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Reggae Film Festival Set For February 23 – 27, 2009, Kingston

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Come February 2009, the Jamaica Film Academy (JFA), through the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports (MICYS), will host the second annual Reggae Film Festival, at Emancipation Park, in Kingston.

This will be carried out under the direction of the Ministry’s Consultant, Barbara Blake Hannah, and British film archivist, Peter Gittins.

In an interview with JIS News, Ms. Hannah said she hoped that the second staging of the Festival would serve as a catalyst for the development of the JFA, as well as Jamaica’s film industry.

“For this film festival, we want to use it to solidify the aims and objectives of the JFA, to really establish an umbrella under which the training of film makers and the production and creation of Jamaican Films can take place, in a very fruitful and supportive environment,” she said.

“As you know, the MICYS has many divisions that have film making arms, you have the Creative Production and Training Centre, Media Technology Institute, Jamaica Information Service, Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica, to name a few… plus it also has the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. So, this is really the place where we see we can finally make something equivalent to the Cuban Film Institute, which has film making under one umbrella, and has therefore become the most productive film country in the region, and one might even say, the hemisphere,” Miss Hannah pointed out.

As to what patrons should expect at the Festival, Ms. Hannah said they would see films that they have never seen in Jamaica and probably would never see in Jamaica, but for the Festival. “These are films that have been made about Jamaica’s reggae music culture,” she noted.

Persons who want to register to have their films shown at the Festival, should “go to the film festival website: www.jamaicafilmacademy.org, which hosts the Festival, and you can download an entry form right there, make a DVD copy of the film and send it to us,” Ms. Hannah said.

According to the Consultant, entries have already started to come in. “We already got a lovely entry from Italy that won the Babel Gum on-line Film Festival award, that was judged by Spike Lee, and the award was presented at the last Cannes Film Festival,” she revealed.

The Festival is scheduled for Monday, February 23 to Friday February 27, 2009. There will be screenings in the day under a large tent and during the nights in the open air. Ms. Hannah is encouraging all Jamaicans to come out and support the event, which is free to the public.


The first Reggae Film Festival was held in Kingston, from February 20 to 22, 2008, and showcased several films that have been made about Jamaica’s Reggae music and culture. Most of the films were making their debut in Jamaica, as many of them had been made by non-Jamaicans living and working outside the country.

A “Make a Film in 24 Hours” competition will be one of a number of special activities at the second annual Reggae Film Festival (RFF) scheduled for February 23 – 27, 2009 at Emancipation Park in Kingston.

In an interview with JIS News, one of the chief organizers, Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports (MICYS) consultant, Barbara Blake Hannah, explained that “we are going to run a “Make a Film in 24 Hours” competition and we are going to invite both amateurs and professionals to participate. They will begin at 6:00 one morning and at 6:00 the next morning they will hand in a completed film of any length, any subject and in fact people may use their cell phones to make the film”.

Another area that will come in for special attention is the often neglected script writing.

“We plan to have a one day script writing film seminar. We have had a lot of seminars on film making, different aspects such as camera and production but very few on script writing and so we are going to have one at RFF 2009”.

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