JAMAICA INTERNATIONAL REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL 2013
The presentation of the 2013 Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival was a Miracle manifested by prayers to JAH RASTAFARI through the Divine Inspiration of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I. These prayers to JAH and my utmost Faith that they would be answered through Divine assistance, strengthened and kept the RFF going forward with dignity and orderly presentatio,n to the admiration and praise of those who participated and enjoyed it.
JAH sent Angels in human form to deliver the ingredients for success. First angels were Delroy Morgan and Paula Surtees of Island Village, who thought their beautiful venue was an ideal location and invited the Reggae Film Festival to move to Ocho Rios. Not only did this provide the RFF with a most perfect setting on a broad lawnunder the Gonzales statue of Bob Marley, but the location in the heart of the beautiful Ocho Rios tourist resort town attracted a host of film makers to come to Jamaica and present their films in person. No greater honour could a film festival have, than to have film makers lend their presence to the event.
MANY ANGELS Pulling the festival together took many hands, not all in Jamaica, as RFF films come from all over the world. Calling for entries began as usual with invitations from the RFF chief Angel, film archivist Peter Gittins of Reggae Films UK, who scours the internet daily for new films about reggae and Jamaica and invites them to enter. The Call for Entries on our website was take up by our usual international media friends United Reggae, Films & Filming Magazine, RIDDIM Magazine and new friends EuroChannel, while our active social media presence on Twitter and Facebook was assisted by postings in the active Jamaica Film Industry FaceBook group and other friends.
Two more Angels who showed what true Christians they are, Judith Faloon-Reid and her husband Michael of BarriVision Productions supplied the projection equipment and HUGE screen on which our films were shown each night. The screen was large enough that some couples sat at the far end of the lawn, holding hands and watching films, while others stood on the balcony overlooking the Island Village lawn and stage.
The RFF Technical Team included my son Makonnen, taking time from his music production work to run the films and sound. He was helped by Peter Chung, brother of genius animator Reinardo ‘Mental’ Chung, and Tina True was right-hand helper. The technical problems that affected the sound we hired without testing for the Opening Night. were quickly fixed and with the help of Jamaica Film Academy Chairman Carl Bradshaw, the Island Village’s sound equipment was used for the remainder of the event, delivering perfect sound thereafter.
COMING FROM ABROAD The presence of so many film makers from outside Jamaica was another real blessing. Ronan Davidescu was coming direct from strife-torn Israel with a film about the Rasta message of Peace and One Love that Joe ‘Culture’ Hill brought to his country. The judges presented him with the EZ-Mak Reggae Documentary Award for ‘KEEPER OF ZION GATE’ .
FROM TRENCHTOWN TO ACCOMPONG
Greg Pond and Dixon Myers, director/producers of Documentary Award winner ‘BORN IN TRENCHTOWN’ were coming from a recent visit to a Caribbean island where they have been invited to establish a film school. Their give-aways of yellow ‘BORN IN TRENCHTOWN’ T-shirts were the must-haves of the RFF. Roy Anderson, director of the Maroon documentary ‘AKWANTU – THE JOURNEY’ was coming from a Maroon Emancipation celebration at Scotts Hall and was on his way to present the film at the United Nations. He brought an abeng blower to introduce his film.
Danielle Scott-Haughton, 24-year-old British director of the International Short Feature award winner ‘DEAR JESUS’, was wide-eyed to meet so many film makers of all nations and share experiences and connections with them. Winning her first award in Jamaica was especially joyful for this daughter of Jamaican parentage.
Patrice Johnson came from Los Angeles and brought 3 cast members of her feature film ‘HILL & GULLY’, a love story. She was also happy to be winning an award in her parents homeland, which she also considers her home. Her first RFF event was the mid-day Book Fair at which she read, while she later participated in a filmed Round-Table discussion on Acting with Justin Haddeed-Awan of “ROYAL PALM” and “The BLACKBURNS”, and blogger/actress Carla Moore whose comments were both wise and amusing.
