New features for GATFFEST

Sunday, May 19, 2019

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This year's staging of the Greater August Town Film Festival (GATTFEST), will have a number of new features.

The event— which serves as a platform for the exposure of film-making talents and is also big on social and community upliftment, cooperation and human development will see a total of 52 films — being screened over 15 days of activities, with film nights dedicated to Jamaican, Japanese, South African, Colombian and Mexican films. The top film-maker will vie for The Archie, the new trophy named after former principal of UWI, Mona, Professor Archibald McDonald who gave the start-up funds and has been a supporter of the event over the years

“The film nights will take place between June 21-30, with over 50 films from various genres being screened and the début of two documentaries — Beneath the Surface and Island Strong — on the première night. Both documentaries focus on different aspects of the impact of climate change on the Caribbean. The festival's programme also includes community film nights in Trench Town and Mount Salem, as it continues to bring the film festival experience directly into communities,” GATFFEST director, Professor Ian Boxill revealed at the launch of the festival last Thursday.

Staying true to its mission to build the local film industry, this year's seventh staging will see the launch the first GATFFEST short film pitch competition. This is an integral part of the first ever film market which will also provide opportunities for young and aspiring filmmakers to tell their stories. The film market, which will be the first of its kind in Jamaica, has been created to harness and spotlight the region's creativity in film. The film market will involve local regional and international stakeholders, television stations, cable stations, local independent producers, directors, screen writers, cinematographers, actors, technical personnel — individuals and companies from all areas of film and television production. Among the buyers of content are CVM, TVJ and US-based kweli TV which curates programming that celebrates the global black community.

The pitch competition is open to all Jamaican residents regardless of age, gender, background or experience. The films should be uplifting stories with a community or social focus.

The top ten finalists will receive story development and mentorship support in the form of workshops and one-on-one meetings leading up to the pitch competition, which will take place during a special public forum at the film market on June 22.

Participants and their teams will have three minutes each to pitch their short film idea in front of a panel of judges comprising industry professionals and business persons, in a constructive and friendly environment. Through the generosity the Bob Marley Foundation, the top three pitches will receive funding and support to produce their films, which will première at next year's staging of the festival.

GATFFEST, which has its roots and tentacles in community, is organized by the Centre for Tourism and Policy Research at the University of the West Indies, and was created as an outlet for graduates of the UWI Community Film Project to showcase films that were produced during the training course.


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