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Fifth annual Lignum Vitae Film Festival Recap

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The Department of Communication Studies (DCS) at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) on April 9th, 2014  staged its fifth annual Lignum Vitae Film Festival on the main campus in Mandeville. The festival which embraced the theme “Repairing the Breach: Media, the Gateway to Change” was intended to showcase the work of local and regional film makers in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

University and High School students were invited to submit films in the categories: Short Film (10 mins), Silent Film (5 mins), Mobile Film (5 mins) and the fascinating field of Animation (5 mins).  The festival saw Roniel O’Conner winning the Best Actor award for the film “8 a.m.”, Dariann Scott, Best Actress for “8 a.m.”, Yorkali Walters, Best Mobile Film “The Twinkling”, Monique Ingram, Best Director for “8 a.m.”, Donald Johnson from The University of Technology winning the Best Silent Film award for “Angels versus Demons” (AVD), Best Overall Film “8 a.m.”, Best Short Film “8 a.m.” by Monique Ingram and Best Script, Monique Ingram for “8 a.m.”.  

We had 29 entries in total with 12 shown and 17 rejected.  Also, 12 were from within the school and 17 from without.  The University of Technology, Jamaica is the only other institution who entered, as well as there were independent entries.  It is the first year we have had so many outside entries and so many entries overall.

The judges of last night’s festival were Writer, Director and Cinematographer Storm Saulter (Head judge), Dwayne Sterling, Co-Founder of the festival, Tanya Taylor, Film Director, Producer and CEO of Anyhoo Productions and Wentworth Kelly from the NCU Media Group, who focused on the technical aspects of the films along with Animation.  In an interview with

Saulter, the film maker expressed amazement in the quality of the productions which were screened and how “NCU is leading the way as an institution through film to showcase Jamaican creativity”.  He further complimented the Department of Communication Studies on the effort in hosting such an event in Jamaica and that the country needs more events of this ilk to broaden the scope of marketability for the island.  Film making he said is not always about the glamourous “superstar image” but bringing to the fore the issues and concerns of people.  Dwayne Sterling who co-founded the event with media practitioner Judith Bodley commented on the vast productive growth of the festival since its inception.  He lauded the efforts of the department and charged them to continue this platform of film at the university.  “The event today is so different from when we started in a small room at the CS lab, sharing our ideas, seeking sponsors, then screening the films at the Solomon Harriott Lecture Theatre.  The event has grown into a grand elegant affair with so many individuals across Jamaica and the world knowing about it.”    

    DCS, through Department Chairperson Rhoma Tomlinson, also on the night donned its 2014 – 2015 Burgundy Jacket recipient Trinita Birch who replaces Jevon Minto and Janiel Lambert, previous recipients.  The department will offer a special award to a local current affairs television programme such as Impact, Live at Seven, All Angles in the fall semester when the Communication Symposium is staged.

The Animation workshop in the morning which served as a precursor to the festival saw local animators Stephen Williamson from Island Interactive Studios, Kevin Jackson from the Jamaica Animation Nation Network (JANN), Michelle Vernal, GSW Animation and Carlton Gordon also from Island Interactive Studios sharing on 2D and 3D compilations.  They also presented on the creation of other routines and techniques in the Animation field while sharing their experience working locally and internationally.  The attendees were exposed to first-hand experience through the work done by Michelle who has worked with Nickelodeon and Disney.

It is the intent of the Department of Communication Studies to have all print and electronic media aware of the Film Festival in an effort to share in the showcasing of Jamaican creativity through film.  The festival was endorsed by the Jamaica Film Commission, JCDC, JAMPRO and the NCU Media Group. The potential of Film as an agent of change cannot be under estimated, and we look forward to the support of Jamaica, as we seek to build on the shoulders of those who have set quality standards in previous years.

See more photos here:

Ricardo Campbell
Public Relations Coordinator
Department of Communication Studies
Northern Caribbean University

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