Three time’s the charm for ‘Shot List’ Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Filmmakers and film enthusiasts descended in scores at the third staging of Shot List for Sunday Matinee-styled film festival.

The event, coordinated by the Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA) and the UK-based film exhibition and distribution agency, We Are Parable, was organised to mimic the feel of international festivals.

And they chose the Sunken Garden at the Hope Botanical Gardens to execute the third iteration of the festival.

Shot List continues to grow in popularity, and captivated audience with a diverse reel of films, workshops, and panels, with the hopes of cementing Jamaica’s place on the global film industry scale.

There was an overwhelming attendance of youth, who have chosen or have an interest in various areas of filmmaking.

The workshops – which quickly sold out – covered critical aspects of cinematography, a special workshop from Kingston Monologues Slam on the art of ‘acting’; as well as useful tips on producing a music video.

These were led by industry leaders Gabrielle Blackwood, Fela Oke, and Shari Bedasse.

The workshop block was completed by the former film commissioner at JAMPRO, Renee Robinson who brought the relevant focus on the business of film.

The overwhelming response to these workshops underscores the burgeoning talent and interest in the film industry within the Caribbean.

As the ten-hour film festival progressed, the highlight of was undoubtedly the film screenings, but the animation block of films created a fun experience for families.

The short films from the UK and Barbados that were presented in the late evening offered a glimpse into the rich storytelling traditions and creative visions from these regions.

However, it was the five Jamaican films that stole the show, receiving enthusiastic cheers and standing ovations from the audience.

The featured Jamaican films included: Black Girl in The Ring, a seventeen-minute film, written, produced and directed by Saeed Thomas and co-directed by Joshua Paul.

Black Girl in The Ring provided an animated and live action view into the life of Jamaica’s only National heroine, Nanny of the Maroons, before she became the formidable warrior that Jamaicans have long revered.

Raw Materials which was a short, written, produced and directed by Sosiessia Kelly is about a teenaged boy who is a fashion enthusiast and faces discrimination by his father and his community as he seeks to understand his own path to self-acceptance kept the audience fully engaged for thirty minutes.

Sonshine, a sixteen-minute film, written, produced and directed by Kaleb D’Aguilar and co-produced by Dana Wallace brought some audience members to tears and they watch a mother face phase of grief, recounting precious memories with her young son.

Just Like Mommy, a fourteen-minute film written by Renee Williams, directed by Kaleb D’Aguilar and Renee Williams and produced by Cleo Anderson shone glaring lights on domestic abuse and the effects it can have on children who witness it.

A cooperative endeavour between Jamaican, Barbadian and Trinidadian animation creatives was witnessed in the screening of Ego Sum, a sci-fi/animation film lasting five minutes directed by Adrian Lopez, co-produced by Adrian Lopez and JAMPRO, cowritten by Adrian Lopez, Wendel Murphy and Tristan Roach.

These films were celebrated by the audience not only for their compelling narratives and strong performances but also for their unique perspectives on Jamaican culture and society which a dedicated panel of the film directors gave the audience additional insight about.

The event also featured three engaging panel discussions that sparked dynamic conversations and provided invaluable insights into the film industry.

These panels explored topics such as the evolution of music videos in Jamaica with internationally renowned video producers as well as crew members from the recently released Bob Marley: One Love.

Other captivating moments from the festival included the insightful panel discussions from industry leaders in photography, creative direction, cinematography, and other areas.

Lifetime Achievement Awards were bestowed upon five individuals who have given more than thirty years in the film and television industry.

Among them were legendary producer Maxine Walters, who has been the ‘go-to’ source for major motion pictures, music videos and photography projects shot in Jamaica.

Don McGreggor, audio engineer extraordinaire and Ray Smith who has epitomized quality television production in Jamaica as well as renowned filmmaker and owner of Cinecom, Natalie Thompson were also awarded.

Broadcaster Brian St Juste who has executed the gamut of film projects from television commercials to corporate documentaries was also among the esteemed industry stalwarts who were honoured.

Saeed Thomas, President of JAFTA, expressed his satisfaction about the event’s success, stating, ‘Shot List has once again proven to be a cornerstone for the development and promotion of Jamaican and Caribbean cinema. The enthusiasm and support we’ve seen this year are truly inspiring and demonstrate the incredible potential of our filmmakers to make a significant impact on the global stage.’

Teanne Andrews, Co-Founder of We Are Parable, echoed these sentiments, adding, ‘It’s been an honour to collaborate with JAFTA on The Shot List. The well supported workshops and the engaging panels are a testament to the vibrant film community here in Jamaica. The reception to the screenings, especially the Jamaican films, was phenomenal and highlights the bright future for Caribbean storytelling.’

The Shot List was sponsored by EON Productions, the UK based production company that has produced the James Bond films since 1962, and Main Event.

To cap the festival for this season, reggae songbird Sevana, performed.