggae Film Festival International Tour will once again present screenings in the UK, Europe and North America.
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 2013. See you in the Gardens of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Jamaican Independence Week, August 1-5.