Film-makers turn to crowdfundingSunday, December 13, 2020
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
A group of local film-makers are not giving up the fight to develop their short film into a series for the international streaming platforms.
Producers of the short Traytown are taking their bid for funding to the people. They have launched an account on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter in order to realise their dream.
Co-director and producer Nadean Rawlins told the Jamaica Observer that the hope is to raise just over US$20,000 in order to shoot the pilot for the series as a first step.
“We are not stopping,” declared Rawlins. “We are doing this to keep up the momentum, raise the funds, and get our film made.”
Traytown, the 13-minute version, is the brainchild of writer Letay Williams. It tells the story of an aspiring Jamaican female politician in pursuit of becoming the Member of Parliament for the community of Traytown. Along the way she encounters a number of roadblocks, including the fact that she is seen as an outsider by members of the community and also guards her own personal secret... she is having an affair, with a woman.
“When we were doing the original music for the film it came to us that this is not a movie; the multi-layered nature of the characters and the various plots and sub plots lend themselves to the stuff of which series are made. But it was the music that did it... It was like this isn't a song you should hear once, and then that's it; it has to be heard over and over, so this should be a series,” Rawlins explained.
Traytown, the short film, was completed earlier this year. It stars singer Jovi Rockwell, Gabrielle Murdock, Ramon Walker, and Paul Issa, and was co directed by Rawlins and Gareth Cobran. It has so far made its way to the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and has just been announced as part of the juried section of the Bahamas International Film Festival set for January 2021
These successes with the short version have served as encouragement for the team.
“We know times are rough due to COVID, but we have realised that now more than ever people are going to streaming services for entertainment as they have nowhere to go. In turn the streaming services are crying out for content, and there is nothing like this coming out of Jamaica at this time,” Rawlins noted.
The Traytown team has launched a 60-day crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising the desired funds. Five days after the initiative got started the tally stood at US$851.
“We know it is ambitious, but it can be done. If 1,400 persons give US$20 each we will reach our target. I got so excited this morning that I bawled when I saw that someone pledged US$500. I was so encouraged. We are targeting Jamaicans at home and those in the Diaspora. I get tired of hearing, where is the Jamaican content? Well, this is your opportunity to invest in providing that content, and content that is well done,” she said.
If the funds are realised, the plan is for the pilot to be shot and ready for market, as well have the scripts ready for the 13 episodes of the first season by the end of 2022.
“If we don't make the target at least we tried. I have been to a lot of the festivals and events and the big question the film market asks is: 'Do you have money secured?' So this is our effort, and at least potential investors can see that we are serious,” Rawlins noted.
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