CAMERA READY: Edwards (second left) and Beckford (right), with guests at the opening of J'ca Festival Festival, 2015.
The emergence of the Jamaica Film Festival last summer offered a terrific platform for talented local filmmakers to showcase their work to a wide and appreciative audience. President of Jampro, Diane Edwards admits, however, that the establishment of a film fund would go a far way in yielding more tremendous results for the industry. “As you know, Jampro has long struggled and advocated for a film fund because financing is one of the key issues holding back our local filmmakers, and we have got to solve that problem one way or another,” Edwards tells TALLAWAH.
But while the creation of the fund is among the to-dos queued up for the oven, Edwards says plans for the staging of a bigger and better film festival this year are on the front burner. Improving on last year’s successful formula means considering the lessons learnt and making the necessary adjustments. “We really have learned a lot of lessons from last year, which is one reason why we moved the film festival to October,” she explains. “And so it’s going to be held at the end of the whole international film calendar.”
Last year’s inaugural staging featured a wide assortment of workshops, think-tank sessions and screenings at venues all over Kingston, spearheaded by film commissioner Carole Beckford and her team. Among the notable developments in the milieu of the film festival is the employment of Renee Robinson as film commissioner, replacing Beckford, who has moved on to greener pastures overseas.
Efforts by TALLAWAH to interview Miss Robinson proved futile, but Edwards tells us she comes highly recommended. “Our new film commissioner is a strong practitioner versed in the arts of developing film festivals,” says Edwards.
Robinson’s expertise encompasses work done with the Toronto International Film Festival and other similar events globally. “She has strong international experience, having worked in Italy and various other countries during her career,” the Jampro president adds. “So we think we’ll be able to bring some innovations to the film festival this year. But it’s too early to say what those will be because we’re still working them out.”
> See highlights from Jamaica Film Festival 2015