Wednesday, 21 March 2012

REGGAE FILM FEST Buzz: Harry Belafonte, Ryan O’Neal, more screenings announced

HIS STORY: Belafonte's Sing Your Song for Reggae Film Festival.

The Actor Boy Awards isn’t the only cultural monument set to occupy new digs this year. The Reggae Film Festival has also decided to adopt a new home for its 2012 staging. “We are moving the event to the Gardens of the Pegasus Hotel, larger venue,” chief RFF organizer Barbara Blake-Hannah exclusively tells TALLAWAH.

As it turns out, this year’s iteration of the festival was initially slated to unfold inside the ‘movie gardens’ of the Red Bones Blues Café, but apparently the grounds of the Pegasus offer far more than standing-room capacity.

In the meantime, as for the ever-expanding batch of screenings for the April 16-21 event, attendees of the opening-night gala are in for a delight with a showing of Sing Your Song, the acclaimed new documentary on the remarkable life and work of Jamaican-American entertainment legend Harry Belafonte. First aired on HBO (earlier this year), the doc was an Official Selection at the recent Sundance, Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals. “This film is an appropriate one with which to begin the celebration of Jamaica 50 in film,” observes Blake-Hannah, who is also planning to screen the brand-new Hollywood drama/horror/thriller, Slumber Party Slaughter, directed by Rebekah Chaney and starring Ryan O’Neal.

“It's a full- length, well-made feature film, also starring Tom Sizemore and Robert Carradine and directed by a young woman,” explains Blake-Hannah about the film for which Jamaican musician Wayne Jobson composed reggae tracks. “Rebekah is also coming to Jamaica for the [festival], not just to be here for the [festival] but to scout locations and have discussions about filming her next feature in Jamaica. [The ] only thing that may stop Ryan O’Neal from coming? He's recovering from a knee injury.”

Always an exciting element of the annual fest, the Make-A-Film-In- 24-Hours competition promises to be even more closely contested this year with the announcement of a super-attractive prize package of $50,000 cash and an all-expenses paid trip to the upcoming Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival.

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