New 'White Witch' film in the works

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 03, 2012    

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IF all goes according to plan, production on a film inspired by the tales surrounding the Rose Hall Great House in St James could begin early next year.

New York-based, Jamaican filmmaker Raquel Roxanne is currently finalising arrangements to commence production in February 2013 on The Rebellion — "an entertaining critique of the period of British colonialism in Jamaica."

"We have just launched our marketing campaigns via various online media. As a part of the funding process, we have launched a crowd funding campaign on KickStarter that allows anyone interested in contributing to the project to do so. It also encourages a more interactive and communal approach to the process of filmmaking because others are able to track our progress and become involved at the various stages production," she explained.

"While I don't intend to secure the entire budget through this medium, I expect that we will source enough to shoot at least one compelling scene that visually conveys the essence of the film, that will be used to entice other investors to come on board."

Admitting that she cannot say too much, Roxanne did mention that she is in discussion with a major studio regarding the marketing and distribution of the film once completed.

With another Rose Hall-inspired film in the works from producer Mark Kenny and director Storm Saulter, Roxanne is not daunted.

"There are so many layers to this story and it lends itself to various interpretations. My focus is not so much on making a different film, as it is on making one that is authentic and does justice to period and culture from which it was born," she said.

Most of the film will be shot locally for authenticity, utilising a local cast and crew. Roxanne hopes that by doing this it will help to build the Jamaican film industry.

And what does the young filmmaker think of the local film industry?

"It is still in its infancy, and without the necessary resources being made available to filmmakers, we will continue to experience great difficulty in producing films that are of a quality comparable to Hollywood films or even films independently produced in the United States. I think it might need a governmental approach where, as a country, we recognise the value of a developed film industry to strengthening our economy."

Roxanne is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and Long Island University in New York. She has written, directed and produced several short films, one of which, What Makes Jada Click? was screened at the Spike Lee screening room in Brooklyn. She has also worked on commercials and music videos and is currently attached to two other feature films in post-production. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, where she runs an independent production company.





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