GROWING up in Spalding, Clarendon, Phillip Warmington was always fond of the movies. So he sees his transition into film production after migrating to the United States as a natural fit.
The 48-year-old recently released the low budget film, Made in New York (A Jamaican Story). It premiered at the Bombay Theatre in New York City on May 4.
“I've always loved acting from church plays to school plays... really and truly I'm living my dream,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
“I didn't formally study film-making; it all came natural. I did it once and fell in love. I love to sing music but I found something I love more — making movies,” he continued.
According to the self-taught film-maker/dancehall deejay, Made in New York — his third production — is an action/suspense flick.
“The movie is about Jamaicans living in New York, struggling to survive, while pursuing their music careers. A singer called Redhat gets a recording deal from Get Rich Quick Records. Walla Walla, who decides to wait for his big break and not take the gangster way out, gets a link with Brown Sleeves Records — but he didn't make it. His wife, Sarafina, almost got raped by a notorious gangster, who goes around intimidating selectors to play songs produced by Get Rich Quick Records. That's just a tip of the iceberg, there's so much more drama, suspense, action, and also a bit of comedy,” said Warmington, who migrated to the US in 1987.
Co-funded by Warmington's Hungryman Films Production and Papa Lova Entertainment, the movie was made on a budget of US$18,000. It was shot in Jamaica, New York City, and Atlanta. It is co-produced by Zambia Carridice and Warmington. Warmington is also credited as writer and director.
The movie stars Ed Robinson, Monique Minott, and George Thompson. It is available on Amazon Prime. The film can also be seen on Hungryman Films Production's YouTube channel.
Warmington shared some of the challenges while making the film.
“Some of the challenges include being frustrated trying to keep people quiet on set. Not everyone was available at the same time, so the scheduling to shoot scenes became very difficult. Honestly, I would say that every step was a challenge — both big and small. No day went by without a challenge. The biggest one was dealing with multiple personalities at the same time,” he said.
The film-maker first tried his hand at film production in 2015 with Illegal Activities. He said he nearly lost his life during its production.
“Making movies can be deadly. I almost died shooting one of my movies, Illegal Activities, in Georgia. I did my own stunt without proper knowledge and research and ended up with 15 screws and a metal plate in one arm, hurt my leg, and almost bust my face as I fell inches from the brick,” he said.
Since then, he has produced Debra and the Jamaican Pimp, which starred Destiny Sparta and Drew Mitchell. He also has a series called Brown Bag and several music videos for established and up-and-coming artistes to his credit.
As an artiste, Warmington — who uses the moniker Papa Lova — has released songs such as Letter To My Lady, Sexy, What Will This World Be, and Nothing Tried Nothing Done.
He had some advice for up-and-coming film-makers.
“My advice is to do your research; be careful of your stunts before you do them; learning how to tell your story with the proper movie-telling format; and be passionate, because with passion comes perfection,” said Warmington.