Break every rule

Break every rule

Simpson Miller's biography premières February 24

Observer senior reporter

Sunday, February 17, 2019

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The life and work of former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller comes to the big screen next Sunday, February 24 with the première of the biopic Journey: Break Every Rule at Carib 5 in St Andrew.

Written and directed by by local filmmaker Lennie Little-White, the work traces Simpson Miller's life from the formative years in Woodhall, St Catherine to her ascendancy to the highest political office in the land. This project forms part of a series of portraits of well-known Jamaicans being undertaken by Little-White. So far he has created works for scholar and cultural figure Rex Nettleford, and artist Barrington Watson. With the Simpson Miller work out of the way, Little-White is setting his sights on the life of renowned folklorist Louise Bennett Coverley, better known as Miss Lou.

“The idea came to me while she was campaigning for the last election, so I started filming some of her speeches. After the loss I took her aside and pitched it. I made it clear that this is not a PNP film, but rather a film looking at her — the girl who was not born with a gold spoon in her mouth; not from upper St Andrew; No Oxford education; the girl who despite the obstacles took on the Jamaican male chauvinists and the classist PNP, and beat them,” Little-White told the Sunday Observer.

Production on the 52-minute-long feature began with research and data collection in early 2017. Little-White explained that the feature will play out like a television news report with very little narration, a few re-enacted scenes and footage from the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, Super Supreme Television, and CVM TV.

“We have used music as a bridge and coupled with Portia's own words used these to tell the story. The music plays a key role as she wanted the work to appeal to the ordinary man in the street. We have included the music of Jimmy Cliff, Pam Hall, Etana, Richie Stephens, Shaggy, Boris Gardiner, Tarrus Riley, Peter Lloyd, Jon Williams and Gussie Clarke.”

“There are basically 17 highlights which we have focussed on including the influence of her mentors, trade unionist Hopeton Caven, politician Tony Spaulding and former prime ministers Michael Manley and PJ Patterson; her work to build the tourism product following the 9/11 attacks in the United States, her work with the farm work programme and the activity that now occupies her time, The Portia Simpson Miller Foundation which provides scholarships for young people,” he continued.

Testimonials have also been included from persons, including American congresswoman Maxine Waters and Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

The film is not being sold but in order to ensure as wide a viewership as possible Little-White and Simpson Miller will be utilising various platforms including YouTube to distribute the film.

“It is her hope that this work be seen by as many persons as is possible. All local television stations will have the rights to broadcast, YouTube and similar platforms open us up to a whole world of viewers. We believe this feature can inspire children across the globe to look at the Portia Simpson Miller story and be truly inspired,” said Little-White.

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