Monday, 3 January 2011

THE CULTURE REPORT: A round-up of Jamaican cultural news, happenings and insights we’re buzzing about right now

FILM: The Jamaica Reggae Film Festival has adopted a new home for the 2011 staging. The Jamaica Film Academy has announced that the 4th staging of the festival will be held February 22-26 at the Whitter Village (Ironshore) Montego Bay, St. James. The 5-day event will be hosted by JFA Chairman Carl Bradshaw and will open with the screening of animated shorts, documentaries and feature films from Jamaica, Antigua and the UK, in the presence of Jamaican and international film and music stars.

Invited VIP guests include Jamerican actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, renowned musician David ‘Steel Pulse’ Hinds and heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis. Popular Jamaican filmmakers Storm Saulter, Ras Kassa and Chris Browne will also make appearances. The festival will once again feature the exciting ‘Make A Film In 24 Hours’ competition, a children’s programme and a film seminar. Live reggae music before screenings, a series of midnight movies and a gala awards show are among some of the special features planned for this year’s staging.

TV: Let the games begin! A record 64 schools will today begin the quest to be crowned champions of the 2011 season of TV J’s Schools’ Challenge Quiz (SCQ). Holding the distinction as the longest-running television programme in the English-speaking Caribbean, Schools’ Challenge Quiz this year runs from January 3-March 31. Of the 64 participating schools, 16 are seeded teams. St. Jago High are the defending champions. Anything different about the competition this year? According to long-serving producer and question co-ordinator, J.Michael Gonzales, there is nothing major to announce. “There’s nothing different about this year,” he tells TALLAWAH. “The same tradition of Schools’ Challenge Quiz continues.”

MUSIC: After a phenomenally successful 2010, musical collaborators Nas and Damian Marley plan to maintain their impressive Distant Relatives run in the New Year. The duo has announced new tour dates, including planned concert stopovers at London’s Wembley Arena (March 31), Glasgow’s Academy (April 1) and Manchester’s Apollo (April 2). Prior to the UK dates, however, the duo will perform live shows in Hawaii at the end of February. Distant Relatives, which traces hip-hop’s roots to Africa, quickly won critical praise upon release and has been widely dubbed one of the finest recordings of 2010.

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