Movies

Gatffest begins tonight

By Aaliyah Cunningham
Observer writer

Friday, June 21, 2019

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The 2019 Gatffest Film Festival (formerly Greater August Town Film Festival) opens tonight at Visitors' Lodge, at the University of The West Indies Mona Campus. It ends June 30.

In keeping with its mantra to provide a space for young film-makers to showcase their work, organisers have added a film market to the line-up of events. Savannah Peridot, deputy festival director, says it provides an opportunity to develop the film community.

“The film market is a trade show among persons in the film industry. Young film-makers will be given the opportunity to talk to and network with producers, content buyers and those in the industry to sort of find out what it's like and what's going on, that kind of thing. For the film market, we are going have panel discussions, workshops, film showings and booths,” she told the Jamaica Observer's Splash.

The festival has also incorporated a short film pitch competition.

“We teamed up with the Bob Marley Foundation for this project. Participants submit their ideas, we host a film lab where they are able to present and receive critiques and pointers on how to improve their work. We will then select the 10 best pitches to present at the film festival after which a top three will be selected and they will be given the opportunity to produce their short film,” Peridot explained.

Other festival partners include the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and embassies of Japan, South Africa, Colombia and Mexico.

Gatffest was conceptualised seven years ago by UWI professor Ian Boxhill. Originating from what is now known as the UWI Community Film Project, it was created as an outlet for graduates to showcase films produced during their training. Through the support of sponsors, the festival has developed from three days to an eight-day affair.

Over 50 short films from 25 countries, including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, France, Greece and Nepal, will be premiered. On opening night, the feature films are Beneath The Surface, UWI film community; and Island Strong, produced by Bajan Clish Gittenn.

According to Peridot, Gatffest has lived up to its mandate.

“This is an opportunity for them (film-makers) to show off what they have done. From the festival they are able to improve and in turn contribute to the development of the island's film industry. I remember a particular film-maker who premiered his work at the festival and he was able to get funding to extend it, they get an audience to view their short films and certainly benefit from that,” she said.


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