Thursday, 10 January 2013

MICHELLE SERIEUX: The noted filmmaker riffs on Ring Di Alarm!, women directors rising, and plans for this year

SHOT CALLER: "I’m always excited to hear about new women directors coming up." Below, with NCC colleague Storm Saulter.

With the keenly anticipated local premiere of Ring Di Alarm! yet to come to pass, TALLAWAH speaks to one of the creative powerhouses behind the project – Michelle Serieux, the St. Lucian-born writer/director/producer and co-founder of New Caribbean Cinema, whose impressive bio lists the UWI Mona, the Edna Manley College, and Columbia University’s School of the Arts among her training grounds. Here, she explains why Jamaican film buffs will have to wait a while longer to see the movie and how it feels to be the lone woman director in the NCC cohort. 

TALLAWAH: Countless Jamaican cinephiles were looking forward to an October 2012 premiere for Ring Di Alarm! in Kingston. What has caused the delay? 
Serieux: We’re doing the international festival-circuit strategically. Sometimes you become ineligible for festivals when you’ve screened anywhere else before, including your homeland. So we had to do a couple of festivals, and then do Jamaica. We had to do it that way; it’s a matter of strategy. 

So when will Jamaican audiences finally get a chance to see the film? 
We’re presently looking at some dates, and trying to figure out when is the best time to premiere it locally. But it will definitely happen in this first quarter. 

Great. Speaking of the festivals, has Ring Di Alarm! been received well so far? 
Very well. Absolutely extremely well, especially in London. The Jamaicans abroad love that we’re bringing Jamaica home to them. One woman in England actually old us that she hasn’t been back here since she left in the fifties, and so the film was like a taste of Jamaica for her. And one other woman said she loves how it captures different moods of Jamaica. It’s seven different films, which capture very different feelings while catering to different demographics. And I think people also love that the film is very honest. 

How would you describe the experience of being the sole female director in the New Caribbean Cinema family? 
(Laughs). As a female working with these guys, it’s really interesting, and we’re a good mix. It’s fine. The thing is that everybody knows what their roles are, so we’re able to get along well, which is really great for New Caribbean Cinema, I think. And there are some other local female directors around who are doing their thing, and I’m always, always excited to hear about new women directors coming up. 

So what does the collective have in the works for 2013? 
A lot. We’ll be making an official announcement very soon, but there’s a lot happening. And we’re trying to keep people updated through our blog as we decide what we’re going to be rolling out. There’s a lot to look forward to this year.

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