JAMAICAN writer and director Aisha Porter-Christie has been signed to the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Hollywood. That company represents A-listers like Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
Porter-Christie is currently a consulting producer on Marvel and Disney+'s upcoming Daredevil series. CAA recently announced her signing on its website.
"CAA is considered one of the most powerful in Hollywood. They don't announce every client they sign, usually it's more established or famous artistes that get press like this, so it was really great to be included and valued in that way," she told the Jamaica Observer.
The Holy Childhood High School past student hopes it will catapult her to new heights.
"It definitely means more opportunity. Access to bigger and better projects with wider audiences. Access to top-tier actors. It will allow me to elevate to the next level of my career especially as I transition from television to film and look to start directing features," she said.
Previously, Porter-Christie was co-executive producer on The Boys' spin-off Gen V and a supervising producer for The Girls on The Bus.
Born in Kingston, she grew up on the outskirts of Old Harbour, St Catherine. Porter-Christie is the daughter of broadcaster Thelma Porter. She moved to Toronto in 2006 to study media at Ryerson University before going to the United States to earn a master's in film at Columbia University in New York.
She revealed that her interest in film first manifested as she read for her degree in Canada.
"I got my first taste of screenwriting in a class at Ryerson. I had always loved writing essays and short stories for competitions and stuff, and it was great to find another outlet. On one of our assignments, I remember my professor left me a note that said, 'You really have a knack for this, please, please tell me you want to be a screenwriter'. That really was the first time the possibility was opened in my mind, and so I decided to go to film school right after undergrad," she disclosed. "While I was at Columbia, I was able to direct and produce as well and fell in love with film-making as a whole, but screenwriting — particularly for TV dramas — is my bread and butter."
Being represented by CAA is no easy feat, but Porter-Christie says this is just another achievement to add to an already lengthy list.
"I wouldn't consider being repped by CAA to be a huge achievement so much as something I'm grateful for and excited about. For me, I consider two things to be my biggest achievements. First, the fact that I got to the co-executive producer title within four years of starting my television writing career. That usually takes twice as long, and for someone who isn't American, who didn't grow up rich with a bunch of industry contacts and access, that's something I'm really proud of," she said. "I'm also really proud of working my way to a green card. I didn't have to marry anyone or have a company sponsor me — I was able to apply on my own as an 'Artist of Extraordinary Ability'. It took 10 years of blood, sweat and tears and I'm just so happy to have the weight of constantly hustling to get work visas off my shoulders."
Perry Henzell's The Harder They Come marked its 50th anniversary last year. Although Jamaica has produced other well-received movies such as Rockers, Porter-Christie says much more needs to be done to improve the country's film scene.
"Brand Jamaica is huge, and it's such a shame to me that we haven't been able to achieve more in film and TV the way say, Nigeria and South Africa have, but of course, our economy puts us at a disadvantage and we don't have as much funding allocated to the arts," she stated. "I've had many opportunities to succeed as a screenwriter, but I had to leave Jamaica to get those opportunities," she said.