ORGANISERS of the film festival GATFFEST are claiming success for its 10th staging which culminated with an awards ceremony hosted by Mona Social Services and The UWI Community Film Project last Saturday.
Festival director Savannah Peridot told the Jamaica Observer that the event exceeded expectations in terms of number and quality of entries.
“We were blown away. Honestly, this was way above our expectations, especially coming back from COVID. I think this was due to the fact that persons just want to go out after being restricted over the past two years. But, in addition, our audience loves to watch Jamaican films, and GATFFEST allows them the opportunity to see high-quality local films, as well as to have an idea of what it taking place in the local film community,” said Peridot.
Screenings took place from June 25 to July 2 at Palace Cineplex in Sovereign Centre, St Andrew.
This year, Timoun Aw (Your Kid) a film from Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean walked away with the top awards. It won the Franklyn St Juste Award for Best Directing, Best International/Regional Film, the Spirit of GATFFEST Award, the Archibald McDonald Award for Best of GATFFEST, and shared the International Viewers’ Choice Award.
Peridot noted that this performance by a film from the Caribbean represents the growth and development of the regional film festival.
“We have always welcomed international films. However, in the past, Jamaican films have always dominated. We are very proud that a regional film won this year and it shows that GATFFEST is growing and making a name for itself. We want more regional films,” she stated. “This year, in addition to this film from Guadeloupe we only have one more regional film... out of Trinidad and Tobago. In the past our other films from outside of Jamaica were usually from the United States or Canada. This year we partnered with the French Embassy in Jamaica and were able to reach out to the film community in the French Caribbean and this is the result, so we are very proud,” Peridot added.
Other winners at GATFFEST were Most Original Screenplay (Patty versus Patty); Best Cinematography (No Entry); Lennie Little-White Award for Best Local Film (Traytown); Best Animated Film (Mother Finch); Best MSS/UWICFP Film (A Day in the Life of A Mangrove Warden); The Lamar Dookie Award for Best Edited MSS/UWICFP Film (A Day in the Life of A Mangrove Warden); International Viewers’ Choice Award (The Bathtub, shared with Timoun Aw Your Kid, and Jamaican Viewers’ Choice Award, (Traytown and Nice Lady).
The Mona Social Services/UWI Community Film Project Award for Change in the Community was presented to a graduate of The UWI Community Film Project who utilised the programme to make a significant impact on the community. This year’s winner is Phillip Watson, one of three cohorts trained in film and video production with an emphasis on environmental issues facing the Kingston Harbour and communities surrounding it.
Watson runs Supm Fi Talk Bout, a community-based organisation and social enterprise that empowers and uplifts youth from 16 inner-city communities in downtown Kingston.