Stephanie Slade came from Los Angeles with Ras Kiddo, star of the Music Video entry ‘JAMAICA LAND’, while producer Jean Antoniades brought another Music Video star Edge Michael to introduce his entry ‘IF IT AIN’T ONE THING, IT’S ANOTHER’, winner of the Music Video Honour Award. Incidentally, it’s worth mentioning that this competition was won by a group from Costa Rica, Natural Dub with their song in Spanish “MYSTICA”.
One of the popular features was ‘STRANGED IN DANGRIGA’ a comedy from Belize which delighted everyone. Other popular films included Jamaica’s first horror movie “THE CROFT” by director Wayne Benjamin, and Jamaica’s first religious film ‘JUST ANOTHER FRIDAY’ by Judith Faloon-Reid. The RFF was proud to showcase the growing Jamaican interest in animation with animated features by Kevin Jackson and Stephen Williamson, whose “TEAM X” won Best Animation and earned him Best Young Film Maker Award.
The RFF Book Fair was organized by author, film maker and Angel Judith Faloon-Reid. It was graced with the presence of US Ambassador H.E. Pamela Bridgewater – another true Angel – and her niece, who purchased art and craft, was presented with several books by the authors participating, and who viewed for the first time the famous Gonzales statue of Bob Marley that graces the Island Village Lawn. The Ambassador’s sunny personality was a perfect fit for the pleasant afternoon event, which finished with readings from poets present.
We were especially blessed to partner with KNUTSFORD EXPRESS which broughtJamaican and foreign film makers and guests from Kingston and Montego Bay to Ocho Rios. The comfortable rides showed RFF films on all its coaches during RFF Week. Our partner Island Coffees ran the Festival Hospitality center beloved by all guests and VIPs.
It was a pity that we did not get to screen all the films programmed, due to time over-runs caused by introductions of the many film directors present. Among the memorable films was ‘LAND OF LOOK BEHIND’, a re-mastered version of one of the earliest documentaries on Rastafari and reggae, which featured the funeral of reggae icon Bob Marley, and ‘ONE SONG’, a beautiful short feature from Vienna, Austria.
Other films we showed on the Awards Night, inclued ‘USAIN BOLT: THE WORLD’S FASTEST MAN” and ‘DAISY BATES: FIRST LADY OF LITTLE ROCK’, as well as repeats of the Festival’s most popular shorts and music videos. Once again the Reggae Film Festival has provided a welcome showcase for film makers of all genres and nations.
FACEBOOK ANGELS Among the many Facebook Angels who assisted our promotion, I can specially mention Olivia Campbell to whom we gave the unofficial title of ‘PRO’ for all her daily mentions and re-postings. Good friends are better than money! There are also many FB and Twitter Friends who joined and assisted, but if we start naming names, the list will be endless. They know who they are and we send Blessings to them ALL.
Special mention to Port Antonio digital artist Scaffle BigBredda Brave, who designed the RFF 2013 Poster that made our event look so good, and to David Williams who put it on T-shirts for us! THANKS ALL!
MANY THANKS The JTB’s contribution to the RFF was small but invaluable, as it enabled a small amount of advertising and promotion on radio, press and social media. We wish it could have been more and hope that this year’s staging has shown the potential for greater support. We especially hope that the JTB will recognize the importance of the Film Festival in the promotion of Jamaica and use the event effectively in the national campaign. Many thanks to JTB Angel Maureen Smith. Thanks also to media support from IRIE-FM, the JAMAICA GLEANER, North Coast Times, TVJ, HOT 102, NewsTalk 97 for all the publicity received.
So it’s over for another year. We had fun and were happy. We plan to return to Island Village same time next year – August 1-5, Independence Week. Until then, Jamaica’s home-grown international film festival of films honouring our island and culture takes a rest.
Giving Thanks and Praise to the MOST HIGH JAH RASTAFARI for answering my Prayers with a MIRACLE. Barbara Blake Hannah – Festival Director
BARBARA BLAKE HANNAH – Festival Director
August 11, 2013