Kingston, Jamaica: – Firefly Films’ ‘The Candy Shop’, written and directed by Joel Burke, features 5 young actors who’s talent shines and makes this film the 1 st teenage comedic escapade produced by Jamaicans. Everaldo Creary, Kyino Cunningham, Yuri Stewart, Melissa Fearon and Ricardo ‘Flames’ Orgill all star in the feature comedy film, the 1 st half of which was premiered at the Flashpoint Film Festival in 2006. Production has now started on the continuation of the story that sees 3 teenage boys, Casper, Preston and Mark, start their journey to becoming men and along the way meet Choppy and Eve.
A theatre actor, singer, dub poet, dancer and DJ seem like an unlikely team to head a film cast but the union created a hilarious Jamaican coming of age story. 24-year-old Everaldo (Casper), 22-year-old singer, Kyino (Preston), 21-year-old dub-poet, Yuri (Mark), 23-year-old dancer, Melissa (Eve) and DJ ‘Flames’ (Choppy) all have various experience that contribute to the film.
Everaldo Creary has received the Prime Minister’s ‘Youth in Excellence’ Award for acting in 2005 and is currently in the cast of ‘Jamaica to Rhatid’. “Storm saw me in ‘Jamaica to Rhatid’ and asked me to audition for ‘The Candy Shop’. The character, Casper, was not so difficult to play since I can identify with him, a ringleader, instigator and charmingly sly” Everaldo commented with a smile. “The film appeals to a universal audience and any teenager can relate to the adventures of these three. Its like the JA version of American Pie, but funnier. Joel is talented and cool to work with, he doesn’t push his actors and he creates a fun set, the energy of the crew is awesome”
Kyino Cunningham entered Digicel Rising Stars in 2006 where he received the Judge’s Wild Card and finished in the top 18. Kyino has also starred in TV, radio and print commercials, plays and documentary films.
“This is my 1st major feature film and I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the process. I think it can and will be a success, it’s the 1st of its kind. Joel is easy to work with; he helps us develop our characters and knows how to get his message across. The story is easy to relate to, it’s about 3 young men who are scared to leave the comfort of childhood yet anxious to become adults. Preston was easy to portray because he is similar to me: he’s humble, internal and not easily angered, but I’m not shy like Preston.” Kyino laughs. “Its difficult to play a nerd without overacting, I played him as a reserved and soft spoken person, a subtle nerd.”
As a dub-poet Yuri Stewart has entered the JCDC speech festival for the past 3 years and TALAWAH at UWI since 2005. He is apart of the UWI Dramatic Arts Society (UDAS) and has had roles in all their major plays since 2005. ‘The Candy Shop’ is Yuri’s 1st film and major role.
“This is the 1st JA film that examines the teenage side of life. It’s like Euro Trip because of the adventure and American Pie because of the brotherhood. It’s a funny and accurate depiction of teenage life. Mark wasn’t an easy character to play, I didn’t want to do too much and compete with Casper or too little to compete with Preston. It was hard to get that in-between to balance the other 2 extremes. Joel is very cool and allows us to give our own perspective and develop our characters and contribute our ideas, he gives pointers rather than instructions. It doesn’t seem like work on the set because we are like a family, good vibes”
Melissa has danced and choreographed music videos and has appeared in TV commercials. Unlike the other cast members, ‘The Candy Shop’ is not Melissa’s 1 st feature film role. She has appeared in the US film ‘Last Stop for Paul’, part of which was set in Jamaica, and also in Firefly Film’s ‘Pothole’ and ‘Twang’. However the role of Eve was quite challenging.
“I had do a lot of research for this role, I did what I had to do to get into character. You don’t see much of Eve in the 1st half of the film but she has a starring role in the 2nd half. The story line is realistic and any high school youth can relate to it. The cast is like family and they make everyone feel welcome. Joel lets me do my thing; he’s not aggressive or too rigid. He has a mellow vibe that makes you feel relaxed.”
DJ Ricardo ‘Flames’ Orgill has no prior acting or stage experience. He met producer Paul Bucknor when Bucknor helped to fund Flames’ 1 st single: “Sufferer” on the Ping Pong riddim. Bucknor then cast Ricardo as an extra in ‘Pothole’ and later, when Joel needed someone ‘street’ to play Choppy he asked Ricardo to audition.
“Choppy is a conman, him know the runnings of the street, and him know how to hustle, it wasn’t too hard to play that role cause me know the hustling. Him sneaky and smooth, it was a fun role” comments Ricardo. “The film is funny and people will love it because everybody can get it, young and old. Joel is a good director. I love how him write, him deal with it the right and proper way.”
These 5 actors, with varied experience, all contribute to make ‘The Candy Shop’ the 1st coming of age comedy to come out of Jamaica. Paul Bucknor through Firefly Films produces ‘The Candy Shop’. The continuation of the feature film ‘The Candy Shop’ will begin filming on March 10 in Kingston for 1 week.
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