Women in Film and Television Jamaica chapter launched
The Jamaica Chapter of the prestigious Women in Film and Television Organisation was launched at the offices of JAMPRO last week.
WIFT has over 40 chapters worldwide with approximately twelve thousand members. WIFT – Jamaica, according to their mission statement, is a non profit organisation dedicated to teaching, developing, advancing, empowering and legitimising the many women working in film, television and the new media in Jamaica.
Welcoming the large turnout of Industry professionals, Patricia Francis, president of JAMPRO, expressed hope for the future of the film and television industries. She declared the total commitment of the JAMPRO Film Commission to encouraging the signing of a co-production treaty with Canada in 2001.
Francis stated that this treaty would allow local producers to access funds for production available in Canada and also in other countries such as Great Britain and South Africa who have previously signed agreements with Canada. She also expressed their commitment to pursue the setting up of a Film Fund as this was one of the conditions of the co-production treaty.
Ms Maxine Walters, co-founder of WIFT, Jamaica, who has been associated with the organisation since 1992, spoke of the many opportunities that have come her way through the global network of women. She spoke of the distinctive and special position of WIFT in the industry globally, as the most powerful organisation of women in the areas of film and television. Akens, the only original member of the board, still serving, gave some of the history of the board and its mission to advancing the professional development and achievement of women working in all areas of film, video and other screen-based media.
Some also spoke of the diversity of the chapter membership which includes everybody from movie celebrities to caterers to technical personnel.
In her address Natalie Thompson co founder of the Jamaican Chapter invited the women present to use the opportunities of networking offered by WIFT to develop their individual skills. She stated that the priorities of the Jamaican Chapter for 2001 were training and workshops, which would be held bi-monthly. Thompson told members, that the chapters from Toronto, New York and Florida, along with Bonnie Dore and Sheryl Lee Ralph of the Los Angeles Chapter would be mentoring the WIFT-Ja and helping with the workshops and the general development of the group.
WIFT-JA, has already taken a seat on the International Board, WIFTI, representing the Caribbean, Central and South America. They hope to incorporate the Women professionals in the English-speaking Caribbean, before the end of next year.