Hendriks tackles child abuse

Monday, November 20, 2017

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ACTOR/comedian Tony “Paleface” Hendriks believes one sure way of tackling the issue of child abuse is to “talk”.

“In Jamaica, constant communication inspires people to act. The more we speak about things like abuse, the more we raise awareness,” he said.

“Ironically, for too long we have accepted living among child abuse and crime while objecting to far less important issues,” Hendriks continued.

He made the comments at an event titled Expressions through Art – Protecting OUR Children, hosted by J Wray and Nephew (JWN) Foundation at the Courtleigh Auditorium in St Andrew on Thursday evening.

Hendriks's film, Shoot The Girl, was one of two screened at the inaugural event. Silent Hearts, written by Janet Morrison, was the other.

One top five 2016 finalists of the Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA) Propella, Shoot The Girl tells the story of Likkle, who must outsmart a community don after witnessing him murder her father.

The film is directed by by Natalie Thompson.

“Versions of Shoot The Girl have been in my head for a while. Who doesn't want to see ordinary people doing extraordinary things as innocent people fight back against oppressors,” Hendriks said.

The film-maker shared how he got involved in the project.

“JAFTA Propella came along in 2016 and I submitted a script for this version and it was one of the winners. We made the short film, which won GATFFEST Best Local Film, and the feature-length screenplay I wrote won Black Screenplays Matter and came second in the Cannes Golden Plume International Screenwriters competition,” he said, adding the local film industry can tell their stories.

“This is a great time! There's a new generation of people who've never known life without internet, laptops, smartphones and technology, all which makes the ability to be a film-maker accessible to everyone.

“We're quick learners in Jamaica. As long as we learn to write and tell stories in ways that engage audiences and make films for budgets that fit the marketplace, we should have a burgeoning film business by the middle of the next decade,” he said.

There was also a panel discussion which included: Rosalee Gage-Grey, CEO, Child Development Agency; Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry, head of trafficking in persons, Intellectual Property (Vice Squad), Counter-Terrorism Organised Crime Investigation Branch; Emprezz Golding, chairperson of the Maxfield Park Children's Home; and Marcia Forbes, executive chairperson, Phase Three Productions Limited.

Dr Carolyn Cooper, Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, acted as moderator.

Hendriks said he felt humbled that his work was chosen to highlight the issue by the JWN Foundation.

“It's very flattering. It is important to show strong, empowered female characters, which Shoot The Girl does. If that is an inspiration for real people to speak out and stand up against crime or abuse of any kind, that's great,” he added.




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