The short film “Too Much Massa” produced by Wesley Hylton and Akeem White copped the first place spot in the very first staging of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) FiWi Short Film Competition. The newly minted filmmakers won the title along with a trophy and $150 000 cash at the competition’s awards ceremony at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre in Kingston on Thursday.
The inaugural staging of the FiWi Short Film Competition was open to Jamaicans aged 17 to 45 years who had never made a film or had a screenplay produced.
The newest addition to the JCDC’s Theatre and Drama catalogue, the film competition had initially received 47 treatment entries, from which nine finalists were selected. The finalists then attended a one-day workshop hosted by the JCDC, which covered areas such as directing, screen writing and cinematography to assist them in the preparation of their films. In addition, they were also assigned industry professionals as mentors to guide and assist them on the various aspects of film production.
In addition to winning first place title, “Too Much Massa” also copped four of the five sectional awards: the Viewers’ Choice award, Best Story award, Best Director award and the Best Editing award.
While Naceve Blackstock and his short film entitled “Consequence” secured the second place spot along with a trophy and $100 000 cash, as well as the sectional award for Best Cinematography. The third-place spot and accompanying trophy and $60 000 cash prize was secured by Samantha Bent and Courtney Russell with their film “Bad Timing”. All five sectional awards each carried an accompanying $15 000 cash prize.
“I still can’t believe that I actually won 4 out of 5 sectional awards, plus the first place position, and this is my very first short film competition. I am still shaking! I am still pinching myself to see if I’m dreaming! After seeing the sacrifices my team made for this film, the struggles in editing and the fact that I submitted at 11:58 p.m. for an 11:59 p.m. deadline, the faith we had going into this competition was very much ‘as small as a mustard seed’,” said winner Wesley Hylton.
“I just want to thank JCDC for this amazing opportunity, as well as my team for answering their phone last minute to make this movie happen,” Hylton continued.
Meanwhile, Theatre and Drama Development Specialist at the JCDC, Mr. Shaun Drysdale said that he is excited, elated and relieved that the first staging of the competition was such a success.
“I am excited, elated and relieved: excited for the opportunities that will come to the film-makers and the competition, elated at the reception of the films by the public and relieved that this competition is off the ground and running. The Theatre and Drama unit is truly encouraged by the success of this the very first staging of the competition, and we are eager to build on it and even further develop the competition in the years to come,” he said.
The other finalists that rounded out the top nine were: Daindra Harrison with “Skammed”; Lee-San Gayle with “Meeting the Past”; Rachel Chin with “If You Ask Me”; Jhanelle Davy with “The Will Never Have”; Demi Walker with “Cockpit Portal”; and Thajay Smart & Angelica Fernandez with “The Scam”.