Ja films wantedFriday, February 05, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
A number of local film and television industry players are responding favourably to the call by the the Filmmakers Collaborative of Trinidad and Tobago (FILMCO) for Jamaican content be featured on the recently launched online streaming platform.
The streaming service to be known as FILMCO2Go is set for start-up on February 21 with the aim of providing Caribbean content including films and TV shows to the world. The service, which will be accessible through filmco.org/filmco2go and is subscription based, was launched by FILMCO in partnership with Trinidad and Tobago-based technology company Tego, which delivers Caribbean film, television and live broadcast content to viewers around the world on mobile and TV connected streaming devices.
For actress, producer and director Dahlia Harris, the move is a great one and shows what we can achieve as a Caribbean region.
“One of the things I have always championed is a regional approach to the arts. Individually we may be able to pack a competitive punch, but as a region we bring so much more to the table in terms of diversity and talent that it would put us at such an advantage. So I believe it is important for us to explore and exchange content, it is also important for us as a region to understand the various cultures inside the region. So I'm very happy that they have put out a call because it can only mean more development and growth for our industry,” she noted.
The sentiments were similar from Sherando Ferril of Yaadbridge Entertainment, who also applauded the regional approach.
“It is a brilliant idea. It's something that people across the Caribbean have been trying to do for a while. Everybody is trying to be the next Netflix and for our focus as caribbean people this is an excellent idea. I know of people here in Jamaica who have similar platforms but we don't have support. My concern and contention has always been that Jamaicans don't lack talent, what we lack is financial support when it comes down to certain kinds of things as well as opportunities. Maybe now we can feel more confident as content creators in Jamaica knowing that we don't have to fight with getting our content on Netflix, as we now have something that is Caribbean-based, that is now going to reach our Caribbean people, our Caribbean Diaspora and the rest of the world. I am looking forward to seeing how they are going to create a model where it's not just about the content creator finding their own funds to create the content, but are able to collaborate with the streaming platform so that they can aid in funding these works, so there is a kind of partnership,” said Ferril.
Nadean Rawlins of Raw Talent Management, who is currently working on bringing her project, a TV series titled Traytown to life, also welcomed this news coming out of Trinidad.
“We here in Jamaica are a great source of content and online streamiing is the obvious direction of the industry, so this should go over well,” she shared.
Tego currently shares content through its app to approximately 80,000 people in the Caribbean and North America, and the hope is that with the new FILMCO2Go offering, the user/ subscriber base will grow to include a truly worldwide audience.
“At the heart of FILMCO's mandate is the goal of creating a more sustainable ecosystem for film and television professionals around the Caribbean,” notes FILMCO Interim Executive Director Mariel Brown, “and a thriving distribution landscape is crucial to this. FILMCO2Go powered by Tego marks a major milestone in our efforts to get Caribbean audio visual content to audiences around the world.”
As with other subscription-based platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, FILMCO2Go is available for a monthly subscription fee, and during the life of the subscription, users around the world will be able to watch as much content as they want, as many times as they want. New content will be added to the platform on an ongoing basis, and users can expect to see long-time favourites, award-winning independent documentary and narrative films with a Caribbean focus.
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