Chappie makes transition


Chappie makes transition


By Kediesha Perry
Observer writer

Sunday, January 12, 2020

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The Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk continues to look at the people, events, and stories that made an impact during 2019.


THE local film industry lost one of its brightest stars when veteran cinematographer Franklyn “Chappie” St Juste died on November 5. The 90-year-old suffered complications from cancer at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston.

At his thanksgiving service, held on November 25 at the University Chapel, Mona in Kingston, his colleagues remembered him for his professionalism.

“It was because of this meticulous attention to detail that we were able to put our trust, the trust of our clients and the trust of our country's historic film legacy in the hands of Franklyn 'Chappie' St Juste. In those days, the cinematographer was who we relied on. We were not able to shoot too many takes because film cost money, processing cost money, printing cost money — and so we only had an average of three or four takes. It was your cinematographer who would have to tell you when your shot was in the can, because he or she saw it,” said fellow film-maker Natalie Thompson at the service.

Born in Trinidad of St Lucian stock, St Juste came to Jamaica in 1955 and joined the film unit of the Jamaica Information Service, along with industry stalwarts including Carey Robinson and Cynthia Wilmot. They were charged with recording the history of Jamaica as it went along for later use. He was the cinematographer on projects including Birth of a Nation, which captured the Jamaican Independence celebrations of 1962; Time of Fury, a dramatisation of the life of Paul Bogle and the Morant Bay Rebellion; and Lion of Judah, the visit of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie in 1966.

St Juste's work with young people was enhanced during his stint at The University of the West Indies' Mona Campus, where for more than 20 years he was a lecturer in television production at what became the Caribbean School of Media and Communications (CARIMAC).

St Juste is survived by his sons, noted film director Brian and broadcaster François, and daughter Maya.

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