Jamaica, Jamaicans on show at film fest

Jamaica, Jamaicans on show at film fest

BY RORY DALEY Observer writer daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 04, 2013

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FILM director LaToya Vereen hopes her debut French-made production — '?' (question) — will have a positive impact on the local industry.

Her work is one of several scheduled to be shown at the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival at the Island Village in Ocho Rios, St Ann, which began on Thursday and continues until tomorrow.

"I've been shopping my [film] around in Europe and North America and I want to make it into a feature film," said Vereen.

'?' is a 2012 short film, which examines the tensions that arise between a married couple after the husband is sexually assaulted by a group of men.

Barbara Blake-Hannah, organiser of the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival, said it is an avenue for young film-makers to get their works on the world stage.

"The festival celebrates Jamaica and Jamaicans on film, while encouraging new film-makers to showcase their productions," Blake-Hannah told the Jamaica Observer.

Now in its sixth year, the five-day festival boasts 28 films. And according to the organiser, this is much more than last year's staging.

"We put out the call for submissions, and those interested reacted positively," she said.

Films range from animated shorts to full-length documentaries. Born in St Ann, Vereen studied at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. She later continued her education at the International Film School of Paris.

She said she is happy at the opportunity the film festival has afforded her.

"I feel elated and proud that my own country can appreciate my creativity and vision," she said.

"I hope that the film festival will expose the film to an even wider audience and give me the international push in desire," she continued.

Other films showing at the festival include Yaad Man, Team X, Us and Them, Missing Pieces, Losing Paradise and Music, Just Another Friday, Hill and Gully, The Croft, Lost in Dangriga, Dear Jesus, and Born in Trenchtown.

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