GATFFEST celebrates 10 years with film nights, awards, more | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Festival Director Savanah Peridot excitedly ushered in the 10th iteration of GATFFEST, the Caribbean’s largest community film festival.

“It gives me great pleasure”, she shared at the launch last week “to welcome everyone to the staging of GATFFEST 2022.”

There’s much to celebrate indeed; it’s been 10 years since the launch of the festival that officially launched in 2013.

“This year, we celebrate 10 years and we couldn’t be more proud of everything that we’ve achieved,” Peridot noted.

Filmmakers Lee San Gayle, Joelle Powe, filmmaker and visual anthropologist and Dancehall Queen Carlene are featured in Joelle’s documentary “Out There without Fear: Jamaica’s Dancehall”. (Photos: Contributed)

“I am humbled by the opportunity I’ve been given to carry on Professor Ian Boxill’s dream of creating a space for local filmmakers to show their films in Jamaica and to contribute to the growth of the Jamaican film industry,” she added.

Peridot believes the successes of GATFFEST and the development of the local film industry are symbiotic.

“We can see this growth reflected in the improved quality of our local Jamaican films and the growth of what was once a small film festival, started in August Town, to an international film festival, the biggest community film festival in Jamaica and the Caribbean.”

Over the past ten years, there’s been an intentional focus on filmmaking’s creative and business aspects.

And after the inaugural staging of a film market in 2019, which was geared towards bridging the gap between creatives and business professionals to assist with the distribution of films – identified as one of the weak points of our industry.

“We listened to our filmmakers when they said that they needed more avenues to receive funding for their films and organised our very first Film Pitch Competition in 2019, giving up to J$700k to three filmmakers,” Peridot mentioned.

This allowed filmmakers to tell their own stories through film, this year, guests will see the second staging of the Film Pitch Competition in August.

To date, GATFFEST has screened approximately 400 local and international films.

Executive Director Dr Olivene Burke agrees that of the 400 films presented over the years, there have been some remarkable contributions.

“GATFFEST has screened some memorable local documentaries of significant cultural and entertainment value, featuring communities including August Town, Trench Town and West Kingston, and telling the stories of historical figures like Alexander Bedward and Amy Jacques Garvey.”

“Additionally, we have tackled such themes as social injustices captured in Children of the Incursion, a look at how children were impacted by what became known as the Tivoli Garden Incursion in 2010.”

“We have gone filming underwater to look at the destruction of our reefs as we have turned the spotlight on issues of climate change and the environment.”

The festival will run for two weeks from Saturday, June 18 to Saturday, July 2, with featured film nights as listed below:

Community Film Night (June 18)

Opening Night Gala and Film Premiere (June 25)

Columbia Film Night (June 26)

France Film Night (June 27)

Germany Film Night (June 28)

Japan Film Night (June 29)

International Night (June 30)

Jamaica Film Night (July 1)

Presentation of the GATFFEST Awards (July 2)

Originating from the Greater August Town Film Project (since rebranded as the UWI Community Film Project), GATFFEST has grown into one of the most significant and anticipated events on the film calendar, attracting submissions globally and a wide range of attendees.

It provides a vital opportunity to showcase independent and emerging filmmakers, telling stories via short film and documentary formats.

The annual festival includes premieres, community film nights, panel discussions, workshops, awards and other events bringing together community groups, members of the diplomatic community and stakeholders in tourism, academia, and the film and creative industries.