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» BREAKING NEWS, GUEST RUNDOWNS » THE SECOND ANNUAL JAMAICA FILM FESTIVAL IS MOVED TO AN OCTOBER DATE!

THE SECOND ANNUAL JAMAICA FILM FESTIVAL IS MOVED TO AN OCTOBER DATE!

 By Richard Johnson—-

 Top: Renee Robinson
Bottom: Participants in last year’s inaugural Jamaica Film Festival held in the Corporate Area—.

THE second staging of the Jamaica Film Festival has been shifted to October from its original July date. This is among the new initiatives by newly appointed film commissioner Renee Robinson.

She explained to Splash that the reasoning behind the shift is to make the event more accessible to members of the international film community.

 “We want to ensure that our festival is aligned with the international film festival circuit, offering all players in the industry — distributors, executives, financiers, etc — an opportunity to attend. Last year, the festival was pitched as part of the Ministry of Tourism’s ‘90 Days of Summer’ mandate. However, the truth is a July staging cuts into the three weeks of vacation time for the industry when persons are choosing to be with their families, so we have decided to shift to October,” said Robinson.

Robinson is not giving the dates just yet, but stated that October positions the festival well following the ‘Big Five’ film festivals — Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, San Sebastian and The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

“We are strategically placed after the TIFF which is in September. This will allow us to attend and do a round of promotions and capitalise on the strengths of this festival and the industry players who will attend. It will also afford us the opportunity to get the ear of major players in the market and invite them to come down and see what Jamaica and our film festival has to offer,” she said.

The commissioner is aware of some of the challenges which exist as it relates to the film festival and is already tackling them head on.

JamaicaFilmFestivalLogo

“One of the things I have realised is that there are two distinct cohorts in the local film industry. We have the emerging and the veterans. What the film festival offers must adequately cater to these two groups. The emerging filmmakers, writers and producers will require capacity building, which may be of precious little benefit to the veterans, who require another level of assistance such as access to financing and international exposure. So this is one of the areas we plan to look into with the second staging — how to address the different needs of these two cohorts.”

The staging of the film festival occupies the major share of Robinson’s plate at this time. However, despite being in the job for less than a month, she has set long-term goals.

“I have three priorities which are the development of a production incentive within the current economic reality, the establishment of a film fund, and the development of co-production treaties and renegotiation of existing ones.

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