Sunday, 7 July 2013

WE ARE THE WORLD: Reggae Film Festival ratchets up the int'l flavour with tales spanning the globe

PICTURE QUALITY: From left, civil rights leader Daisy Bates, and LaCruise at work.

Boasting a terrific new venue (Ocho Rios' Island Village Centre) and a renewal of the mission to shine the spotlight on screen gems from home and away, the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival (Aug. 1-5) appears poised to enjoy yet another successful staging. A healthy wallop of international flavour is usually in the mix at RFF, but this year's foreign contingent up for screening might be the most diverse (and appealing) bunch in the event's almost decade-long history. 

While Austria offers One Life, a short feature that provides a look at Vienna's Rasta reggae culture, Israel's Keeper of Zion Gate has been hailed as a revealing documentary about a visit paid by Joe 'Culture' Hill to the Middle-East territory back in the day. Out of Belize comes Stranded in Dangriga, a mildly explicit tale of a man, his wife, and a DJ, while representing the UK is Dear Jesus, a Black TV comedy series set in the London neighbourhood of 24-year-old filmmaker Danielle Scott-Haughton's Jamaican family. 

Not to be outshone apparently, the Americans are coming full force: the feature-length entry The Cotton House explores the ubiquitous themes of class and racism while Nic Nakis' True Born African: The Story of Winston 'Flame' Jarrett will have its world premiere. For me, however, the most keenly anticipated of the lot is Sharon LaCruise's Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock, an acclaimed 2010 profile of the titular heroine and civil rights activist who helped orchestrate the historic integration of schools in the state of Arkansas in the late 1950s. 

>> Take a look at the complete RFF 2013 schedule HERE

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