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Flight takes off at Gatffest

Observer writer

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

The short film, Flight , won five awards including the Archibald McDonald Award for Best of Gatffest 2019. The 10-day festival concluded Sunday with an awards ceremony at the Medical Sciences Building, University of the West Indies, Mona campus.

Directors of Flight, Kia Moses and Adrian McDonald, were elated to collect the coveted 'Archie'. During their acceptance speech, Moses said producing the film was the hardest and longest 13 minutes of her life.

“As a first-time film-maker, I never realised how much work goes in to creating these short films. I am happy to have had the opportunity to have created it and presented it here in my country Jamaica. I am grateful for the support from you [the audience] and everyone who invested in the project and believed in me on my first try,” she said.

Flight tells the story of a boy who wants to become an astronaut and travel to space, to be closer to his mother who died. His father did not support those aspirations in the beginning but after realising why his son dreamt of space travel, not only supported him, but became co-pilot.

The film also won The Spirit of Gatffest Award, The Franklyn St Juste Award for Best Directing, Best Cinematography and Lennie Little-White Award for Best Local Film.

Other winners included Mascarpone, directed by Jonannes Schubert, for Best Animation; Blood Walk, directed by Dwayne Stewart and Mario Allen, for Best UWI Community Film Project; Blood Walk also won for Best Edited.

Dario Shields walked away with the Mona Social Services Award For Change in The Community. Shields is a graduate of the UWI Community Film Project and has trained over 40 students and unattached youth.

Special presentations were also made to Robert Harris and reggae artiste Miguel “Sizzla” Collins, who contributed to the development of UWICFP and Gatffest. Collins was not present to collect his award.

Festival conceptualiser, Ian Boxill, says the seventh staging of Gatffest surpassed expectations.

“In terms of attendance, I think it was just amazing. For Jamaica Night I would say about 200 or 300 persons came out, but I can't be exact because we had two showings. We had more local entries, we had some really great films. I think the films this year were better than last year,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“We had a film market for the first time and I believe it was successful, and we had a very exciting film pitch competition; we had a very exciting, highly-animated panel discussion on the business of film. All in all, much bigger, much better than last year,” Boxill continued.

The Gatffest Film Festival, formerly known as the greater August Town Film Fest, began on June 21. Originating from the UWI Community Film Project, it was created as an outlet for graduates to showcase films produced during their training. More than 50 short films from 25 countries, including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, France, Greece and Nepal, were shown.

Boxhill is pleased with the development of film in Jamaica.

“I think that the industry is improving and people are taking the craft more seriously. there are people who see film as a career now and it's not just something they do on the side. There is this sense that this is something serious. There are now more avenues where you can show your film and I hope that Gatffest would have contributed to that too,” he said.