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Big Plans For Reggae Film Festival 2010, February 25, 2010, Kingston

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The REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL2010 @ HILTON KINGSTON will open February25 at the HILTON KINGSTON Ballroom with a Red Carpet Gala Reception and premiere of the Reggae documentary RUFFN’ TUFF – FOUNDERS OF THE IMMORTAL RIDDIM by Japanese film maker Shizuo Ishi,  featuring a galaxy of reggae stars including Leroy Sibbles, Bob Andy, Gregory Isaacs and John Holt  all of whom are among the VIP reggae celebrities invited as Special Guests. Other films include premieres of 3 new Jamaican feature films and a rare documentary on Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.

The HILTON KINGSTON Ballroom will be transformed into a Cinema for nightly screenings, while the Jonkanoo Lounge will host Lunchtime screenings, a Seminar and a special Children’s programme.  The HILTON KINGSTON offers a Reggae Film Festival accommodation package at reduced rates and will also offer Lunchtime Specials for midday cinema-goers.

Films already entered include features, documentaries and music videos by Jamaican and international directors, including entries from Hawaii, Italy, Japan, UK and Brazil.  Awards will be presented by a panel of Judges in 9 categories including Best Film, Best Documentary and Best Music Video, and audiences will be invited to selected their favourites.

Several international film celebrities have been invited to attend, including noted director SPIKE LEE, rapper/actress EVE and ROGER GUENEVERE SMITH, star of Jamaican feature ‘Betta Mus’ Come’ and 8 Spike Lee films, as well as the blockbuster “American Gangster” starring Denzel Washington.  The noted actor will present a lecture with film clips as part of the REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL programme. Jamaican film celebrity guests include former heavyweight champ LENNOX LEWIS, star of ‘Johnny Was” and star of two Jamaican feature films currently in production.   In addition to Title Sponsor HILTON KINGSTON, sponsors include IRIE-FM, PHASE THREE and STANLEY MOTTA RENTALS.

The REGGAE FILM FESTIVAL 2010 @ HILTON KINGSTON is an activity of the Jamaica Film Academy established in 2008. This year’s event is produced by a Planning Committee led by film maker and film festival organizer Barbara Blake Hannah. She said that since the first Reggae Film Festival in 2008, there have been many spinoffs, with festival films being invited to international events and winning awards.  Film Festivals and people around the world, including Jamaica, have begun including reggae films in their programmes or presenting look-alike events, but these all have served to achieve the main objective of the Jamaica Film Academy, which is to promote Jamaican film culture and increase the opportunities for Jamaican film makers.

Blake-Hannah, who presented Jamaica’s first film festival in 1974 and has produced several more since, has been a guest of international film festivals in Venice, Cuba, Iraq and Cannes. She is also producer/director of several films and worked on film productions including  “The Harder They Come”, “A High Wind in Jamaica” and “Kla$h”.  She and British film archivist Peter Gittins of Reggae Films UK conceptualized the first Reggae Film Festival in 2007 as a special event with private sector support. Mrs. Hannah continued developing the idea while working as Consultant to the Minister of Information, Culture, Youth & Sports on various projects including the planning and procedures for the first Reggae Month in 2008, into which the Reggae Film Festival was eventually incorporated with  some government support. 

The Jamaica Film Academy’s aim is to see the Reggae Film Festival become an annual date in Jamaica’s events calendar that will provide Jamaican films with the needed international exposure that they deserve. Four different films have been made as a direct result of its first event in 2008 and two films premiered at the Reggae Film Festival 2009 have won international awards,  evidence of just how important this event is.

The Jamaica Film Academy invites members of the Jamaican film industry and local businesses to help the Reggae Film Festival grow bigger and better. 

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Written by Staff Writer