A lesson plan in film

A lesson plan in film

Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

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PRIMARY school students in Portland could be introduced to filmmaking, if the organisers of the Portie Film Festival have their way.

The event, which rolls out this weekend in the Corporate Area and Portland, has the overall development of the residents of the eastern parish at heart and one such project on the drawing board is a 'Cinema In Schools' programme.

This is something we are yet to finalise, but it is something we are giving a lot of thought to at this time,” Vivene Levison, festival director, told the Jamaica Observer.

“We want to teach the youth how they can use their cellphones to make movies and tell stories. In a parish like Portland, that is known for its lush, natural environment, we want to be able to make short films about the environment and showcase what is good about ourselves as a people. It's about making what's important, relevant to young people. We must recognise that math and science are not going to spur the creativity of young people and so we have to use the medium of film positively to help the next generation. There are so many films out there already that reinforce the negatives, by teaching the power of film and cinema we get to channel them into more creative pursuits.”

Levison said these plans are in the embryonic stages but form part of the overall objectives of the festival conceptualised by Dr Paul Rhodes of Portland's Great Huts Resort.

The festival, which is now in its ninth year, starts this Friday with the première of Babylon at the Ambassador Theatre in Trench Town. This will be followed by a panel discussion. Among the panellists is former Aswad member Brinsley Forde, who stars Babylon.

“We are really pleased to be able to screen Babylon here. This is a film that celebrates the birthplace of reggae. It premièred at the Cannes Film Festival 40 years ago and has been shelved since. It was only in March of this year that it was shown in New York. We will bring it to local audiences following a high-definition restoration process. This is a film, which has had critics raving and has been dubbed the British version of The Harder They Come and Rockers. Other themes which this film touches are the sound system subculture, immigration and the Windrush generation, and the import of the music on the world,” said Levison.

On Saturday, Storm Saulter's Sprinter will be on show at Goblin Hill Villas in Port Antonio. There will also be a presentation on the history of film in Jamaica from the 1800s by Dr Emiel Martens from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

On Sunday, the event wraps with a specially curated string of short films celebrating the work of filmmakers from Jamaica and the Diaspora. The shorts to be screened at Great Huts are Ladies Day, Masterminds, Cross My Heart, Unspoken, and Jerk.

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