Inaugural Black River Film Festival set for June 28-30 Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The inaugural Black River Film Festival is slated to be held from June 28 to 30 in St Elizabeth.

Festival co-founder, Dr Ava Eagle Brown said the three-day event aims to unearth budding, local filmmakers and ignite creativity among local industry talents in general.

The festival is also intended to bring international film industry experts to Jamaica to create synergies with local stakeholders, to transfer expertise and skills as well as build networks.

Dr Brown, a native of the town, said staging the festival on the south coast, particularly in Black River, will, hopefully, extend opportunities to established film industry interests and young aspirants who do not reside in Jamaica’s urban centres.

During its heydays, Black River enjoyed many ‘firsts’, from stories about its pioneering the introduction of electrical power and the motor car to the island, to its once vibrant seaport; it was also the home of many affluent families.

“In recent years, Black River has seen a significant economic downturn, resulting in the migration of many young people,” Dr Brown said.

She noted that one primary goal of the film festival is to contribute to the town’s ‘re-gentrification’ through “the influx of visitors to the different staging and programmes surrounding the festival and the vision to creating a vibrant film industry creatives centre in the region for film professionals and future career aspirants”.

The festival kicks off on June 28 with a youth workshop, dubbed ‘Penning Pain to Purpose’, which will target students, aged 14 to 18 years, at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS).

This will see renowned Commonwealth Foundation 2023 short story prize winner, Kwame McPherson, and South African actress and filmmaker, Connie Chiume, heading the list of industry celebrities teaming up with Ministry of Education and Youth Region Five personnel to speak on matters relating to violence in schools, mental health, anger management and other current issues affecting young people.

The session is also geared towards exposing participants to career opportunities in the industry as well as screening entries for the short film competition.

“We will [also] be having a Tik Tokker and YouTuber, who will be talking about [among other things], how they can monetise content. We want to teach young people how to be content creators and not just consumers… how to produce high resolution… and good-quality content,” Dr. Brown stated.

Day two will feature the screening of local and overseas short films and their creators.

The Festival wraps up on June 30 with the showing of several local movies, chief of which will be the iconic Perry Henzell – directed ‘The Harder They Come’, and an after party dubbed ‘Under the Stars’.  Both events will be staged at Lola’s on the Beach.