New York, New York, February 17, 2006—Groundbreaking Jamaican playwright and screenwriter Trevor Rhone, best known for co-writing the internationally acclaimed film The Harder They Come , will be the focus of the Caribbean Cultural Theatre’s upcoming Classic Caribbean Stage and Screen Series. The three-day event, to be held this March, will pay homage to the writer, producer, director, and actor whose 40+ year history in cultural arts has been the backbone of Jamaica’s indigenous film and theatre industry.
Opening March 18th, the Classic Caribbean Stage and Screen Series highlights the contribution of Caribbean writers to world literature, theatre, and film. The Caribbean Cultural Theatre, following on the heels of last year’s retrospective on Trinidadian writer, Freddie Kissoon, will add a film festival, and literary symposium to their stage revivals. CCT renamed the former Classic Stage Series to broaden the scope of the event to be more inclusive of multi-disciplinary writers, like Rhone, who over the vast span of his career, has authored and directed over twenty stage and screen plays.
“His work is great, plain and simple,” says E. Wayne McDonald, Producing Director of the Caribbean Cultural Theatre. “It is impossible to pay tribute to the masters of Caribbean Drama and not include Trevor Rhone. He is the father of Jamaica’s film and theatre industry.”
In 1969, Rhone co-authored the script for The Harder They Come with Perry Henzell. The film, released four years later, explored the complexities of inner-city life and political corruption in Jamaica and its effect on the everyday life and livelihood, wrapped in the gripping tale of Ivan Martin, a restless young man who moves from the country to the big city with the mission of becoming a star—by any means necessary. Called “timeless and universal…nothing short of amazing” by the Los Angeles Times, The Harder They Come was the first Jamaican film to break into the International market, using native Jamaican actors, language, and the then new musical form, reggae, to capture the spirit of the island’s culture and propel local musician Jimmy Cliff to international acclaim.
The Classic Caribbean Stage and Film Series’ Trevor Rhone Film Festival will feature Rhone’s lively scripting and directorial excellence, highlighting the past three decades in Jamaican film. In addition to The Harder They Come, the festival also includes the hilariously sharp social satire Smile Orange (1974), the 1988 Toronto Film Festival Genie Award winning Milk and Honey, and 2003’s Cannes Film Festival favorite One Love, a stirring love story staring Ky-mani Marley, son of the late reggae legend Bob Marley. The festival is complete with post-viewing discussions and also features a “Tropical Rhythms Session” refreshment interlude sponsored by Grace Kennedy Financial Services.
A Conversation with Trevor Rhone, hosted by the CCT in association with the Caribbean Literary and Cultural Center of the Brooklyn Public Library on March 21 st , is a relaxed literary symposium, which allows the writer to engage the audience in a dialogue about the development and current trends in Caribbean dramatic writing, film, and theatre.
The Series closes on March 22nd, with Rhone’s own drama-filled account of his path from the “country boy” to being the preeminent Jamaican dramatist of his generation. Co-hosted by St. Johns University’s Committee on Latin and Caribbean Studies, the compelling one-man drama “Bellas Gate Boy,” has Rhone himself walking the audience through his personal struggles and experiences from Jamaica, the U.K. and North America that have inspired his award-winning socially charged writing.
The recipient of the Jamaican government’s Commander of the Order of Distinction, Rhone’s work, in his own words, seeks “to mirror the lives of the ordinary man, and to reaffirm his strengths in such a way that he learns to diminish his weakness and to believe that he can make a positive difference in his society.”
For more information about the Classic Caribbean Stage and Film Series, contact the Caribbean Cultural Theatre at 718-783-8345 or [email protected]
The Caribbean Cultural Theatre is dedicated to using the arts as a tool for preserving the culture and artistic legacy of the Caribbean; fostering cultural identity, inspiring audiences, and empowering communities while being sensitive to the linguistic, social, political, and economic influences that give rise to Caribbean cultural heritage.
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